PLEASE NOTE THAT THE REVIEWED ANIME IS FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY AND IS RATED 18+
THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN LANGUAGE AND REFERENCES TO MATERIAL INAPPROPRIATE FOR MINORS
VIEWER AND READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED
In my opinion, there are two types of reactions to have just after watching an anime – The first is a normal reaction, such as “Oh, I really liked that!” or “Oh, that was kinda meh…”. Then there’s the second; “WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN?!”. After watching every episode in the B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time complete series…just…WHAT THE FUCK JAPAN?!
The plot of Yamada’s First Time starts relatively straightforward: a girl named Yamada has a goal of sleeping with 100 different men while in High School. Throughout the 12 episode series, the plot becomes slightly more complicated as it adds in more and more characters and situations; however, the central idea of “Yamada wants sex” does not change once throughout the entire show.
Yamada’s idea of a perfect way to lose her own virginity, however, is to lose it to a guy who is also a virgin. This proves to be a source of difficulty for her until she meets Kosuda – just your plain old average Joe who loves photography, who she bumps into (or rather, falls onto) by chance one day. She determines that she will just use him for sex, however she comes on a little strong (first asking him if he’s a virgin, then flashing him her breasts). She quickly discovers that in order to win him over, he has to really love her first, and in doing so, she falls in love with him too (albeit she doesn’t ever truly realize it).
Yamada receives help (to a certain point) from her friend Takeshita. Takeshita is dating an older man (who is a college student), and is constantly being bombarded by sex-oriented questions from Yamada. This is supposed to provide comic relief situations; however, they are more awkward and uncomfortable than funny. The biggest part of the story that even relates to Takeshita is Yamada’s insecurity about her cup size. Takeshita has been “blessed” with F-cup breasts, and Yamada is incredibly jealous of this fact.
Yamada also sees two “rivals” in her path, even though there is really only one. Miyano is Kosuda’s neighbour who has incredibly strong feelings for Kosuda, yet is far too shy to share them with him. Yamada hates her, especially because she is an F cup meganekko, yet Miyano misunderstands this and thinks of Yamada as an incredibly close friend. The real rival is Kanejo. Kanejo is a rich, stuck-up student who just came back from studying abroad in America. She wants to both ruin Yamada’s life (Yamada beat her in a beauty contest) and to date and sleep with…her brother. If that makes you anywhere near as uncomfortable as it does me, just know that it only gets worse. She has a shrine dedicated to her brother, and the situation only gets worse when her brother falls in love with Yamada.
There are other minor characters such as Kosuda’s older sister, several of the classmates in Yamada and Kosuda’s class, Yamada’s little sister, Takeshita’s boyfriend, and more, yet regardless of how integral they are to any individual episode, none of them receive proper resolutions to their own stories. More than anything else, this is the thing that bugged me the most about the show. My two favourite characters were actually the two sisters (Yamada’s and Kosuda’s), yet apart from minor parts in a few episodes, they never really got any focus. They even had stories and situations created around them, yet their plot arcs, like just about every arc in the series, was left hanging at the end.
The show is described as a comedy, yet there is only one real recurring joke that I find funny. Yamada has an Eros Deity (as do many other characters, yet theirs are rarely present). The Eros Deity is a chibi version of Yamada (with a mustache for no apparent reason) that provides tips for Yamada (although the other characters cannot hear her), roots her on in her quest to get laid, and is also the narrator for the series. The voice work (in the English version especially) is fantastic, and is hilarious; I just wish that the comedy stemmed from more than one character.
The voice work itself is great in both English and Japanese throughout the series, and the music is also quite good, although there is barely any of it. The first few times you hear the tracks, you will probably really enjoy them, but later on in the series, you will grow pretty sick of them. I guess it was too much work to create more than eight or so tracks for the 12 episode series, but that’s just me.
The visuals themselves are also quite nice, and I’m not referring to the nudity. Nudity is present, although it is MOSTLY (not always) covered up. Fan service is indeed present here, yet I can see no reason to purchase the entire season and sit through all of it for a few seconds of total nudity.
Overall, B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time is just…disappointing. The only two characters that receive any kind of true resolution are Yamada and Kosuda, who are described in the series as “single-minded” and “dull” respectively. The story also seems slightly rushed too, trying to tell a complete story within just 12 episodes, and most characters suffer because of it. There are some small redeeming factors to this anime, including the 2 episodes-worth of commentary contained on the DVDs, yet sadly I fail to see any true reason to purchase this show. What the fuck Japan…
Disclosure: This series was screened using a review copy sent from FUNimation. Also, for a different take on the series, check out a review from Shaan, our resident video games expert.
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