Strawberry Eggs Vol. #2 (of 4) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, October 18, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2002



What They Say
From TNK, the animation studio behind Hand Maid May!

How Far Will He Go to be a Woman?! It?s time for the school physical! Apparently, the students aren?t the only ones required to be tested - how will Hibiki get out of this one? Next, when tempers flare between the students their long-standing friendships are at risk. Still, that hardly seems like trouble after the school?s director decides to play matchmaker and sets Hibiki up with the perfect man! Becoming a great teacher was never meant to be this difficult... Or this weird...

The Review!


Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though this show is among the most recent ones made and brought over, it still features a pretty basic stereo mix. There?s some nice usage of the forward soundstage on occasions, but the show doesn?t feature a whole lot of directionality. It is a very good solid sounding track though with no problems.

Video:
Much like the first volume, there?s nothing I can really find fault with here. Colors are solid and look fantastic, cross coloration is non-existent and aliasing is like a memory. This is a great transfer that lets you simply enjoy the show without getting distracted by anything.

Packaging:
This round of cover artwork features the two main girls of the series by the pool and checking out Kuzuha?s chest size.. The back cover shows off a few of the other girls as well as more of the school. There?s a brief summary of the shows premise and a listing of the episode numbers and titles. The discs features are clearly listed as well as the technical information and production credits. The insert is a nice foldout, where the front has a great picture of Kuzuha and a listing of the episode numbers and titles. It opens to some nice full color character artwork, while the back provides a good character illustration and a listing of terms and suffixes used in the subtitles.

Menu:
The main menu layout is setup like a classroom board, with all the text being selections. The text is nicely stylized and the layout works well, though I?m sure some will complain about understanding what selections mean. Moving to submenus is nice and fast and there?s little issues with speed or load times. This is a nicely laid out menu for the most part.

Extras:
The extras this round are similar to the first, but expand nicely upon. There?s the inclusion of the textless ending sequence and a few of the ?Presented By? sequences with subtitle translations. The art show is you basic art gallery but with seven pieces of great looking color images. On the first volume, we got the boys Student Intro segments, which were wonderfully subtitled and done in dub form as well. It?s back for something of a repeat performance here, but this time for the girls.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While viewers may get confused about whether they should find Hibiki hot or not when he?s dressed up as a woman, the boys in the class have no problems when it comes to their fellow schoolgirls. The annual physical exam has come around again, and this sends most of the girls into fear. During the previous years exams, certain boys managed to get all the data on the girls and posted a ?best body? listing based on their measurements. Add in that this year the girls are all a year older and their bodies are developing more, and there?s lots of breast talk and comparison going on. And lots of stuffing too.

While we have the segments of the boys trying to get the data again, though the faculty is better prepared for it this year, Hibiki has a problem of his own as the assistant principal is convinced she?s a he. So she sets up a physical for the newest teacher to try and trap him so she can expose and be rid of this troublesome teacher. This naturally leads Hibiki down some very odd paths.

Hibiki?s paths lead him later on to an even stranger place that gets him questioning himself. While he?s out dressed up as a woman, he comes across several of his female students at the mall. They all end up going shopping with each other, and Hibiki finds himself picking up a lot of bras and the like for his outfits, but wonders if he?s taking things too far. This subplot is set against the larger plot of his class gone wild, as everyone?s pent up frustrations start coming out. The faculties way of dealing with it was to repress it and get them to bury their frustration. Hibiki tries a different tact though, and after several attempts, ends up with the best solution to letting them get it all out.

What I thought was the best episode here though has something completely unexpected happen to Hibiki. The male patronage of the school has decided to set her up with his relative as part of an arranged marriage, and works on getting them together. Hibiki is amusingly both flattered and shocked by this, and most of the girls are supportive of it once they see the guy that?s picked out, since he is rather handsome. The vice principal of course continues to be suspicious of Hibiki, so this turns out to be another test. They try to keep things quiet in general, but a number of the students end up learning about it and it leads to an amusing chase to where the meeting is taking place, as they try to help.

These episodes were for the most part pretty fun and overall less gender-confusing than the first batch of episodes. The only downside is that not long after you finish the episodes off, they pretty much slip from memory as they?re relatively just self-contained stories that don?t have an overall long real strong plot. That?s not a bad thing, it just means it?s more of a light fluff series that?s fun to watch. We?re enjoying it, but just have to remember to not wait a week to review it after watching it, since we tend to forget most of it and have to watch it again.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Full color art gallery,Bilingual menus,Bilingual student roll call video,Non-credit ending animation,Bilingual "Presented by" clips

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
MSRP: 29.95
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Strawberry Eggs