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Anime / I My Me! Strawberry Eggs

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Hey girls, anyone watched Mrs. Doubtfire?
Recent graduate Hibiki Amawa is still unemployed. He has little money to his name and his landlady, Lulu Sanjo, is only half-joking when she threatens to turn his dog into stew if he doesn't pay his rent. Turns out a degree in physical education isn't helpful when there aren't any positions open.

Well, there is one position available: the nearby high school, Seito Sannomiya Private School, is looking for a phys ed teacher, but the head of administration only accepts female applicants. Still, any job is better than no job, which leads Hibiki to begin crossdressing. With some coaching from Lulu, Hibiki manages to snag the position and fulfill his dream.

Hibiki soon learns how idealistic he's been when he sees how Principal Chieko and Vice Principal Rieko's prejudices has trickled down to the student body; the poor treatment of the male students is causing discipline problems as well as friction between the boys and girls. Hibiki has to balance his struggles to conceal his gender with helping his students with their personal problems. One student in particular, the sweet and clumsy Fuko Kuzuha, has the most trouble performing her best in class, and Hibiki's help only ends up making Fuko fall for "her". Combined with the Vice Principal's rising suspicions and Lulu's other renters getting underfoot, Hibiki's teaching gig will surely be a memorable one.

I My Me! Strawberry Eggs (あぃまぃみぃ! ストロベリー・エッグ, Ai Mai Mii! Sutoroberii Eggu), sometimes shortened to just Strawberry Eggs, is a romcom ecchi anime conceptualized by YOM. It was written by Yasuko Kobayashi, produced by Akio Matsuda, and directed by Yūji Yamaguchi. It aired on the Wowow Network from July 2001 to September of that same year, ending with a total of thirteen episodes. Geneon picked up the license for an English dub and release, though those DVDs are out of print. A manga adaptation with art by the anime's character designer, Maki Fujii, was serialized in Dengeki Daioh between December 2001 and February 2002.

