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animefringe january 2003 / reviews

Strawberry Eggs (I, My, Me!) Vol.3: School Spirit
Format: bilingual DVD, 3 eps., 75 min.
Production: Pioneer / New Generation Pictures / YOM / TNK / IMMI Committee
Comments: The heat index just went through the roof.
80%
Rating:
Animefringe Reviews:
Strawberry Eggs (I, My, Me!) Vol.3: School Spirit

The fan service quotient gets jacked through the roof in the third volume of Strawberry Eggs. Obviously the envelope has been being pushed since the beginning, but nowhere near the extent it does when Hibiki's class goes on a school camping trip.

Things being to really heat up before the kids even set foot in the woods. When a teacher's paycheck turns up missing, accusations begin to fly as one of Hibiki's male students comes under fire. The males stick up for themselves and stage a protest up in their classroom. Change is definitely in the air for Seitow Sannomiya Private School.

The foreshadowing for the blossoming romances between the students and even Hibiki have been hinted at for episodes now. Finally everything comes to a head in the edge-of-your-seat drama of episode 9. When the weather turns bad, students scramble to find shelter leaving certain groups of friends huddled together. When two students come walking up together the next morning, instantly rumors spread like wildfire about the student's scandalous "night" together. Need I say more?

The final episode of the volume builds upon the events of the last episode while helping to push the series towards its last handful of episodes. Hearts are broken and situations escalate in a way only Strawberry Eggs could.

The extras for this series continue to be fresh and innovative compared to so many of the other DVDs on the market now. The bilingual "Gochiso Tenant" extra is by far the star of the release in that it's a drama track with minimal animation. The spontaneous natures of these intro segments are never boring and always lively. If any Drama CDs manage to seep over into the domestic market, I sincerely hope that the company and actors take note of this baby for inspiration on how to do a proper dub.

Rounding out the DVD is a nicely put together, but quite short art gallery (only 7 images long) and a collection of eye-catches from the episodes. Nice to have, but not overly noteworthy. The DVD insert does come with a nice pin-up on the inside as well as some cultural notes on the back.

With all the talk of fan service it is important to keep in mind that this is a comedy series with a lot of cute girls, but it has an underlying message that shows just how wrong sexism is. Sure, there have been an influx of teacher related series ever since the GTO live action drama series became one of the highest rated TV series of all time in Japan, but that doesn't mean that every series doesn't have it's own unique quirks and messages. Strawberry Eggs continues to be one of those feel-good series that genuinely makes the viewer care about the characters. It might use a cross-dressing teacher and frequent breast jokes to do it, but it's all in good fun.

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