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B Gata H Kei (Yamada's First Time) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 14 December 2011 00:00

B Gata H Kei (Yamada's First Time)

Sometimes you go into a new show with no real expectation of enjoying it, and that's how I went into B Gata H Kei - it's reputation did not suggest good time ahead. It's also nice to be pleasantly surprised when a series turns out to be really rather good, and it was...

Yamada is the cutest girl in the whole school, and when she started high school she had one aim in mind: to round herself up a collection of 100 sex friends. There's just one problem: she's never even been kissed. Keen to start her collection with a fellow virgin, she settles on Takashi Kosuda to be her first conquest - but he proves to be a harder catch than she expected...

"Sex friends" is such a comparatively polite term - in my part of the world, they something a touch more coarse. Not that it really matters much, though, as by the end of the series, Yamada's bedpost notch count is... zero. Non-stop sex, you see, isn't really the priority of this series, despite what its publicity may tell you: instead, it's the story of two completely clueless people who, over the course of 18 months, still can't quite manage to sort out their feelings for each other - and when you put it that way, the whole idea is far more appealing anyway.

Yamada (you never get to know her first name) thinks she's a sex goddess, but the reality is rather different. She likes the idea of having a large partner count (I'm staying polite, you'll note), but being a virgin and not all that confident of her own ability, she decides to find herself a "cherry boy" that she can corrupt use - so they can teach each other the ropes before going their separate ways. The lucky (?) victim classmate is Takashi Kosuda, and Yamada sets about doing her best to seduce him - in ways that invariably lead in failure, but slowly lead the hapless pair to realise their genuine feelings for each other.

It's done very much in the style of a teenage sex comedy - mainly because that's what it is - but whereas many movies in that category tend to be more crude than funny (that may just be my age at work), B Gata H Kei did frequently make me laugh. From fumbled encounters in the school library, via failed nookie in Kosuda's photography darkroom, through to heartwarming dates and getting so close before, er, mechanical problems stop them in their tracks, the antics of Yamada and Kosuda are just damned good fun to watch.

They're helped along by a good supporting cast, too - Yamada's little sister Chika and best friend Takeshita both prove to be fountains of good advice for Yamada, while Kosuda has to deal with having other competitors for his affection in the form of next-door neighbour and childhood friend Miyano (as perfect a candidate as you could ever hope to have), and spoilt little rich girl Kanejo, who's only interested in him as a way of pissing Yamada off. These help keep the show from focussing too heavily on the sex side of things, and pull it back towards more typical high-school stuff.

The combination works surprisingly well - the situations the series throws at its leading couple are funny, the supporting case are all likeable (even Kanejo has a certain charm), and with two short stories each episode it zips along quickly enough that individual gags rarely overstay their welcome. The online stream is the edited-for-broadcast version, but to be honest the fanservice level is low enough that the home video version (due out in the US in early 2012) wouldn't have much more on offer anyway. It's in a love-it-or-hate-it genre, it's true, and if you don't like this sort of humour then B Gata H Kei is going to do nothing for you. If it does, though, then this is definitely one of the better examples out these, and is well worth a look.

Rating - ****