Monday, April 7, 2014

B Gata H Kei

B Gata H Kei (Yamada's First Time in English) is a 12-episode series released in the Spring of 2010. It follows pretty, popular high school freshman Yamada on her quest to lose her virginity, so she may complete her ultimate goal of having 100 sex friends. The only things standing in the way of her ambitious goal are her own anxieties and the density of the hapless dope she picks to be her first partner. Along the way, she gets advice from her friends, her younger sister and the poor sap's older sister, and comes to realize that sometimes trailing sex is love.

She talks a big game, but in reality, Yamada's about as experienced as a Nun.

B Gata H Kei, while quite fanservicey, is very bubbly at its core, and it is reflected in its style, with plenty of bright colours, patterns, and big eyes (even on some guys). Everything is very sparkly and bouncy and it gives you the pleasurable-yet-almost-too-much feeling of drinking a very VERY flamboyant drink (such as strawberry-grapefruit-mango with ginger ale). Needless to say, if you're into more serious anime, you should stop here. B Gata H Kei, if it wasn't already obvious, is a romantic comedy.

Expect a lot of Demon Seal jokes, it's a running gag.

The series is rather average fare, though a bit slow for my taste (perhaps on purpose, to further the comedy). It takes them FOREVER to just hold hands, which was a little frustrating given how initially fast-paced it seems. Still, this was sort of charming in its own way, seeing the awkward (so very awkward) interactions between Yamada and Kosuda (the poor shlub she's trying to bed), and the both frustrated and amused reactions of their friends. There are a host of other girls, meaning that the harem can cater to the tastes of many, but (thankfully) this is not a harem-style series and most of the guys going after poor average Kosuda do it not because they're actually interested, but because they have an ulteriour motive.

This is not an appropriate response to realizing you like someone--

Perhaps this sounds like harsh treatment for an anime, me saying something that evokes imagery of all women being hell-bent on manipulating men for their own personal gain. On the contrary, there are one or two who have purer motives at heart, and even scheming Yamada is a protagonist worth rooting for (despite her ego) if only because she is so in tune with her sexuality (well, sort of). Even in western media it is rare to see a girl so championing her rights and desires for sex, and to be so well-adjusted about it. No girlish screaming over perverts, no blushing at the mere mention of a kiss, just simple, frank "I want to do it"-type statements, as a girl in charge of her life should be able to deal with. Yamada even goes so far as to procure condoms, which is extremely forward-thinking for an anime series, as it was not too long ago that, in the shadow of a growing teen pregnancy problem, Japanese teen magazines published articles and passed out condoms with their circulation on the subject just so that SOMEBODY was telling these kids what it's about, since their parents and schools sure as hell weren't.

That's an understatement, Honey.

Besides the pacing issues, I didn't find much fault in this series. Indeed, I think I enjoyed it even more since it was just so blunt about what it really was. It's a real treat to not have a horrible, harem, ecchi tirade disguise itself as a cutesy series to draw in viewers, leaving them with something the complete opposite of what they were expecting. B Gata H Kei is about sex. It's also about love, and coming of age, and blossoming into your own self, but mostly it's about sex. And that's okay, because it's not going to lie to you about it. There's fanservice, there's tons of pervy moments, but that's just the way this works, and that's okay.

Pretty haughty for a fumbling idiot.

B Gata H Kei is available from Unlimited Translation Works, Task-Force (Italian), Tekeremata (Spanish), and Funny & Fantasy Subs (Italian). It is licensed for release in North America by Funimation.

Yeah.....stuff like this happens too.....


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