Funimation // 2010 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roman Martel (Retired) // March 23rd, 2012
Naughty, naughty, naughty...
Meet Yamada (Brittney Karbowski, Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom), your typical goal-oriented high school girl. She's popular, pretty, and wants to sleep with 100 guys as soon as possible. Yeah, this must be an anime series.
Even with Yamada's lofty goal, she's not approaching this unealistically. She's still a virgin and wants her first time to be with another virgin. According to logic, since no super-hot guy is going to still be a virgin, she sets her sights on the exceedingly average Kosuda (Scott Freeman, Black Butler). The problem is, as aggressive as Yamada is in her mind, she just can't manage to actually say the words, "Jump me!" Instead, she comes up with cunning plans that will force her and Kosuda into as many awkward situations as possible. At this rate, it may take all 12 episodes before we actually experience Yamada's First Time.
I know what you're thinking: This is the typical male fantasy pseudo-erotic anime comedy, with lots of cleavage and panty shots, and very little else. Au contraire! Not only does it have more to offer, it's also darn funny.
Originally titled B-gata H-kei, the series manages to make two likable characters out of Yamada and Kosuda. We never know why Yamada is obsessed with the idea of having sex with 100 boys, but she's still a virgin at heart. That means she's insecure, awkward, and not sure how to react when a boy actually tries to kiss her. Optimistic, scatterbrained, and relentless, we can't help but like her! Karbowski carries the entire series with an excellent vocal performance that sells the character and makes the humor work.
The English script, adapted by Jamie Marchi and Leah Clark, is great stuff. Both writers manage to give these characters great personalities and plenty of quotable lines. You can tell the cast is having fun, because they really went for it. But even though the show revolves around sex, it isn't every racy. Most of the sexual situations are handled with a refreshing fumbling and mumbling realism, and the humor captures all the embarrassment and overheated clumsiness of two teens attempting to navigate this new frontier. The storylines offer a great deal of heart, as Kosuda starts falling for Yamada even though she weirds him out.
I'm surprised Yamada looks like a realistic pretty girl, instead of the F-cup vixens we see in Heaven's Lost Property and a myriad of other shows. Granted, there's plenty of cleavage and panty shots, and the final episode goes a bit farther than I expected, but for a show obsessed with sex, it would have been impossible to avoid it.
Funimation provides a solid Blu-ray release. The 1.78:1/1080p visuals are loaded with bright colors and eye-catching character designs, typical of modern anime comedy. Both the 2.0 Dolby TrueHD audio in the original Japanese and a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD English dub are well-balanced, never missing a funny line because of loud music or sound effects. Subtitles are well-timed and easy to read.
For extras, we get commentary tracks on Episodes 1 and 11. The first features Karbowski, Freeman, and ADR Director Zach Bolton discussing their approach to characters and the scripts, as well as providing their own naughty humor of their own. The second features English script writers Marchi and Clark, as they discuss adapting Japanese humor not only for the audience but the actors as well. The package is rounded out with voiceover cast outtakes, clean open and close title sequences, and standard definition DVD copies.
Like Yamada herself, Yamada's First Time is funny and sweet. Anyone who doesn't mind a bit of naughtiness mixed with their anime will really enjoy this one.
Guilty thoughts beget a Not Guilty verdict.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* TrueHD 2.0 Surround (Japanese)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean Open/Close
* DVD Copy