Yamada's First Time
If there's one fact that all guys can agree on, it's that pretty girls are CRAZY. Like, totally insane. We cannot figure them out at all. And we wonder why that is -- well, an anime comes around that many finally explain it. It's not that they are crazy... well, yes they are crazy, but now we know what it is that makes them act crazy.
In Yamada's First Time, our heroine has vowed to have sex with one hundred guys during her time in High School. Now, she's a real cutie, so you'd think the goal of becoming a slut would be easy, I mean, all she'd have to do is ask. However, this poor girl is riddled with "issues". She knows she's hot (annoyingly so), but definitely has some body issues concerning "down there", and she second guesses herself due to insecurity, and she's not very experienced with boys. Not only is she still a virgin, but (gasp!) she's never even had her first kiss or gone on a date.
So, because she's thinking too far ahead when a cute guy comes on to her, she immediately imagines them in bed, and how she has to admit she's still holding her "v-card", and how the cute guy will be turned off by her being a virgin, so, she blows off the cute guy, because her self-esteem just isn't ready for that yet.
To try and get over the virginity thing, she decides she needs to go after a "cherry boy", i.e., another virgin that won't mind her being a virgin either. And then she makes her biggest mistake; the guy she targets as her first conquest is a shy gentlemanly plain-jane of a guy who might actually be interested in her as a real relationship and not just a notch in his belt.
So all the comedy is coming from the unspoken agendas, as well as Yamada's 'inner voice' (and her Eros Deity) making her do all kinds of crazy stuff as she plots and plans to seduce this poor shmoe, only to have her plans fall apart because, as it turns out, she has no clue regarding what she's doing. As she gets closer and closer to trying to have sex with Kosuda, she discovers that her virginity isn't the only problem; she's actually freaked out by her own emotions and her reactions to *his* erect.. uhhh, reactions!
For a series that *has* to be written by a guy the series is still remarkably insightful regarding the insecurities even a pretty girl experiences, which may explain why chicks come off as so crazy. Her own confusion regarding her feelings become mixed signals to poor Kosuda, who can't figure out if this amazingly hot girl is his girlfriend or not.
But even more fascinating and hilarious is the twist pulled on us by the writers and producers. Where anime is usually about the perverted guy chasing the girls, they've turned the whole thing on its head and made the woman the aggressor (even portraying her as the wolf and poor, clueless Kosuda as the lamb), as she tries to seduce him, while confusing him, because she can never admit, even to herself that she actually likes this guy, as in *REALLY* likes this guy, that her whole quest of sex with one hundred guys is never going to happen, because she's spending all her time pursuing the one guy on the planet that's actually a nice guy, even though she's way out of his league.
Yes, Pretty girls are crazy. And even other pretty girls will admit that Yamada is particularly crazy, as getting laid becomes not just a quest, but an obsession beyond compare. She's all impulse with no planning. And that makes this series one of the funniest we've ever seen. It's short (12 episodes), but packed with hilarious moments that you'll either identify with, or you'll just find to be funny on their own merit. We loved it. Seriously-- laugh out loud moments in every episode, rewind and watch again, because they are just *that* funny!
The original title is B-Gata H-Kei which is why the title sequence and all the scene transitions revolve around the B-H initials, but Funimation wisely decided that this title wouldn't make any sense to an American audience, and they also chose wisely when casting voices. Credit where credit is due, Brittney Karbowski who was hired to voice Yamada can actually act.
It should be pretty obvious that Yamada doesn't get to sleep with 100 men during the course of the series. But do Yamada and Kosuda ever get to actually hook up? Does she ever lose her v-card? I'm not telling. I'll just mention that the fanservice does pick up in the final episodes.
But that doesn't detract from how incredibly charming this series is, and it's the first sex-farce I've ever seen with real heart to it. Not only is this the funniest romantic comedy in all of anime, it may also be the most honest, because Yamada is so dishonest with herself - and that is truly where the genius of this series lies (pun completely intended). No matter how ecchi you feel the premise is, trust us, watch it all the way through, and you'll discover the most original, hysterical, smart romantic comedy that has ever graced your TV screen.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2012
Below: Scenes from Yamada's First Time (B-Gata H-Kei).