B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time, Complete Series – Blu-ray/DVD Review

Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $64.98 US (Blu-ray + DVD)
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now

It’s good to dream big but in Yamada’s case …

Some teenage girls have some pretty lofty goals when they get to high school such as going for a spot in the cheerleading squad, dating the star quarterback or, in the case of the attractive and popular Yamada, have 100 sex friends. Better yet, she’d like them to be cherry boys so she gets to deflower them herself. Ah, it’s good to have goals in life but some things are not as simple as it seems as we can see from the Complete Series of B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time.

You see, while Yamada is the type of girl who immediately turns heads in Takizawa High School every time she walks by the campus, she has never had a boyfriend or has ever been kissed let alone done the deed. Still, that hasn’t stopped this girl from dreaming up this crazy plan she is seriously going to carry out. To her busty friend Takeshita, Yamada has the libido of a teenage boy and (hysterically enough) her libido takes the form of a tiny yet charming and funny cloud-riding Eros Deity that resembles Yamada (only with a moustache) that happens to cheer the girl on in her efforts to bed 100 guys.

As fate would have it, Yamada runs into a boy she refers to as a “Plain Jane” who isn’t exactly a hottie but judging by his shy nature he is definitely a virgin. What a better way to carry out her plan then starting with a cherry boy that seems like a sure thing, right? As it turns out, the boy named Takashi Kosuda happens to go to her school and sits next to her in class. Yamada sets her sights on Kosuda who – to his surprise and confusion – seems to believe that the prettiest girl in school is interested in dating him.

Thus begins a young couple’s comical and downright awkward attempt at a relationship where one person is looking for romance and the other is just in it for the sex. While Yamada certainly wants to seduce Kosuda, she can’t really bring herself to go through with it and runs away leaving the boy even more confused. However, Yamada isn’t one to give up so she finds herself looking forward to spending time with Kosuda whether it’s inviting him to go swimming or being invited to his house where she not only meets Kosuda’s hot older sister but almost gets to kiss him. Once again, Yamada chickens out.

Then another obstacle comes between Yamada and her goal and it comes in the form of Kosuda’s childhood friend and next-door neighbor named Mayu Miyano who is secretly in love with him but is too shy to reveal her feelings to him. Yamada’s real rival comes when she participates in a beauty pageant during the school festival when the school is introduced to the beautiful Kyoka Kanejo who nearly steals Yamada’s crown as the school’s hottest girl. While seemingly sweet and proper, Kenejo is determined to make Yamada yesterday’s news.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Yamada and Kosuda becomes something that Yamada does not want to accept as a romance. Sure, her attempts at bedding him are failures and she could easily forget him to go for another guy but Kosuda has an innocent charm and sweetness to him that our girl finds likeable. She shares a number of moments that take the girl completely by surprise and has her friend Takeshita point out the obvious truth behind the reason why Yamada keeps turning to Kosuda.

Unexpectedly, both Yamada and Kosuda get closer and closer as they begin to explore not only the emotional side of their relationship but the physical one as well. The series certainly has its sexual moments that certainly warrants its TV MA rating but, oddly enough, never goes overboard with its fan service. What it does do is offer some brilliantly written dialogue by Jamie Marchi and Leah Clark that is filled with sexual innuendo that works.

On top of the solid writing it is the English dub voice acting that steals the show with Brittney Karbowski being perfectly cast as Yamada. Her performance is simply over-the-top stellar in ways that rivals Tamura Yukai’s wonderful performance and add Scott Freeman (as Kosuda) to the mix and you have a series with an excellent cast that make the dialogue work.

The 12-episode series doesn’t rely solely on sex as the story offers a number of pleasant comedic moments involving other characters. Kanejo’s rivalry with Yamada is a blast to watch but not as much fun as watching the girl reveal the truth behind the handsome young man she is so totally obsessed with and is determined to carry out her inappropriate relationship with said handsome young man. We even get to meet Yamada and Kosuda’s other classmates as we follow them to a school field trip to Kyoto, go to Kanejo’s mansion for a Christmas party as well as participate in a sports festival.

My biggest complaint is that I wish the Eros Deities got more screen time since they are simply too funny and seeing as Kosuda and Mayu have their own Eros Deities it just seems like a missed opportunity for more laughs. I even liked Yamada’s collection of friends and her little sister Chika who I wished would have shown up a little more seeing as her reactions to her sister’s plan to get laid are priceless.

The Complete Series of B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time is just like it’s main protagonist: charming, colorful and over-the-top hilarious. Injecting this romantic comedy with just the right dash of naughtiness mixed in with a brilliant sense of humor, you will find yourself not only falling in love with Yamada but laughing out loud more than enough times to make you realize that this series knows just how to keep you wanting more of what it has to offer. Without a doubt, this is a mature anime comedy you need in your growing anime collection.

BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
The beautiful and popular Yamada has always wanted to deflower 100 guys despite being a virgin herself but when she meets a cherry boy named Kosuda she sees this as the perfect chance to get the ball running. However, Yamada finds out that it difficult to do the deed seeing as Kosuda is the type of boy who wants to romance her. Could it be that Yamada might actually have feelings for the shy virgin?

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The animation might not be anything new but it’s still good enough to give each character their own distinct look and the visual gags are certainly a highlight. The Eros Deities are just so downright hilarious too and the fan service is, oddly enough, is not as excessive as you might think but still enough to warrant an MA rating. The series looks great on DVD but the Blu-ray version is simply stunning.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese voice cast is excellent with Tamura Yukai (as Yamada) standing out but it’s the English dub cast that steals the show thanks to some great writing and excellent performances from the likes of Brittney Karbowski (as Yamada), Scott Freeman (as Kosuda) and Cherami Leigh among others. The opening and closing theme songs are just so cute and the score is actually very catchy.

EXTRAS: B+
On top of the fact that this Complete Series package includes the Blu-ray and DVD versions but there are two audio commentary tracks … one for Episode 1 featuring Zach Bolton (ADR Director), Brittany Karbowski and Scott Freeman and the other one for Episode 11 featuring Jamie Marchi (Lead Writer) and Leah Clark (writer). There’s also an Outtakes feature, clean opening and closing animation and a few FUNimation trailers.

OVERALL: A
A riotously charming and ingeniously unique comedy, B Gata H Kei: Yamada’s First Time is everything you can ask for in the romantic comedy genre. Simply put: if you’re looking for a sex comedy romp that is genuinely hilarious you will find that Yamada’s First Time will leave you more than satisfied. Trust me when I say that this is certainly a guaranteed good time.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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