Friday, June 30, 2017

Anime review : B-Gata H-Kei

B-Gata H-Kei

“A bountiful Ecchi pack mixed together with romance and comedy.”

What is B-Gata H-Kei?

B-Gata H-Kei, or more commonly known as Yamada’s first time, follows the story of Yamada, whose goal is to obtain at least 100 sex friends. Her pursuit begins when she bumped into a rather-unpopular kid in her class and somehow, she started to fall in love to the boy, after initially just want to have sex with him. Thus, the story of how Yamada and this unpopular boy begins.

Remember Ore Monogatari? My review about that anime still stands as the standard of romantic-comedy that needs to be vaulted over if any rom-com genre wants to be great and anything comes below it will just be subpar to me. In my review of Ore Monogatari, I stated that a romantic-comedy needs to make the viewer laugh and go “aaaww” either at the same time or not, due to the apparent comedy and romantic involvement of the initial pairing. That still stands today. 

And, while B-Gata H-Kei shows promise at the initial episode, it could not hop over that bar set by Ore Monogatari. The premise of B-Gata H-kei [Gosh, it sure is mouthful] looks intriguing at first, where this Yamada, a sex-crazed high school girl, wants to obtain as much sex friend as possible, only for her to stumble upon an unpopular boy in her class and started to fall in love to this particular guy.

The premise is that Yamada wants to be with this generic guy.
The jokes here are formulaic to be honest. First, Yamada plans to do something ‘ecchi’ to this boy, whose name is Kosuda, and when she progress into action, Yamada either too nervous or embarrassed to continue, or something else happened that prevented them from continuing. Those formulas work wonders at the beginning, but later on, it becomes too apparent and the jokes can easily be predicted in my opinion. I can tell that at one point, they’re going to fail and it did. While it was fun at first, the formulaic pattern shows during the middle to late stages of the show.

Being a romantic-comedy anime, there is almost no plot going on except for the fact that Yamada is trying to hook-up with Kosuda.  That makes B-Gata H-Kei accessible to almost any audience due to the lack of plot or story going on, much like any comedy anime, however, their progression as a couple are, while apparent, is not shown fully by the climax, which may let down some romance-anime lover, including myself. I was hoping that by the end of the show, Yamada finally accepts that she loves Kosuda and becomes her girlfriend, but she does not. Instead, she kept on believing that one day, she’ll have so much sex friends that she can share with her friends, or something like that.

The series just floats over the main characters.
Speaking of Yamada, I think her  drive was explained as a young girl perceiving that staying a virgin, or a girl, in this era and this age, is so lame that she needs to find a partner sooner than later. This serves as a check to reality for some viewers, to a question of what Yamada did. Is what she did necessary? To find a partner so young in her life? There’s no guarantee that the boy will stay with her for the rest of her life, yes? Ultimately, her drive is never explained and in the end, she just falls for Kosuda without accepting that very fact.

Her falling for Kosuda is also a bit intriguing to be honest. She believes that she does not like Kosuda, but her mind says otherwise as she kept reacting to Kosuda’s every action. How she was jealous when he’s with another girl, how her heart tightens when he’s with her, and how she constantly run away in embarrassment from him. Watching Yamada’s love mature before myself was something to behold and quite enjoyable.

Yamada herself is a very enganging character who believes that she can do things she planned but ultimately having second thoughts during the action. While as stated earlier that this has become formulaic, seeing Yamada’s nervous meter hits maximum is always funny, even when the situation is really, really uncalled for.

The series revolves on how Yamada plans her advance towards Kosuda...
...And failing while doing so.

Yeah. There are a lot of ‘uncalled for’ situation, or fanservice shots to be precise. Most were done intentionally, apparent when Yamada flashes her upper body to Kosuda or the low-angle shot focusing on her underwear. However, as the anime itself realizes the territory that it is playing on, it just left the shots be and pleases those who wanted to be pleased. Me? Well, I’ve made it clear that I am not a fan of fanservices and the likes, so this serves as a miss to me.

 Then why do I watch it? I missed the term ‘H-Kei” when I found this anime. When I found the anime, I just see the genre and failed to see any ecchi-tag on it [Curse you, Wikipedia] and as a result, I just started to watch it and rue my small error as I watched it. Being an ecchi series does not stop this series to be a fun series though. The jokes are either a hit or a miss, but mostly hit when it is not too formulaic.

Let us return the character again shall we?

The main characters here are Yamada and Kosuda. As Yamada have been described earlier, let’s go with Kosuda, shall we? Kosuda is really bland and I don’t like him. He is bland in appearance, generic in personality, oblivious like a horse, yet he is strong-willed. Perhaps the creator intended to make Kosuda this way so that we the audience can feel that this person is generic, so why does Yamada want to hook up with this bland boy? And the way they delivered Kosuda nailed the feeling perfectly. Still, his strong will of wanting to be one with Yamada and goes as far as confessing to her in the class is something to behold, though he immediately loses all of his guts when cornered by someone better than him.

