Completed: B Gata H Kei – How To Make An Excellent Show With No Rewatch Value

(Note: I couldn’t decide how to title posts for shows that I finished which aren’t part of “Finish or Fail” series, and I didn’t want to call them “Reviews”, so I’m instituting the “Completed” title for them. Also, there will be spoilers, but they don’t really matter, and will probably sell you on the show anyway, haha.)

B Gata H Kei is rock solid – I have nothing negative to say about it. I was constantly impressed by it’s writing, which created a hilarious and believable romance that, for once, made real progress at a satisfying pace as the series continued. Every episode made me laugh, and the jokes struck me with their cleverness – often the punchline is a bit of music, a very quick cut-away, or a background detail, so that the joke doesn’t feel too obvious nor intrusive, but a bit of fun cleverly spliced into a continuing scene. The running gags stayed funny and didn’t get old, which is way more than I can say about most school anime with running jokes.

Hal Film Maker put together a consistently impressive production with character design/animation that deserves praise (Yuuko Yahiro should have more work!) and very clever use of music (I laughed every time I heard the ‘B Gata H Kei’ jingle). Whereas my opinion of Yukari Tamura‘s voice acting had been rocky in the past, I found her performance as Yamada to be nothing short of superb, which it had to be for the show to work as well as it did. And while I’m linking to that post about my sordid thoughts on Tamura and Mamiko Noto, I may as well point out that BGHK had one of Noto’s most unique roles, playing Kosuda’s energetic, tomboyish onee-chan, which she completely nails.

The main selling point of the show for me was definitely Yamada. If I had to say what she reminded me of, it was an older, sex-crazed version of Sana Kurata from Kodocha. She had that same manic energy, the mix of intelligence and immaturity, and a drive like no other. I loved Yamada from the moment she gave her opening dialog, and that love deepened as I got to see her gorgeously drawn design throughout the series – no joke, Yamada is, to me, one of the hottest anime characters I’ve ever seen. Her body is close to what I’d describe as the ‘perfect girl’ (maybe shorter hair… and a cigarette, and a motorcycle, I digress) and I can’t argue with her personality in the slightest (you’re a virgin obsessed with sex? I’M a virgin obsessed with sex! We have so much in common!) The rest of the cast was fun, if mostly one-trick ponies, and Kosuda had just the right mix of cowardice and ballsiness to be a likable but relatable male lead.

What sucks about a show like this, though, is that even though it does everything right, it doesn’t lend itself to rewatching, nor a place among my favorites. It’s not that I don’t favor comedy series (Gintama is in my top 3, Lucky Star in my top 20, etc.), but the trouble with BGHK is that it’s ultimately just one 12-episode joke, which you can summarize in a single sentence: Yamada is an energetic, sex crazed high school girl who starts dating Kosuda, an unassuming virgin, in the hopes of using him to lose her own virginity, but ends up slowly falling in love with him and deciding to give him her virginity for genuine reasons. It takes a damn-good writing staff to make that one joke stay funny for four hours, and BGHK was a success in that regard, but in the end it’s still just one joke.

HE COULD GO AAAAALL THEEEE WAAAAAAAYYY!!!

I might be inclined to watch a comedy series again and again because I find the jokes funny, but in this case, I have effectively already rewatched the joke twelve (24?) times just by watching the series. At that point, I don’t exactly think I need a reminder of how the joke went. Some would say that a show doesn’t have to count on your ability to rewatch it, and I don’t doubt that as a one-time deal, BGHK is as good as it could have been. However, I don’t necessarily look for a one-time deal in anime. For me, it’s important to be able to look back on and re-experience a series, to look deep into it and my motivations for enjoying it, and the feelings I got for certain moments. The shows that I put among my favorites are those that I feel as though I can watch long into the future and never get tired of. BGHK can’t achieve the highest marks from me because it’s very premise cannot fulfill my needs, but within that limitation, it still fulfills it’s full potential.

