Anime Review - Yamada's First Time: B Gata H Kei
I tried to explain the basic plot of Yamada's First Time: B Gata H Kei to a friend, an endeavour that didn't end all that well.
"You see, it's about this 15 year old high school girl who wants to lose her 'v card' before doing it with another 99 guys..." (cue worried look) o_0
Sure, I tried to assure him that it was hilarious and tongue in cheek but he just walked away and reported me to the police (not really).
"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!"
Up until Madman's release of this series I was relatively unaware of its existence, due in no small part to the original manga series only being published in Japan and Taiwan. Then when I read a bit about the series I thought that here would be no way possible that I could stomach what is, let's face it, a pretty tasteless premise. So it came as a huge surprise to me that I didn't just like this series, I loved it. There aren't many series that leave me laughing out loud but B Gata H Kei did just that. To start off with, the laughs were in response to how utterly wrong the story was and how utterly insane Yamada is, but after a while I stopped laughing at the characters and started laughing with them.
The source material is a huge reason for the series hilarity but the director, Yusuke Yamamoto, should also get a massive pat on the back. Given the the source material is a four panel manga series, Yamamoto had to fill a whole lot of gaps, his experience on Gin Tama and Sgt Frog (two series that I WISH someone would release locally) have surely set him up for this insane journey. What he managed to create was a series that showed such absurdity yet still managed to counterbalance this with the evolution of our main character, Yamada. Without this, the whole series would have just been too much. By series end she is still just as hot blooded and insatiable as where we began, but the way in which we get to the series end is so entertaining. Kosuda is Yamada's chosen prey, and yes I do mean prey, and he is just as hapless as you would expect. From scene to scene, the poor guy experiences the highs and lows that only teenage sexuality can provide.
I found myself flitting back and forward between the Japanese and English audio tracks just to see how much was being lost in translation and thankfully, not much was lost at all. Of course, certain things just don't translate well, or at all, but in this case the lewdness translated almost seamlessly. The Japanese cast was great with Yukari Tamura (Black Butler, Shakugan No Shana) absolutely nails the maniacal Yamada and Atsushi Abe (Xam'd: Lost Memories) is perfect as the hapless Kosuda. The American cast too is a perfect fit, with Brittney Karbowski (Soul Eater, Heaven's Lost Property) as Yamada and Scott Freeman (Baka and Test, Chrome Shelled Regios) as Kosuda.
This series is definitely NOT for kids. Not only is there a tonne of sexuality, sexual references and even a touch of nudity but there is also an outtake track in the special features that includes more than a few eff bombs. I can't help but wonder if this is in some way a commentary on the change in attitudes of Japanese teens towards sex. It may be a stretch to think that anyone is aiming for a century, but is this the new face of teen sexuality in Japan? Let's hope not. Regardless, Yamada's First Time: B Gata H Kei is a hilarious series full of inappropriate humour and moments of awkward teenage lust.