While everything about Kosuda screams bland and generic, his drive and willingness to be with Yamada is what endear him as a character.
Aside from the main characters, the supporting characters here are colorful in personality, but are also annoying. Takeshita Miharu serves as Yamada’s counselor while Mayu Miyano serves as Kosuda’s hopeless romantic partner whose feeling towards the guy is not realized. Miharu and Miyano added the much-needed color in the series as their commentary and their point of view are sometimes welcomed during scenes. While serving as the voice of reason in the series to most, Miharu’s antic of breaking the fourth wall are annoying, much like the Ero-gami that looks like a miniature version of Yamada. While Miharu’s fourth-wall breaking antic are annoying, Ero-gami turned it up into eleven as she constantly bickers and spoke to Yamada while providing unnecessary commentary that does not fit the atmosphere at all and I don’t like it one bit to be honest.

Miharu and Miyano is amongst the best character in the series.
Though this antic is questionable.
This ero-gami is also annoying.

What about the side characters? There is one memorable character, memorable for her idiotic antic and one scrappy moment which may make several audience hate her. Who is she? Misato. Yeah, she ruined a date between Yamada and Kosuda at one point that, in my opinion, could prove to be a disastrous action to her character.

And I just have to speak about Kanejou siblings. First is Kyoka, a girl obsessed to her brother. While her reason for wanting to beat Yamada is fairly explained, her reason for falling for her brother is unexplained and left many viewers wondering why was she that infatuated to her brother? Oh, not to mention her antics are quite annoying, but I loved the voice performance of Yu Kobayashi, as she nailed the role perfectly. Yuu Kobayashi is sometimes type-casted as an airhead who can be very bad-ass when serious (Attack on Titan’s Sasha Blouse, Gintama’s Ayame Sarutobi) but her performance as Kyoka captures how a girl with princess-like attitude should behave, though I have mixed feelings for her voice.

And the second Kanejou sibling is Keiichi, who is apparently liked by most girls who saw her, except for those who are already taken and Yamada, who loves Kosuda. This, apparently, piqued his curiosity and causes him to fall for Yamada. Unlike Kyoka, Keiichi only serves as the romantic rival for Kosuda, but failed to do anything else beside just being there.
While Yu Kobayashi's performance as Kyoka saves her from being bad,
Nothing could save how bad her brother was.
That’s it for the characters. There are lots of not memorable characters in this series, and this serves as another miss for the series. Most romantic comedies that I know had a lot of characters with them (Ore Monogatari, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun) and each of them have unique personality which still makes me remember each and every one of them, but B-Gata H-kei does not. Those characters are there just like what I say to Keiichi earlier, just there for the sake of being there, that’s all. I’m pretty strict when talking about characters and to me, all characters need to be expanded and used accordingly.

Being situated in a high-school settings, there is not much I can say about the background. It’s not good, but it’s not bad either, just fine. The musical tracks were also okay too. Sometimes it heightens the mood, but more often than not, it is bland. 

Oh, the voice actors here done a great job at their role. While I mentioned that Yu Kobayashi’s work was the one that stood out the most, other notable voice works are from Kana Hanazawa, which was one of her earlier work in her career as Miyano [But not the one that put her on the map], and Yui Horie, who delivered a very good work as Miharu.

The animation is fairly well-done for an anime that comes out on early 2010 era. Most anime during this period had a subpar animations except for those studios that comes armed with well-stocked budget, but B-Gata H-Kei offers a pretty much lively animation with colorful colors but somewhat lacking in style, like you can find this kind of animation style pretty much elsewhere, but it looks better.

For anime coming out early in 2010, the animation was decent.
All in all, B-Gata H-Kei is a mixture of ecchi and romantic comedy mixed into one package, that when opened, does not deliver the product as it is intended, but it does it’s job fairly okay, considering it received an English dub despite the ecchi tag. The anime is fun sometimes, but when it is too formulaic, you can tell that the jokes were going to be bad. Aside from the main characters and the main supporting cast, most other character just went to the sidelines and watched the show revolve around those main cast.

And it does raise question about the morale of young girls that they went through, and how they supposed to remain virgin or not while they’re still young.

I can’t really recommend this to anyone other than those who liked to laugh while being pleased at fanservices. I, a romantic-comedy genre lover, myself not that impressed by this anime but I won’t say it’s bad, as it does contain some good factors within them. But, other than those I mentioned early, I think most will get turned off by the premise.

And thus, the anime closes it's book.

The good : Decent premise. Wonderful main and supporting cast. When the jokes hit, it is very funny. Voice actings were good.

The bad : However, the jokes can be formulaic at times and boring. Many characters went sidelines as they are not memorable.

Highlight moment : Kosuda confessing to Yamada in the class
Final score : 2.5 out of 5. This is the best I could give this series.

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