Review: Yamada’s First Time (B Gata H Kei)Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A nerdy guy is a giant pervert, and goes to a school filled with voluptuous young ladies. His eventual goal is to get in close with them and score, but he ends up falling for the childhood friend/nerdy one/headstrong one. It’s a formula that’s been used time and time again, and for some reason, a lot of people seem to not get sick of it one bit. If you take this formula, swap the genders, and add in an extra bit of teen pathos, and you get “B Gata H Kei”. The series starts off with Yamada (who apparently doesn’t have a first name), who’s checking herself out in the bathroom mirror. She seems to have the “perfect” body and is comfortable with her sexuality (which is refreshing in a world full of series with shy girls who cringe at the very thought of male contact)…until she places a mirror between her thighs and freaks out, saying “Why do you look like that?! It’s so strange!” For those of you who aren’t laughing yet, be warned: it doesn’t get any less raunchy than this. Yamada’s single-minded determination to sleep with 100 guys is offset by the fact that she is a virgin and has no clue when it comes to seducing men. The thought of her first time with an experienced guy frightens her (because her inexperience would make her seem “un-cool”), so she goes about looking for a Cherry Boy (read: virgin). Enter Kosuda, the aforementioned Cherry Boy. He’s kind, loves photography, and is just as clueless as Yamada, sometimes more so. Combine Yamada’s bashfulness with Kosuda’s inability to comprehend a situation, and you get a scene that’s played over countless times throughout the series. Through all of Yamada’s repeated attempts at seducing Kosuda, a relationship starts to evolve. It starts out one-sided (Kosuda wants to date her, Yamada just wants to screw him). Yamada eventually starts to see some of Kosuda’s other traits (other than his ‘member’). In some scenes, the tension between the two feels pretty realistic, which makes you start to wish for a happy ending for the couple (pun intended). The dub script is considerably funnier, thanks to scriptwriters Leah Clark and Jamie Marchi. The Jap script was already filled with euphemisms about sex, but given that the English language is far more casual and the average American audience is a bit more…let’s say liberal…the rewritten dialogue works incredibly well. The eros deities have some of the best lines in both the Jap and Eng dubs. Brittany Karbowski is great as Yamada. Scott Freeman carries himself pretty well in his first true lead role as Kosuda. I absolutely love Cherami Leigh as Takeshita. The visuals won’t win any awards, but they are still crisp and detailed. There’s never a noticeable dip in budget that has affected countless other series, so it is constantly pleasant to look at. The fan service isn’t overly used, and the clever use of censorship had me chuckle more than a few times. The OP/ED music is catchy but forgettable. The regular edition set comes with both the DVD and Blu Ray discs. Extras include two episode commentaries, outtakes, clean versions of the songs, and trailers, while the limited edition also includes a mousepad of Yamada in her underwear. Overall, this is a fun ecchi series with solid production values. The characters are enjoyable but eventually forgettable (some side characters steal the show at times). The dialogue is hilarious but some scenes feel repetitious. This series has solid production values and catchy music. If you’re looking for a fun romp of a series without anything too serious, then this would be a series for you. Thanks to Funimation for providing a review copy.
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