REVIEW: ‘Strawberry Fields Once Again,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1

Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 is a new Yuri manga by mangaka Kinosaki Kazura. The English translation was published by Yen Press. It was translated by Amanda Haley, with lettering by Abigail Blackman. I’ll admit to being a fan of both, which is a large reason why I was excited to read this volume.

As always, here’s a synopsis. Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 focuses on two girls: Kouno Akira and Sakurasaka Pure, and that’s pronounced “pure” as in “pure love”. The former, Akira, has sworn off any and all 3D romance, immersing herself in 2D dating games. The latter? Well, Pure insists that in her time—six years in the future—Akira and her are married! Forget the “from the future” hijinks. Romance isn’t even possible for Akira since she’s closed her heart off. So how can someone as cute as Pure be interested in a gamer girl like her?

Yuri fans old and new will probably enjoy Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1. It’s straightforward with a good amount of comedic beats and a fair amount of plot progression between Akira and Pure. It’s pleasant enough without being saccharine, though I’ll admit that this first volume is a bit forgettable. There’s also the fact that it’s kind of a potluck of genres, combining slice of life, romance, science fiction, and coming of age elements into a cute story about “girl from the future meeting girl in the now.”

Additionally, the episodic nature of each chapter is nice enough, showing realistic growth between Akira and Pure. A lot of the chapters focused on Akira opening up as Pure continues to love her without bias or condition. I’m all here for their relationship too; I hope that in volume 2, we’ll get to see them continue to grow closer and closer. Whether the story will progress to that point is still up the air, however.

That all being said, there is a decent amount of fan service in Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1. It’s not so egregious that I got upset, but more just, “Oh, this again? Time to flip the page!” if you get what I mean. Most of the fan service was panty shots and a few scenes that oggle Pure. Like I said, nothing egregious, but still, something to consider going into this volume.

Fan service aside, I found Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 to be pretty enjoyable, though I’ll admit it’s not a fast-paced or “plotty” first volume. In fact, one of the things I actually really liked about this volume was its realistic approach to sapphic relationships. Time travel aside, Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 isn’t afraid. When Akira and Pure’s classmates start to whisper about Pure being a lesbian, there are no gags thrown in. Instead, Pure just reaffirms her love for Akira, and the two only grow closer.

Translator Amanda Haley does solid here. Akira and Pure both have their own voices, and there’s lots of teen-speak sprinkled in for authenticity. Additionally, Abigail Blackman, a letterer I’m a fan of, does good work as always, with well-placed lettering that blends in and supports Kinosaki’s work. They both help make Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 incredibly readable and very nice to look at. 

Ultimately, Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 is not necessarily groundbreaking, but honestly, I don’t think all manga need to “revolutionize” a genre. In fact, as a Yuri fan myself, I found Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 to be a pretty cute, often charming entry to a romance with a nice little twist. Plus, sometimes, it’s nice to enjoy tropes of the genre without worry. I think that’s actually the appeal of this manga.

If you’re new to the genre, I think this is a solid entry point. In fact, I’d probably suggest this to readers looking for an easy way into modern Yuri titles. Additionally, fans Whisper Me a Love Song and even slow burn A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow will all find appeal in this new addition to the growing plethora of Yuri titles available in English.

Granted, this is a high school romance, so if you’re a bit tired of teenage romances, this might not have too much appeal. That being said, I think there’s something for every kind of Yuri fan in Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1. Give it a try, and see what you think!

Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1 released on December 15, 2020.

Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1
3

TL;DR

Granted, this is a high school romance, so if you’re a bit tired of teenage romances, this might not have too much appeal. That being said, I think there’s something for every kind of Yuri fan in Strawberry Fields Once Again Volume 1. Give it a try, and see what you think!