What could make me rewatch the series, though, is if it gets uncensored on the DVDs. I won’t lie, this show made me hot (*caughfaphardcough*), and I loved it as much for Yamada fanservice as anything else. The last two episodes were potentially two of the hottest anime episodes I’ve ever seen (not just for what happens, but for the awesome internal monologues), and if they were uncensored, I could see watching them many more times. Otherwise, if I have to leave that much up to my imagination, I may as well just come up with my own scenario or wait for the doujins to come out. [F]

If you finished this show, how did you feel about it? (post links are appropriate!) Also, how much value do you put on a show’s rewatchability?

32 thoughts on “Completed: B Gata H Kei – How To Make An Excellent Show With No Rewatch Value

  1. B Gata was surprisingly cute, actually. Repetitive and generic, sure, but I had no expectations at all coming in. I liked how both leads are incredible losers, in spite of themselves. I’m also stunned that they managed to carry the running gag of “a teenage girl who’s hornier than the guys” as long as they did without me giving up on it.

    There are eps I might rewatch, but I never feel like watching a romcom more than once.. except ToraDora for whatever reason. However, I did start reading the manga of B Gata, and I was surprised to find that it’s only slightly filthier. That’s the extent to which I think I’ll want to “re-experience” B Gata, though :)

    • I’m curious about what in it you found ‘generic’. It’s certainly got a lot of common tropes, but I think it twisted them enough to not be something we’ve seen before (I can’t remember having a sex-obsessed female lead before, anyway).

      the manga’s translated? I might check that out~~

      • Generic in that it was basically the same highschool romcom we’ve seen before, with the big twist being the obvious role-reversal. It certainly wasn’t too generic for me to enjoy, though. There were enough times throughout where they twisted it in a way I hadn’t seen before.

        The humor was also pretty obvious, but I’d say they managed to succeed there because I haven’t seen any anime that were this tongue-in-cheek while still being perverted. In other words, the comedy material was delivered in a new way for me, but was itself pretty stale.

        • I haven’t really seen many (any?) highschool romcoms that go as far as this did and were as mature as this was (seinen audience, after all). The only series that I can think of which reminds me of it is REC, which is decidedly not set in high school.

          • Yeah, and I’m not so hung up on it that it matters. It did what it set out to do, and I enjoyed it. Whether it shakes that “generic” feeling or not for me doesn’t matter, because I truly enjoyed it and didn’t really need it to be a ground-breaking new plotline.

  2. Rewatchability means little to me. I’d rather watch something new than rewatch something old, unless I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened in a show I remember liking.

    B Gata H Kei was great. Noto really surprised me. I had to look it up to make sure it was actually her! The jokes generally came off well, and there wasn’t a lot of post-joke masturbation (the metaphorical kind). It was also great to see an anime relationship with sexual progress. My only complaint is that the non-sexual side of the show got generic/predictable at times. A lot of bloggers assailed the show for it, but really, I’ve put up with a lot more crap from other shows. Generic stuff here and there doesn’t bother me at all.

    • I didn’t realize you’d seen it, but I knew you’d enjoy it, especially the way the jokes never lingered around. The only joke that bothered me at all was the rivalry of Yamada and Kanejou in eps 6 and 7 because I hate anime character bitch wars in general, but it wasn’t bad enough to distract me at all.

  3. I felt it hitting a bit of a lull in the middle, but the introduction of Kosuda’s erogami brought back the funny in spades. Very charming show.

    The only thing that bothered me was, well…

    They didn’t do it! All this time, all these episodes of buildup and they didn’t do it! I understand that there must be some message there, but still, what the fuck!

    • Well, it’s based on a manga that’s still running (and has been for a long time) so I want to say that they probably have more progress to go that hasn’t been covered yet. And, hey, there was penetration. That’s good enough for me.

