My First Girlfriend is a Gal
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 1 of
My First Girlfriend is a Gal ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
My First Girlfriend is a Gal ?
From its very first frame – a creatively-censored panty shot – this series unambiguously stakes out its position as an unabashed fanservice show. While it's not one of the more explicit ones (not on the same level as last season's Seven Mortal Sins, for instance), nothing that transpires in these first two episodes contradicts the first impression set by its earliest scenes. So the question is whether or not this series will amount to anything more than that. At the end of the second episode, the jury's still out on that matter. While these first two episodes definitely wallow in crudeness most of the time, they also show flashes of potential substance.
The gist of the story is that Junichi and his trio of loser friends are jealous of all the relationships they see forming around them and bitterly lament their continuing status as virgins – always a good starting point for a romcom, right? They decide to rectify that perceived problem by having one of their number confess to Yukana, a busty classmate who they assume is “easy” based on her being a “gal.” (For those not familiar with the term, “gal” and the Japanese equivalent “gyaru” refer to a lifestyle followed by young women, characterized by louder fashion choices like bleached or dyed hair, ornately decorated nails, heavy make-up, and trendy clothing.) Junichi gets forced into being the guinea pig, only to have Yukana actually accept his confession after initially toying with him. Junichi's unexpected success ostracizes him from his friends and startles the rest of the class, but he's also overwhelmed by how far dating Yukana might go. Their first date winds up being karaoke, where he finds himself fascinated by how much fun Yukana seems to be having but still musters up the nerve to try and kiss her, since he mistakenly believes that's what she expects. But Yukana has other ideas.
The skeezy-ness of Junichi's friend trio has earned a lot of criticism, and it's warranted, especially in the case of the lolicon guy. However, it could be argued that much of this behavior is entirely normal for mid-teen boys. I can remember rampant speculation over which girls would be the easiest to get sex from when I was that age, and my observations suggest that things haven't changed much over the years. As conceptually disgusting as their behavior and fantasies may be, they're also somewhat believable.
That also sets up a potentially interesting angle for the story, that Yukana isn't at all the kind of person they believe her to be. Most of these two episodes are seen from Junichi's viewpoint, but the brief times that we see Yukana in isolation indicate that she's neither a ditz nor quite as raunchy as she comes across. In fact, she appears to be a very confident, self-possessed girl who knows what she wants and isn't going to let anyone else dictate otherwise; she even gender-reverses the time-tested kabe-don scenario seen so commonly in shoujo romances. She gives off the impression that she accepted Junichi's offer more because she's curious about dating than because she actually has the hots for him, and she's just looking for someone new to have fun with. The scene near the end of episode two where Junichi's attempt to kiss her is an eye-opener, as she comically redirects his effort in the moment, but her own comments out of Junichi's sight indicate that she was well aware of what he was trying to do. Scenes like that give me hope for her as a character and help to balance out Junichi's already tiresome anxiety and scrambled subconscious.
That's also good because the technical merits aren't selling this series on their own. The animation suffers any time movements more complicated than jiggling breasts are required (the way Yukana dances while singing karaoke looks really stiff) and character designs aren't the sharpest. And really, what were they trying to do with childhood friend Nene? They gave her a bust half the size of her very short body. Apparently, she's way shorter in the anime than in the manga, so I have to think that the design team was aiming to put her on an appeal level similar to Hestia. If so, it doesn't work. The other fanservice aspects are thankfully more palatable, though they definitely skews toward viewers who favor big breasts.
I think the key to making this series work will be how Yukana gets developed going forward, so that's what I'll be looking at most closely episode-to-episode. The opening theme and behavior of certain other girls suggests that this is ultimately going in a harem direction, but that wouldn't preclude allowing Yukana to be a stronger and more interesting character. If the story never lets her be more than just Chief Harem Girl, then this is unlikely to be anything more than a forgettable harem series, but at least there's hope for more right now. I'm still not expecting great things even if this series does show more ambition, but any effort in that direction would be welcome.
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