Reviewby Zac Bertschy, Jan 27th 2003
DVD 1: Makeup Exam
Hibiki has a dream of becoming the country's greatest teacher... the only problem is, he has his sights set on one of the most exclusive all-girls private school. Only women are accepted as instructos, and the dean is naturally not interested in a male perspective. How does he overcome this? By becoming a woman, of course!
The oddly titled I My Me! Strawberry Eggs is a lot like an American Sitcom. Preditcable situations, stock characters, and not a whole lot of genuine laughs. That having been said, I My Me! Strawberry Eggs is like one of those sitcoms you didn't watch when it was playing in prime time but you'll watch it if it's on at 2 AM on TBS. It's just entertaining enough to keep the viewer smiling but not good enough to make him put forth any effort to watch it.
The first DVD is titled "Makeup Exam" (har har), and contains the first four episodes of the series, which is a pretty decent value considering the animation quality in this series. The characters move fluidly and the backgrounds are nicely done. It should be said that the characters are dating-sim generic, meaning they have no outstanding qualities whatsoever and could easily blend in to the ocean of forgettable anime characters without so much as a word of protest. Nobody would notice if you took these characters and replaced them with the cast of To Heart or Angel's Tail; they all look about the same and serve the same purpose. The girls exist to get into situations where their panties might be revealed. What's even creepier is the sheer amount of fanservice that's dumped on the main character, who is actually a male in disguise. We all know what's waiting beneath that skirt, why do we want to overly sexualize this character? The stories are interesting enough. There's a basic formula to each episode; Hibiki gradually whittles down the crusty old stuffed-shirt dean who eventually takes to his liberal education techniques. In one episode, Hibiki decides that the girls can't jump the vaulting horse because they're forced to wear long skirts made of a dense material by the crusty old stuffed-shirt dean who doesn't want anyone gawking at the girls in their bloomers. Naturally, Hibiki's idea is met with opposition (although not by the presumably male target audience for this show, who no doubt were rooting passionately for Hibiki's plan), but eventually he breaks down the crusty old stuffed-shirt dean's defenses through a series of stunts and a lot of earnest talk about the wellfare of the girls. What's sort of sickening about the whole thing is that Hibiki is forced to go through all this hard work just to get MORE fanservice in to the show and yet the series' writers treat it like the audience is supposed to actually care about the girls' ability to run the 500-meter dash. It isn't the execution of I My Me! Strawberry Eggs that's upsetting; anyone who's watched a lot of anime will tell you that there's almost always a lot of fanservice in a show that takes place in a girl's school (Oniisama E notwithstanding). It's the pretension that "Oh, yes, these girls need to wear bloomers or their PE scores will drop along with their self-esteem! We have to do this, for the benefit of the students!". Give me a break.
It isn't all bad, though. The dub is surprisingly competent, with an excellent turn by fan favorite Crispin Freeman as the title character. This was the first time Freeman's ever directed a dub before, and he does an excellent job. Someone give this guy more work. The DVD itself is packed with extra content, including information on the cultural oddities contained in the show and some highly interactive menus. The show does have its entertaining moments, and it's light enough to consume in one sitting. You'll have forgotten about it in around 30 minutes after you're finished watching it, but what's wrong with that, really?
Overall : B-
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ Decent animation, entertaining if insipid storyline.
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