B Gata H Kei: Yamada's First Time (Series) Review

Sex and the City, Anime Style

B Gata H Kei: Yamada's First Time Anime Series
B Gata H Kei: Yamada's First Time Anime Series. Hal Film Maker

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The Episodes

The Yamada of the title is a high-school girl who has yet to lose her virginity, and with the opening of the show has embarked on a mission to do just that. Actually, her real stated goal is to have sex with one hundred different boys, and to make things simpler, she settles on the handsome if mild-mannered Kosuda as an opening act.

With a set-up such as this, this anime series could have gone in a number of directions.

They could have gone for the “sincere realism” route along the lines of Kimi ni Todoke, and taken a good hard look at the way peer pressure and unrealistic expectations tend to contribute to young people making all the wrong decisions regarding sex. Or they could have kept the wackiness (a la Arakawa Under the Bridge) but separated it a bit from the sexual content, so that the former doesn’t step all over the latter. Another option could have been to just take the low road and give viewers yet another smutty comedy like Sekirei, Heaven’s Lost Property, Rosario+Vampire, etc., etc. Guess which route they went.

Most of how B Gata H Kei plays out follows a basic formula... which is repeated endlessly. Yamada conjures up some plan, sometimes far-fetched, sometimes well within the realm of the possible, to get Kosuda in the sack. Some are straightforward (drag the poor guy to the pool and wear a revealing bathing suit) while some are a little more elaborate (i.e. ambush Kosuda in the photography club darkroom).

In every case, the end result is embarrassment for both of them with Yamada realizing that she’s in over her head and Kosuda wondering what the heck to do now.

The parts that do work get laughs, sometimes big ones. There’s a sly running gag involving the way Kosuda’s libido is anthropomorphized for the viewer, for instance, and some of the slapstick that happens when Kosuda and Yamada try to get in the sack (both literally and figuratively) is inventive and inspired.

But it’s all only funny for those that also find the basic premise amusing in the first place. If raunchy humor isn’t your thing, you’re going to be wincing, not laughing.

What’s also somewhat novel is that the main character is female—that it’s ostensibly about a girl turning the tables and flipping the script, etc. That said, Yamada doesn’t come off as being a free spirit in the same vein as the female leads of shows like Princess Jellyfish or Ouran High School Host Club (or the aforementioned Kimi ni Todoke or Arakawa). She’s more like what a horny teenaged boy thinks a horny teenaged girl is like. Even if her obsession with sex, and how she backs away from it, however incrementally, is the whole point, it still all feels too much like pandering to the darkest part of the anime fandom.

The ending is also infuriating. It’s a cliffhanger of sorts, with little resolution either emotionally or in regards to the plot and characters.

Who Should Watch?

One's enjoyment of B Gata H Kei will depend on how much tolerance (or affinity) they have for raunchy humor involving teens, or raunchy humor in general (as per, say, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt). Those who laughed at Superbad or American Pie will find a similar sense of humor here but for most viewers, this is an anime series that has a very niche target audience, and one that should probably be exposed to more nuanced, intelligent writing.

Did You Know?

The Japanese anime production team actually received death threats from fans who were unhappy with the way the series was being presented. The threats were reported to police but no one was arrested.

Overall

This sex comedy follows in the same vein as many of its live-action cousins, with slapstick and outlandish situations that push good taste to its limits. Whether it's funny or not will depend on how tolerant the viewer is of raunchy humor and sexualization of cartoon characters. Those with zero tollerance for such practices will want to stand clear. COMPARE PRICES

Edited by Brad Stephenson

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.