Strawberry Eggs Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • 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: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Strawberry Eggs

Strawberry Eggs Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     July 18, 2002
Release Date: August 13, 2002


Strawberry Eggs Vol. #1
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.


What They Say
Hibiki Amawa is an ordinary working stiff, but he can't seem to get a job ? or pay his rent. When his volatile landlady goes ballistic and threatens to kick him out by the end of the day, his desperation to find a teaching job reaches a critical level - and he pursues a job he couldn't get before - as a PE teacher at a local school. The catch is that the school only hires female teachers!! So, with a crash course in fashion and a special voice modulator, Hibiki slips right into his new role as Ms. Amawa ? with surprising results!

The Review!
Strawberry Eggs appears to be the title that will take all the hormone filled male views and once again make them question themselves.

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:
I can find no fault with this transfer. This just looks perfect.

Packaging:
Using a slightly different variant of the logo from the original, the cover here looks great. I like this logo a lot more than the in-show one. The cover features the two main girls of the series doing happy smiling poses while we can see bits of the school background behind them. 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 llisted 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:
A rather good selection of extras is included with this first volume. A textless opening is provided right off the bat, which is a real plus considering how nice the artwork looks in this series. The art gallery has seven very nice full color images, one of them being the illustration from the back of the insert. The big extra though is the nearly ten minute long Student Intro, where you have in selectable languages/subtitles, each student introduce themselves and their quirks along with their student ID cards. It?s a hilarious little piece and a great extra.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Strawberry Eggs is one of the latest shows that Pioneer Entertainment has a hand in, being listed as on the production committee for it. The show is one of the modern day shows, taking a slice of life from one area, albeit with some very unusual characters to add some spice to it.

There?s two central characters to it, at least so far. The first is Hibiki Amawa. This twenty five year old guy is set for his first job as a kyoshi, or a academic education teacher with a heavy focus on athletics. So it?s more than just a glorified gym teacher. He?s moved into Gochiso, a local apartment complex where a couple of strange folks live. In addition, the old woman who runs the place is pretty whacked. When she goes to get the current month, she brings a gun with her to take down her tenants before they can escape. She?s got a lot of style though.

Hibiki?s all set to start his life as a teacher, and goes to apply at the local private school, Seitow Sannomiya. When he goes to apply there though, he?s surprised to learn that they only accept female teachers, even though it?s a co-ed campus. Apparently the woman who took over the school ten years earlier is pushing for an all female school and is slowly weeding out the male influences in the school, and the teachers were the first to go. The schools motto, Love Is All, is dominant throughout. Hibiki is stunned by this, but before he can react much, he?s tossed out.

This leads him to get help from the old day of Gochiso, whose one of those types who has secret rooms in her rooming house/store. In fact, the store section of her place is used as a shortcut for students to avoid a longer walk, but lets her sell items and information to the students coming through. It adds quite a bit of color to the establishment, and lets the perverted older men living there as tenants have easy and regular access to a lot of skin going by. Ba-chan, as she?s grudgingly referred to, takes Hibiki under her wing to snub the school president. She quickly transforms him into an attractive woman who easily lands the job of a kyoshi there. Though she?s not exactly well thought of, since some methods are unorthodox.

This leads to the second prominent character, Fuko Kuzuha. She?s the main student of the show so far. She?s always smiling, but fairly clumsy. She takes on all the jobs nobody else wants to do and believes that ghosts are peeping in her window when it?s really just dirty old men. She becomes the main focus of Hibiki as he takes on his teaching duties, as she tends to need the most help and is just one of those people that tends to stand out without wanting to.

The main thrust of the show is ostensibly Hibiki proving that men are necessary in an education curriculum, to prove this to the frigid old president lady. It?s not a constant plot though, as the show tends to focus more on the relationships between the characters, mainly Fuko, and the comedic slapstick moments provided by those in the rooming house. It?s a light comedy, one with a number of quite funny moments. For most of the show, I simply had a smile on my face and enjoyed it, but it?s not something that?s life altering. It?s cute, and you wonder how long Hibiki will get away with the cross dressing.

The animation in the show is crisp and what a lot of people except from a series released in 2001. While none of the character designs are over the top attractive, they?re well done and each character is unique. I particularly like how they did the hairstyles for both genders. The colors for this show are also nice and vivid, giving it a really great looking vibrancy on our setup.

This show is something different in how it?s been released, likely due to the involvement of New Generation Pictures. It?s one of a very small number of titles that features a signs subtitle track for the dub viewer, meaning that there are no hard subtitles or overlays in the show. The first episode of the series doesn?t have a real opening, instead having the credits play over the show in progress. The kanji credits were not removed for this, but there are English translations provided as soft subtitles at the same time as the songs lyrics. I had gotten my hopes up that subsequent episodes would be like this, but the remaining episodes featured only English credits. New Generation has gone and done a rather culturally attuned show here, and has left a number of things not normally left in. Sensei is left as such, honorifics are scattered throughout and things like the girls gym shorts are left as ?buruma? instead of being translated to gym shorts. This is also done in the dub, so I?m quite curious to hear how viewers of that language will take to it. In terms of the subtitle track, I?m definitely pleased.

We listened to the first episodes dub, and rather liked it. In particular, the performance of Ruru, aka Ba-chan, was well done. Hibiki also came off quite good, since the actor wasn?t forced down to the higher pitched schoolboy age but as someone a bit older. There are differences between the subtitles and the dub, but the meanings are almost identical, which is likely due to lip flap. On the plus side, it tends to flow better linguistically.

Strawberry Eggs is, in the end, a cute show with some nice fan service, great looking animation and an almost at times heartwarming story. There?s no overall arc here, instead dealing with just characters. I?m definitely looking forward to more.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Interactive character commentaries on the other students,Textless Opening

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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