Reviewby Luke Carroll,
Yamada's First Time: B Gata H Kei
Yamada wants to get with 100 boys? She needs to start with one!
OMG! There's this girl at school, Yamada, who wants to make like a hundred sex friends. She totally thinks she can devirginize one hundred different boys! Can you believe that? That's like every boy in the school. Who does she think she is? I heard from my friend's neighbor's cousin's lab partner that Yamada's never even been kissed. Oh. My. God. I would totally die. That's like burn all your makeup and shave off your eyebrows embarrassing. I can't even think about it.
Today at lunch I saw Yamada flirting, like for reals flirting, with that geek Kosuda. You know the guy. Photography club, no muscles, boring face, kind of reminds you of a black-and-white movie. Super lame. If Yamada can't even make the sex with him, she'll never score a hundred cherry boys. She needs to take like Sex Ed or something because I heard she can't give it away!
If there is one thing that I always enjoy about the anime and manga industry, it is their love for wack-job characters and crazy story lines that would never see the light of day anywhere else. And while many of these titles unfortunately are forgotten soon after release, a few do manage to break into untapped areas and surprise even the most seasoned fan. Yamada's First Time (more commonly referred to as B Gata H Kei) is certainly one of these titles. It's crude, childish, and spends way too much time focused on breast sizes and condoms; and yet it is one of the most down to earth and brilliantly funny shows you will get to see this year.
Yamada sees herself as the perfect high school girl. Her skin is smooth, her breasts are wonderful and guys fall head over heels wherever she goes. She's also a very determined girl, at least when it comes to her goal in life which is to have sex with over 100 different boys. There's only one minor hitch, Yamada is still a virgin and she wants her first guy to also be a cherry boy. Now, you're probably wondering how a show featuring a horny school girl with ridiculous sexual goals is also meant to be rather down to earth. Well, a lot of that comes in the form of Takashi Kosuda, Yamada's first victim (for lack of a better term).
Kosuda is very much your average guy. He's not popular, he keeps to himself, and it's quickly acknowledged that he's also a virgin. With Yamada wanting her first hurdle to be over and done with as soon as possible, it isn't long before she's cornered Kosuda in a room and is flashing her bra at him in a bid he'll man up and start having sex with her. The only complications are that Kosuda is completely clueless as to what Yamada wants from him and Yamada has no idea what to do next as she's convinced all guys are horny sex machines always ready to pounce with this sort of action. It's both a hilarious and yet very real feeling as the pair awkwardly try to figure each other out and finally understand what they want.
Of course sexual awkwardness isn't the only charm of the series (but it plays a big part). The secondary cast is also wonderfully crafted and add a charm of their own. Yamada's best friend Takeshita acts as a wonderful anchor point for bringing Yamada back to ground after her many crazy outbursts. She also very supportive of Yamada's antics, but isn't afraid to tell her when she's crossed the line. Kosuda's friends on the other hand are very much dumb to the whole idea Yamada could even be after him in the first place, preferring to spend most of their time talking about girls in the school. The series also features three other largely used characters in the form of Yamada's younger sister, who sees Yamada as a hopeless basket-case, Miyano, who holds a long secret crush on Kosuda and Kanejo, who quickly forms a rivalry with Yamada and has a just as ridiculous goal of losing her virginity to her brother. Yeah, I didn't think I heard it right first time either.
On top of these, the series is also mainly narrated with the help of Yamada's 'eros diety', a small mystic version of herself (with a mustache and a pink cloud) that essentially represents her sex driven libido. Kosuda's on the other hand spends more time acting as a stand in penis than portraying his urges. Miyano surprisingly also receives one, however like Kosuda's, hers is also rather under used for the series. Nevertheless, they provide some nice extra entertainment and help make the series stand out.
Visually, Yamada's First Time is a rather solid experience (no pun intended). Characters are easily distinguishable and the series doesn't go overboard with anything too silly except for possibly Kyoka and Keiichi's perpetual sparkles that symbolize their perfect looks. Background art is also well done but it does look a little out of place at times due to the minimum use of black outlines. The animation is nice and fluid and as expected this Blu-ray release looks nothing short of a treat on high definition televisions.
On the audio side of things, Yamada's First Time is a surprisingly good treat to the ears. The English cast, spearheaded by Brittany Karbowski as Yamada, all put in interesting and enjoyable versions of their chosen characters. You can really tell they had a lot of fun with this series and its more dirty script. The background music is upbeat and the opening and closing themes are wonderfully catchy. This is certainly one of those rare releases where the English track holds up just as well, if not better than it's Japanese counterpart.
Extras wise, this release features two episode long commentaries (episode 1 and 11), a clip of audio outtakes, text-less opening and closing themes as well as a handful of trailers for other Funimation series. The first episode commentary is certainly the more interesting of the two and the outtakes are a great giggle, if unfortunately a little brief.
Whilst it wont win any awards, Yamada's First Time will certainly give you a good chuckle. It's story of a single minded horny teenager versus her utterly confused target is of one that will grow on you if you give it time. The series plays on the dirty teenager inside us all and it does so without denigrating anyone. Sure the dirty language at times is tasteless and the fan-service is more than necessary, but if you're willing to look past that and go along for the ride, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Overall (dub) : A-
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B
Animation : B+
Art : B
Music : B+
+ Very funny and yet quite heartwarming story, good English dub.
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