What would you do if you were 15 and a virgin? Probably shrug and enjoy life, because not everything revolves around the acquisition of poontang, right?
Sure, if you’re a loser.
And Yamada isn’t a loser. This is her story.
Yamada’s First Time (aka B Gata H Kei) is the story of Yamada, a vain high school girl whose beauty is only matched by her popularity with both sexes. But there’s a problem.
She’s a virgin.
Seeking to rectify this clearly inexcusable situation, Yamada vows to have sex with 100 guys over the course of her high school life. Unfortunately, every time someone asks her out, she turns them down because she’s afraid they might be more experienced than her.
To combat this, Yamada preys on Takashi Kosuda, her classmate and “cherry boy”, with a passion for photography and zero defining characteristics.
Yes, Kosuda is so normal that everyone thinks of him as completely unremarkable – boring, even. And yet, he and Yamada are drawn together through the tides of fate.
Will Yamada finally realise Kosuda is the only one for her?
Will Yamada’s best friend ever stop putting up with her outbursts?
Will Kosuda ever take the perfect photograph?
FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON—oh wait, this is a review.
So yeah, that’s your basic premise, and it’s a pretty unique one. It’s refreshing to see a series revolving around a female protagonist, especially one as complex and interesting as Yamada. Most of the series revolves around her zany schemes to get into Kosuda’s pants which inevitably backfire until she realises that being herself is more important and sex isn’t the be-all and end-all and blah blah blah. Trust me, you can tell where it’s going from minute one.
Basically, it’s like a far less depressing version of Watamote.
That said, Yamada’s constant misguided teasing of Kosuda can get a bit wearing, as she constantly gets close and then flips around and acts like she hates him. It serves a purpose in the plot and character development, but when something feels like it’s getting a bit old over the course of 12 episodes, that’s probably not a good thing.
However, I don’t want this to be misconstrued – Yamada is a likeable, fun character with very human flaws. We’re supposed to be annoyed at her ineptitude.
Of course, Yamada and Kosuda do not exist in a bubble – the supporting cast is equally as fun and engaging as the two leads.
Yamada’s best friend Miharu is brilliantly dry as the foil to Yamada’s ravings, a girl thoroughly secure in herself and in a stable relationship with a college student.
I also enjoyed the light tension that came from Kosuda’s nerdy childhood friend Mayu and rich girl Kyoka. Mayu (of course) has a massive crush on Kosuda but is too afraid to show it, and it’s interesting to have a secondary character who arguably deserves a chance with Kosuda more than Yamada herself.
Kyoka, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. She is essentially the perfect girl: beautiful, popular, athletic, beautiful, talented, beautiful and BEAUTIFUL. She’s so perfect that when they inevitably reveal her to be a conniving, horrible weirdo I said aloud, “Oh, thank god she’s a bitch!”
A title and concept like Yamada’s First Time might seem like it would give way to truckloads of fanservice, but surprisingly this isn’t the case. Nudity in the series is used very sparingly, and when it eventually happens, it feels earned and genuine, rather than a cheap excuse for life and hometown.
And even if there was no nudity at all, the series is legitimately funny as hell, but more than that, it has a lot of heart. Yamada and Kosuda’s awkward fumbling relationship is very sweet, and their missteps never become too cringey. Like the opening theme of the series, it keeps the tone light and silly throughout, which in my opinion is the best way to do it.
The characters are brought to life by a talented, if not hugely well known English cast. Yamada is voiced with aplomb by seasoned veteran (and blog favourite) Brittney Karbowski, while Kosuda is played admirably by Scott Freeman. Jad Saxton, Cherami Leigh and Alexis Tipton, as seen many times in my reviews, are all present and accounted for, as are Eric Vale, Ian Sinclair and Greg Ayres.
Yamada’s First Time also seems to adopt a retro art style in much the same way as Mysterious Girlfriend X. Aaaand that’s pretty much all I’ve got. Seriously. What, you think I have to give detailed criticism all the time? It’s pretty. Look at the pictures. Wheeeeeee
And… that’s about it. Seriously, there’s nothing left here to say but “go watch it.”
Raunchy and outrageously funny, Yamada hits all the right notes, even if one or two might need a bit of tuning. Maybe not suitable for the young’uns, but if you fancy a naughty comedy with genuine heart and intelligence, this is the pick of the bunch. The cherry bunch.