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Teen Idol Tachibana Julia is not thrilled when told she has to look after a newbie... at least, until she gets a look at said newbie, Ran Asakawa. She changes her mind really fast, and so starts the story about their love and whatever wacky things happen to them and their friends.
Written by Hayashiya Shizuru, the author of Hayate X Blade, Strawberry Shake Sweet started off as a story in Yuri Shimai and eventually Yuri Hime. As expected of the author of Hayate X Blade, the story is chock full of many absolutely hysterical moments and a bunch of quirky characters as well. Definitely a recommended read for anyone who enjoys the Yuri Genre and comedy.
Was originally called just Strawberry Shake, but got the Sweet added for legal reasons when it changed publishers.
Contains examples of:
- Accidental Kiss: Saeki gets one from Julia while trying to stop Julia from stealing a kiss from Ran.
- Accidental Pervert: Saeki. See Not What It Looks Like below.
- Attempted Rape: Played for laughs with Kaoru's fumbling attempt to seduce/force herself onto Saeki.
- Battle Discretion Shot: when Julia takes on Ran's mum in chapter 17.
- The Bechdel Test: Unsurprisingly, the series passes it with flying colours.
- Behind the Black / Stealth Hi Bye: Done often by Ryou and occasionally by Ran. Always lampshaded for laughs.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Saeki hates her job, but she sticks with it. Have to wonder why...
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Of sorts, between Rena and Sera. Also, between Kaoru and Saeki. You may need your yuri goggles to perceive it, though...
- Beta Couple: Rena/Sera.
- Beware the Nice Ones: If you dare to stand between Julia and her love interest, you better bring a lot of spare bones.
- Bifauxnen: When Ryou is in her performance attire, it can be really hard to tell she's a girl.
- Bland-Name Product: Sera's photo camera.
- Brainless Beauty: Ran really isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Not that this makes her any the less adorable...
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Ryou likes to draw Julia (and others) into these. Julia occasionally lampshades it.
- But Liquor Is Quicker: Julia just wants to loosen up a bit; she's totally not trying to get Ran drunk. Same thing with Kaoru: she only wants to share a friendly glass with Saeki...
- The Casanova: Ryou has supposedly bedded thousands of girls, but she is prone to exaggeration...
- Cannot Spit It Out: Julia's structural failure to convey her feelings to Ran makes up for most of the comedy (and drama) of the series.
- Cast Full of Gay: To Saeki's chagrin.
- Chatty Hairdresser: Kaoru.
- Covert Pervert: Julia, oh so much...
- Deadpan Snarker: Reki to Ryou
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Reki of ZLAY.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Saeki seems to attract a fair share of unwanted female attention. She's also very popular among the manga's female fandom.
- Everyone Is Gay: There's a grand total of one (probably) straight woman, and two of the others want her.
- Evil Matriarch: Ohtori Shizuka who also happens to be Ran's mother.
- Face Palm: Saeki does this a lot in response to Julia's antics.
- Fan Service: Avoided with extreme prejudice, even in Julia's erotic fantasies.
- Finger-Suck Healing: chapter 4.
- First Kiss: Finally happens in chapter 14. Partially subverted in that the readers hardly get to see it , unlike most first kiss scenes in Shoujo fiction.
- The Force Is Strong with This One / My Yuri Sense Is Tingling: Ryou, for hilarious effect.
- Gaydar: Ryou has one that is so sensitive that apparently she can tell when a "comrade" is born.
- Genre Savvy: Saeki - ironic, given that she's about the only main female cast member who's likely to be straight.
- Ryou's ESP abilities -see the previous two entries- arguably count as Genre Savvy.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Subverted when Julia goes berserk at Ran's mother:
Saeki: Julia, wait...! Restrain yourself! You have to restrain yourself...
Saeki: ...so at least you don't leave any marks...
- Girls Love: Played very straight--no pun intended.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Kaoru in the New Year's special; at least in the English scanlated version.
Kaoru: Get naked for me, por favor!
- Hair Contrast Duo: Julia and Ran.
- Homoerotic Dream
- Identical Panel Gag
- If It's You It's Okay: When Saeki asks Kaoru if her relationship with her young girlfriend is this, Kaoru quite cheerfully shoots it down.
Kaoru: No, it's because she's a girl. I like girls!
