Thursday, August 06, 2015

B-type H-isms

B-gata H-kei

This might sound like an overstatement, but I'm standing by it: B-gata H-kei (subtitled Yamada's First Time in the US) might be the best romantic comedy ever made.

It's certainly the best I've ever seen, although it's perhaps more accurate to call it a relationship show than a romantic one.

It's not just surprisingly honest about how difficult high school crushes are, but also about how they are difficult; self-consciousness and doubt, jealousy, the pressure to get everything right - the protagonists spend much of the series' running time trying to figure out if they like each other, why, and whether their other half is even worth the trouble of this pursuit.

Yamada initially just sees Kosuda as a means to an end - a first sexual partner to give her the confidence to embark on her quest to bed 100 guys. Kosuda is, no doubt, smitten with Yamada from the outset - but as a timid loner he's mostly just happy with attention from the prettiest girl in class.

But over the course of the series - a thankfully brief 12 episodes1* - Yamada is forced to admit that her continued focus on Kosuda (and rejection of other would-be suitors) is about more than the first notch on her bedpost.

Few anime romances take this much time to show the development of a relationship from the initial attraction into deeper feelings, and B-gata H-kei not only manages that easily, the series does it with an honesty and sweetness that I'd not expected.

And it's hilarious into the bargain.

1 Not that I wouldn't like to see more of the couple as their relationship develops further, but a couple of subplots already felt like padding. A 22 or 26 episode series would have been overkill.

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