Saturday, March 16, 2013

I My Me! Strawberry Eggs

I My Me! Strawberry Eggs might evoke stirrings of nostalgia for some people, and with good reason. Being an early 2000's series, it was one of the first to be dubbed and the trailer featured on nearly every DVD of that era (much like Ai Yori Aoshi). As such, it is a very obviously 90's-influenced series both in story and style. Though nostalgic for me, like Ai Yori Aoshi i had only seen trailers up until this point; part of me wishes it had stayed that way.

Seems like everyone had an idealized view of this show.
Strawberry Eggs tells the story of Amawa Hibiki, a man recently graduated from college with a degree in Phys. Ed., intending to be a Gym Teacher. After his landlady, Sanjo Lulu, hounds him about the first months' rent, he goes to the local private school in search of a job, but is promptly denied one simply because he's male. infuriated, he turns to his landlady for help, turning into a crossdresser to get the job.

He makes a pretty good She.
i say this is a 90's story because of several factors. for one, you have a rather ordinary guy cast into an absurd and semi-sexualized situation. second, you surround him with girls that he can't touch. third, you throw in an insane crew of background characters, each with some major personality quirk that makes them stand out as a character archetype. if the story is strong, these factors can work, but not necessarily to the series' advantage. in Strawberry Eggs' case, however, it further marks this series as poorly thought-out and mediocre. take, for example, the principal and vice-principal of the school. the pair have got to be the most man-hating duo i have ever laid eyes on, and everything they do has something to do with their obsession with making a female-only environment. i'm willing to bet even The Amazons, the matriarchal tribe of legend, has more personality beyond "i hate men, they need to die". to further frustrate the viewer we are given little to no reason behind their bias; we get one little blurb at the end about the principal's hatred, and nothing about the vice. it's possible she was just following orders, but to do so with such fervor goes above and beyond "just doing my job". (but then, have we EVER met a vice-principal that wasn't more ferocious than the principal him/herself?)

Bitch had it coming.
the absurdities don't end with the characters, though most of them are caused by them. just WHAT school forces a TEACHER to take a physical against their will, and not with their own doctor? in what universe is it acceptable behaviour to have such a bias towards the male gender that it ends up alienating your students on the verge of sexual harassment? and just when is it okay for a teacher to come within inches of kissing a student, especially when that girl thinks the teacher is also a woman? i can suspend my disbelief, as nessecary for any sort of series involving fantasy, but this series just got ridiculous in places, to the point where i wanted to punch the screen. by the end of the series, i WAS laughing, though it was more at how ridiculous and pathetic it had gotten. if this is comedy, it sure as hell is a roundabout way to get it.

I didn't realize Anime had the KKK.
the only merits i can think of for this series are the soundtrack and some of the characters. i use the word "some" loosely, as there are only 3 characters i like, and one's a dog. the soundtrack, however, has the pleasant air of an early 2000's series, employing some countryish guitar tracks, some generic instrumentals, and the same old, same old for the opening and ending. though pleasing, it was rather forgettable in retrospect, with the only memorable tracks being the ending (only because i chose to look at other things while it was playing, coming back in time for the preview, rather than skipping it all together) and the obligatory music box piece (would it really be a 2000's anime without it?), which was annoying as usual.

Floating Features are a common problem in this series.
the style, while charming and nostalgic for the early days of my anime consumption, is lacking in a lot of places, leading me to think this series was either rushed or over budget, or both. there are scenes in which the characters are only flat colour, with no shine to the hair and barely (if any) shadow to them at all, leading them to look more like unfinished cels rather than full-fledged anime characters. other scenes have derp faces, misplaced facial features, and even a scene in which the vice's makeup looks akin to Bowser from the Super Mario series.

In this scene, the girls want to get their friend Fujio some ice cream because she seems depressed. Pay attention to Seiko, the black haired girl. During the close-up, her hat disappears.
if this series had gotten a little more polishing all around, it might be worth more viewing and remembering, but instead we are left with what could have been instead of what was. i suppose it doesn't help that the manga came out AFTER the anime series, meaning it's even MORE forgettable than the anime, and it also means the story didn't have time to flesh itself out beforehand (in fact, it's not quite surprising given the lack of story-driven plot, though it's quite rare for the anime to come first rather than the manga). i expected more of Strawberry Eggs, and while i have a deep liking of Amawa (as a guy, and this is only most of the time, there were plenty of moments when i wanted to punch the guy in the jaw for being a creep), the landlady, and the dog, they sum up basically all i like about this series, with the rest of it being a series of tired tropes and worn-out concepts passing for characters. speaking of tropes, according to TVTropes, the title contains a pun, Aimai being Japanese for "ambiguious", meaning the title translates to "Ambiguous Me! Strawberry Eggs", and in this respect, it is correct: the series, the characters, the plot, the title, and the ending are all quite ambiguous, leaving me dazed and confused. the title doesn't make sense, the plot doesn't exist, and the ending left me unsatisfied. you disappointed me, Strawberry Eggs. you really did.

Flat colours and weak shadows. It's like they didn't even try.

Strawberry Eggs is available from Exiled-Destiny (on BakaBT as well as other sites), LIME, and (if you can find it) was licensed for distrobution by Geneon Entertainment in August 2002. (but really, don't go out of your way for this one.)

1 comment:

  1. oh yeah, and the voice acting was so bad in this i heard 3 words of english dialogue and was like "LOL NOPE". >>;