My First Girlfriend is a Gal could have straddled the line between romcom and fanservice show gracefully, but the end result was less than successful. This week in anime, Jacob and Steve suss out where things went sour for these gals.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
You can read our weekly coverage of My First Girlfriend is a Gal here!
So Steve, I actually have a confession to make.
For as much as I can go on about ridiculous fanservice shows and weird sexist garbage that pops up where it doesn't need to in anime...I actually enjoy watching big tiddy anime. They can be extremely fun to plow through (hurr hurr) in the most shameless way possible. After years of watching anime, I did in fact become "that guy."
But the other part of this confession is that I often regret it. And shows like Hajimete no Gal are why. Like, the series is ripping on Hybrid x Heart Ataraxia in that screenshot, but I'd watch that show three times before I tried to sit through another episode of Galfriends.
I mean, as with all things, there's the good stuff and the bad stuff. Even for tiddy anime. But hoo boy is Galfriends not the good stuff.
I was intrigued by the premise! It seemed like the kind of thing that could have its cheesecake and eat it too in terms of sincere romance and just absolutely inscrutable big ole anime tiddy fanservice.
I thought it was promising too! Even parts of the first episode led me to think that it would be about a bunch of fun gal characters dunking on this loser guy and his ridiculous virgin/whore complex. That's all I needed. But no. It's just another bland harem anime, with some particularly offensive bits thrown in for flavor.
I mean, it's SURPRISINGLY bland. Our hero Junichi has like the most vanilla fantasies in the world, never really gets anywhere with any of them, but unlike many other fanservice anime, the way he (and especially his friends) thinks about those fantasies is like the grossest thing on the planet.
And there's this guy
do not want to see that thank you
I mean, pure unhinged libido is one thing. But his problems run much deeper. So the premise is that Junichi and his cadre of horrible friends are frustrated that they're still virgins in high school, so they try to set him up with the class's resident Gal, because...
To which he gets the completely deserved response
Right. And that's not a bad setup. You think okay, this is the lead-in to him understanding that gals want to be treated with the respect you'd show any girl, and maybe he's gonna fall in love with this lady for who she is on the inside, while still indulging tons of fanservice along the way. But NOPE. Every new storyline is just about piling on more women with progressively more massive chests while Junichi grumbles about how horny he is, how much he doesn't understand women, and gets jealous over every little thing. That's when he even bothers to do anything, because most of the action is actually carried by his trio of friends, who uh
SUPER NOPEST. LIKE THAT'S THE JOKE, THAT HE'S A PEDOPHILE. THAT'S IT. UUUGGGGHHHHHHHHHH.
You can't even try to go with the lolicon excuse, like "ha ha, he just likes little 2D anime girls, right?"
No no. Actual Literal Pedophile.
Like, barring everything else, that would be enough for me to think this show was the absolute pits. But every single other part of Galfriends is so unremarkable, uninspired, and unfunny that I can't even recommend it as being so bad it's good. It's only 10 episodes long yet somehow it's a complete slog to get through.
That's the thing. The characters suck all the fun out of engaging with the show sincerely (the girls are extremely flat stereotypes in all ways but one, and the guys are all self-obsessed slaves to their most extreme hormonal responses), but it's not like I expect loving characterization in porn. So maybe this would be forgivable if they could at least get the porn part right. But the eroticism here is just like...stuff you would make fun of people finding attractive in the mid-20th century or something in terms of tameness. It's not "tame" visually, but it's all censored to hell and back so it might as well be. It's like just the top entries on the "very sad old pervert" checklist.
"ooh I've been a bad widdle girl you wanna look at my cleavage and maybe brush my chest accidentally with your elbow" like YAWN
I actually like the ridiculously baroque gal-themed censor borders. It's the one spot in the show where I can see a glimmer of somebody on the production team having fun.
Yeah the choice of censorship imagery (which is at least something approaching fun) isn't the problem, it's that any censorship sucks out the show's only remaining appeal after it's thoroughly scrubbed out everything else.
Nobody's gonna be watching this one for the animation, that's for sure:
And that's one of the "good" cuts!
Well I mean that's the thing with fanservice anime. It's not porn, so it better be giving you a reason to watch it aside from censored sexytimes. Because it's not like porn is hard to find. ESPECIALLY anime porn. Galfriends doesn't really have anything else going for it besides half-measure titillation, so the result is a big shrug of a show.
Though there are one too many close-ups of a heavily salivating mouth for me to believe that one of the animators wasn't heavily into vore.
They should've leaned into that angle more! It would've been something.
Yeah, as it is, that's the only slightly interesting fetish beyond whatever in the seven hells is happening with Nene's boobs.
THIS POOR GIRL'S SPINE.
When the anime tiddy is so big, ya girl just look pregnant.
So was there anything we liked about the show? Besides using slightly creative images for censorship?
Ummm, Ranko being in love with Yukana could've been a cool thread to follow if the show had actually done anything with it? That's all I got.
Yeah, definitely. She does absolutely nothing whatsoever after that except kick some anime-original strawman "steal yo girl" bully in the nuts in the last episode. What a waste.
I liked the idea (tho not the execution) of Junichi having different versions of himself in his head deciding how to deal with his first girlfriend. There's an idealized gentleman, pure libido, his child-self, etc. But as it turns out, there's nothing whatsoever surprising or interesting about Junichi, so the inside of his head is just as boring and stupid as the outside of it!
Buddy, how much time do you have?
There's nothing this show attempts to do that you couldn't find done better in another show. Do you want a show about a gal and her friends? Watch Please tell me! Galko-chan
! Do you want over-the-top horny boy antics? Watch Prison School
! Do you want raunchy sex jokes mixed with social commentary? Watch SHIMONETA
! There are so many options. You don't have to watch Galfriends.
This Week in Anime, we watched Galfriends so you don't have to. And you
watched us do it, you perverts.
Hey I watched that
And Netsuzou Trap is yet another better option than My First Girlfriend is a Gal if you just want trash! I know the anime tiddy can be tempting, especially when it comes in bulk like this, but do yourselves a favor, guys. Save your cherry for the good stuff.
Or whore yourself out to the lowest forms of garbage like we just did, I certainly won't judge.
I can't judge! Trash is my middle name. But please stick to the good trash.