This series includes examples of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Fujio has a crush on Fukae, but he only has eyes for Fuko. Unfortunately for him, Fuko falls for her teacher. For his part, Hibiki does develop feelings for Fuko but acknowledges just how wrong that is on multiple levels. Ultimately, no one gets together with the person they've fallen for.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Hibiki makes for a beautiful woman, so much so that the male students who aren't already crushing on one of their fellow classmates are attracted to him.
  • Between My Legs: During a heart-to-heart talk amongst Fuko's friend group, one of them is framed between Fuko's legs for well over 30 seconds.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Hibiki's outed as a man and fired from Sannomiya. Despite this setback, he takes this as an opportunity to move away since he's developed a dangerously close relationship with one of his students. Though his students initially reject him, the reminder of just how good he was as their teacher makes them hope he'll return someday, this time as himself.
  • Cool Old Lady: Lulu is a tough-as-nails old woman who regularly screws up Koji and Tofukuji's schemes. She carries a pistol with rubber bullets, built a device that can change the sound of one's voice, and is mechanically minded enough to turn her motorcycle into a mini-mecha. Her last lines with Principal Chieko heavily implies that she's also a crossdressing man, so she could technically be considered a Cool Old Guy.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Lulu somehow had the foresight to tamper with the school's microphone in time for Hibiki to potentially use it after his cover is blown and his voice modulating choker removed.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Fuko's earnestness and kindness often overcomes her clumsiness in most situations.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Kouji and Toufukuji, the lecherous renters at Gochiso, regularly provide some comic relief with all their crazy schemes for sneaking into Sannomiya, including getting Disguised in Drag the same way Hibiki is doing. Were they in Hibiki's shoes, neither of them would hesitate to take advantage of all the impressionable schoolgirls during their more vulnerable moments, which highlights just how sincere Hibiki is when it comes to teaching.
  • Does Not Like Men: Principal Chieko Sannomiya and Vice Principal Reiko Mukogawa both had bad experiences with men in the past, which only fueled their hatred for them. They let their prejudice color their administrative policies, what they teach the student body, and how they treat the male students.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When Hibiki's revealed to be a man in disguise, the Principal and Vice Principal try to use it to pressure the parents into letting them convert the school from co-ed to girls-only. This ignores the fact that, had the school been exclusively female to begin with, it wouldn't have prevented Hibiki's deception in the first place.
  • Gender-Blender Name: "Hibiki" is a unisex name in Japan, which is why our protagonist doesn't need to provide an alias when dressed as a woman.
  • Gender Vocabulary Slip: Hibiki almost blows his cover on the first day of his job when he uses the first person pronoun "ore" in his introduction to the entire school. "Ore" is a masculine pronoun most typically used by young men, usually to imply roughness or toughness, and is rarely if ever used by women.
  • Honor Before Reason: Though Lulu set up the microphone to help maintain Hibiki's female voice even after the voice modulator choker has been removed, Hibiki decides to not use it and steps down once he's outed as a man. He feels that he can't keep lying to his beloved students and risk a dangerous relationship with Fuko.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title includes the name of some type of makeup item, such as lipstick, blush, or concealer.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: The show is (relatively) grounded in realism, so Lulu modifying her motorbike so it can transform into a mini-mecha is more for Rule of Cool than anything else.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Fujio has a crush on Fukae who has feelings for Fuko who falls for Hibiki who is disturbed to find that he reciprocates. Episode 10 shows this square plainly when each person confesses their feelings to the object of their affections. In Fuko's case, she doesn't explicitly say that she likes Hibiki, but her demeanor alone makes it clear to him what she's thinking.
  • Psychologist Teacher: Hibiki helps his students both academically as well as personally.
  • Returning the Handkerchief: Fuko gives Fukae her handkerchief when he nicks his finger cutting vegetables. Fukae, who has a crush on Fuko, awkwardly takes it and cleans it before giving it back to her, along with a confession.
  • Samus Is a Girl:
    • Inverted with Hibiki, who's a man that crossesdress as a woman. His true gender is revealed to the whole school in the penultimate episode, leading to many shocked and upset students and staff.
    • It's heavily implied towards the very end that Lulu is a former male gym teacher herself. She used to teach at Sannomiya and broke Principal Chieko's heart, which is in part why the Principal hates men.
  • Straw Feminist: Principal Chieko and her right-hand woman, Vice Principal Reiko, claim to have the interest of their female students at heart, but all they're really doing is projecting their own hang-ups and values onto the entire student populace. Many of their beliefs play into outdated gender norms, such as women being naturally pure and men being unreservedly perverted, something that the buruma controversy highlights as being actively detrimental to the girls' abilities to perform in classes such as phys ed.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • When Hibiki's true gender is revealed, he takes the blow in stride, seeing it as an opportunity to move on; one good male teacher- especially one who got in through deception- won't be enough to reverse a long-held resentment towards his gender.
    • Another reason Hibiki decides to move away is because he realized he was falling for Fuko, one of his 14-year-old students. He points out how wrong that is and hopes that distancing himself from Fuko will help her move on.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Fuko develops a huge crush on Hibiki, unaware that Hibiki is a female crossdresser.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Deconstructed. Fuko develops a crush on Hibiki, and Hibiki is appropriately disturbed to see that he might be returning those feelings. This revelation is in part of what motivates him to move away after his cover is blown.
  • Twelfth Night Adventure: In order to pay his rent, Hibiki has to crossdress in order to get accepted into Seito Sannomiya Private School, a school run by a pair of manhaters who only want women on their staff. With some help from his landlady, Hibiki is able to fulfill his dream of becoming a phys ed teacher and (hopefully) pay the bills. He quickly gains the respect and adoration of his students, one of whom genuinely falls in love with him. However, Hibiki's popularity isn't enough to completely change Principal Chieko's mind in regards to male teachers; if anything, it just further cements her bigoted views (mainly, that all men are liars and perverts). So, while Hibiki's mission ultimately fails and he's forced to leave Sannomiya, he leaves a lasting impression on his students, enough so that they genuinely want to see him return.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Hibiki's crossdressing is framed in a mostly positive light. When his cover is blown, he does get ostracized, but his students come around to support him.
  • Word Salad Title: The title of the anime doesn't make any sense nor does it give any indication as to what the show is about.