- Important Haircut: Julia has short hair in the very last episode. Mainly, this indicates that some time has passed, but in that time Ran has disappeared, and also Julia has changed somewhat.
- Improbably-Female Cast: As with most Girls Love series.
- In Vino Veritas: One glass is enough to transform the shy, insecure and -up to that point- mostly straight Ran into this
- Intertwined Fingers: Julia and Ran doing it in chapter 15 symbolizes the next stage of their relationship.
- Large Ham: Ryou of ZLAY is absolutely fabulous.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Kaoru and Ryou
- Love At First Sight: Julia changes her mind about being Ran's senpai really quickly after seeing her once
- Meganekko: Sera. Saeki has the glasses but definitely not the personality.
- Mrs Imagination: Julia. Holy schlamoly.
- Nosebleed: Julia as a result of Ran doing something Julia perceives as cute.
- No Export for You: Sadly.
- Not What It Looks Like: Several, though one in particular was during New Years when Saeki, pissed off at Kaoru's flirtations, ties her up and threatens to throw her out with the trash. Cue Julia and Ran walking in at that very moment and add the fact that both know Kaoru has a thing for Saeki...
- Oblivious to Love: Ran, for a good chunk of the manga.
- Also, Sera Mutsuki.
- One Head Taller: Ran and Julia.
- Also, Ryou and Reki.
- Only Sane Man: The way Saeki sees herself.
- Red String of Fate: A variant of it, in the cover of the first album 
- Sacred First Kiss: A cause of much angst in chapter 13.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Averted! Even though Shizuka is a famous actress with lots of power and influence, it doesn't stop Julia from putting her in 42 joint locks.
- Seme / Uke: Although the Word of God at the end of the first volume was that the seme and uke roles in Julia/Ran dynamic are not set in stone, the former currently perceives herself as the "passive partner"... much to Saeki's concern.
- Sempai-Kohai: Julia and Ran.
- Shout-Out: ZLAY is a parody of the real life Japanese band GLAY.
- And Ran and Julia's names are a reference to Romeo and Juliet.
- Also, Ran's real name, Ran Ohtori is the name of a famous Takarazuka actress. As for her false name, Ran Asakawa... well, just google it and see.
- Stalker with a Crush: Ran thinks that there is one after her in one of the subplots; Saeki is convinced Julia is one and is afraid she'll take it too far.
- Also, in the final chapter we learn that while Ran was supposedly living overseas with her father, she was actually still in Japan and regularly stalking Julia.
- The Stoic: When Ran first appears, she gives off this impression due to her rather sleepy look and lack of expression. This changes as the story goes on.
- Strawberry Shorthand
- Suspiciously Specific Denial / Blatant Lies:
Julia: I'm just drinking to soothe my nerves [...] I don't want to get Ranran drunk and take advantage of her.
- (Made worse by the fact that she's only talking to herself)
- Sweat Drop
- Teen Idol: Julia and Ran.
- The Talk: With zero clue as to how two women...get intimate, Julia calls up a pro on the subject: Kaoru. She still doesn't do anything with Ran.
- Their First Time: Invoked by Ryou.
- This and That: Invoked by Julia in chapter 3.
- Thunder Shock
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Played with, the short-haired boyish-looking Ran is the more gentle and feminine one, whereas Julia is an aggressive Kick Chick.
- Tsundere: Rena acts this way towards Sera, the one she loves, with emphasis on the tsuntsun side.
- At one point, Julia thinks it may be better to act more cold towards Ran during work and more friendly during free time. All she succeeds in doing is confusing Ran even more.
- Twice Shy
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: What the plot revolves around. Chiefly between Julia and Ran, but also between Rena-chan and Mutsuki. Also, played with between Kaoru and Saeki: since practically the whole cast are gay, it is heavily implied that Saeki might actually be a closet lesbian and that Kaoru's lust for her might not be totally unrequited. This turns out to be a red herring, though.
- Visible Sigh
- Will They or Won't They?: Never really gets answered, even after they move in together.
- Windmill Crusader: Julia tends to blow things out of proportion with her overactive imagination, especially during the 'stalker incident'. Since she has a much calmer, not particularly bright character -Ran- as her foil and sidekick and she's also blissfully unaware of any flaws in the object of her affections, this would basically make her a Don Quixote whose Sancho Panza and Dulcinea happen to be the same person.
- Word Salad Title