Saturday, July 27, 2002

Strawberry Eggs (I My Me)

Genre: Campus Romance
General Audience
2001 Pioneer LDC, TNK, IMM! Committee, WOWOW. Yuji Yamaguchi

Strawberry Eggs DVDs
Strawberry Eggs Manga
Strawberry Eggs Music

Skysenshi's Description:
Hibiki Amawa is destitute and desperate to find a job as a teacher. Unfortunately, the only school nearby would not employ him because it is headed by an extremely prudish schoolmarm who is against the idea of having male teachers around. Hibiki, with his manhood maligned yet with his pride intact, does the unthinkable....

(13 episodes)

Boys Be with a kick! >>> by skysenshi
It seems that I My Me! Strawberry Eggs has become one of the more controversial newer titles to land on our shores. The first episode alone makes one curious enough to look for the rest of the volumes, as the conflict is already shown during the first 15 minutes of the show-with Hibiki Amawa cross-dressing in order to get a teaching job. One will begin to wonder if he's going to get extra "perks" since he is presumed to have access to the female lockers and spends time with many of the female characters. True enough, he gets his share of special undies view but these sequences are mostly accidental and in no way prove that Amawa is a perverted character.

It is actually quite hard to find a fan that would appreciate this title. Male fans balk at the thought that one of their own kind would have to don feminine clothes and act like a woman. Romantic female fans, on the other hand, probably would have preferred a more quixotic Walt Disney ending. Perhaps only true-blooded perverts who see the hentai advantages of posing as a woman would envy Hibiki's deceptive life. That or people who are open enough to appreciate a simple comedy that touches several moral dilemmas.

I welcome the fresh change as I watch Hibiki clash wills with two school leaders who live to massacre the essence of womanhood. It's not everyday that you get to see a man who is still sure of his sexuality despite all the things he's gone through. Hibiki is sensitive, intelligent, masculine and most importantly, solid in his principles. Most guys near perfection are usually gay, but the creators of Strawberry Eggs maintained his straightness. Pity, that this anime gets bad reviews when I believe all men can learn a thing or two from Hibiki.

Focusing on the plot, there really isn't much to be said. It's just a simple series with no ultimate villain and no ultimate good guy. Similar to Boys Be, the story revolves around a group of students struggling with their adolescence. They discover the differences between genders and they go around in love circles. Girl 1 loves Boy 1, but Boy 1 loves Girl 2, but Girl 2 is in love with somebody that ethics dictate she shouldn't have. At least once, the cool guy does not get the girl. The main character does not end up with the man of her dreams. And all your favorite characters end up in quite amusing messes.

The kick is that all throughout, a series of ethical taboos have been questioned: (1) It is not all right for a girl to fall in love with another girl; (2) It is not all right for a teacher to fall in love with a student; (3) It is not all right for a grown man to fall in love with a minor lest he be charged with having Lolita complex; and (4) There is no other reason for a man to dress up as a woman other than to peep and take advantage of young students. This series just busted your regular anime love formula, which is another refreshing development that I am glad for. Of course, with all those dilemmas the anime wouldn't end as expected.

The only gripes I have with it so far are that there are too many characters whose names I forget, and that the main female character, Kuzuha, is tremendously exasperating. One may argue that Love Hina had just as many characters, but then Love Hina characters are so distinct you'd know their names at once. Here the characters, save for the important ones, are quite underdeveloped. As for Kuzuha, she somehow reminds me of Fruits Basket lead Tohru, except Tohru is likeable. Kuzuha is just plain useless. Other than that, I find this anime highly entertaining with a lot of grounded lessons that many people might do well to learn.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 8; Characters 7; Sounds 7

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