  4. Like 2DT says, “charming.” I think I can totally agree with this “one joke” stance, and it’s odd that the rewatch value is quite low for this series. With that in mind, I think of other one joke ponies like School Rumble (wrong place, right time irony), but what’s interesting is the rewatch value (or re-read) of Sukuran is above average imo. I’ll make one last tangential comparison to a similarly themed, but less sexual, Hatsukoi Limited, which imo has a relatively high rewatch value… (carries sentiment, genuine moments)

    So when I add these three series up, plot them, I seem to find this blackhole/apex where BGHK resides. It was perhaps almost as comedic as Sukuran, but didn’t carry the sentiments; the attachment to the characters/setting just doesn’t stick. Odd and sad, but doesn’t negate my opinion that this was a great series, especially considering the premise.

    It’s as eccentric as Yamada herself.

    • I haven’t seen Sukuran nor Hatsukoi Limited, nor do I really plan to, but I get what you’re saying. It’s weird that it’s not rewatchable, but it just isn’t. It’s almost a feeling like I want to like it more than I think I can, which is why I really want the uncensored version, hehe.

      • If you read either of the manga, there’s probably no reason to watch, but if not, Sukuran was a good read. Though, it comes to a fail end. Forgivable for the journey, the laughs, and good times. The comedy felt similar to BGHK, although the context was quite different… maybe it’s the duration. I’d really have to start following the Yamada manga to know :3

        • I watched the first ep of it a couple years ago and didn’t get into it at all. I wondered if I’d given up too easily since No Name was a big fan of it, but then my easily-impressed little brother gave up just as easily and I wondered if I’d been justified. I’m not totally uninterested in watching it but… not that interested.

  5. First off you should watch School Rumble. It’s the only series that I think I laughed at more than Gintama. (though not necessarily harder)

    As for my BgataHkei feelings…something about this season has made it very difficult for me to judge which show I like better than another. In that way it has also made it hard to judge how much I like a show. I enjoyed BgataHkei. That is honestly the best way I can quantify it. I thought the jokes were fresh…at first…towards the end it seemed to get less funny to me. For one thing thinking about the boob jokes they were original at first. The B floats out behind yamada’s back and she punches it. She refers to Kosuda’s childhood friend as F-cup. Then they started going down the route of “he won’t like my small breasts blah blah blah”. I’m not sure, maybe in my mind it was funny when she was lamenting the size of her chest but less funny when she was actually comparing herself to larger breasted girls and feeling inadequate because of it. That aspect is a strange flip-flop from her “I have the most perfect gorgeous body” demeanor she showed before. I liked yamada and she had a pretty good rack herself but I’m not sure if I would call her consistent in characterization.

    I was being realistic on twitter about performance anxiety and premature ejaculation. Allow me to be realistic again. One of the signs of childhood sexual abuse is for the person to have strong sexual (compulsive) urges and then when the moment would arrive they withdraw and retreat before or after intercourse with their partner. Of course I yamada’s nervousness about sex (to the extent of getting physically violent) is just a comical exaggeration, right?

    As for the final thing for me, rather than being a factor for how high I rate a show, rewatch value extends from how much I enjoy that show. If I liked it enough it has plenty of rewatch value for me.

    • I want to think that if I like something enough it has rewatch value, but then I think about it – it’s been taking my as long to get through my rewatch list as it took to watch all the shows in the first place, which is something like years, because it’s still mixed with other shows I haven’t seen. I like BGHK enough that I could rewatch it, but realistically, will I want to? Will it happen? Won’t I rewatch a few years of other things before I’d bother, if I’d bother?

      I didn’t find Yamada inconsistent… did you watch it weekly? There could be something different because I watched it all at once. Maybe Yamada was sexually abused. Why doesn’t she live with her parents? Why is her middle school sister so promiscuous? Hmmmm…..

      • yeah I watched it weekly. I was thinking just as the show ended it’d probably better as a marathon.

        I thought they had some throwaway excuse about her grandmother that attributed to her desire for so many sex partners…or am I thinking of Chu-bra and the underwear obsession?

          • I find it kinda funny that the thing demanding clarification here would be why the hell a teenager is so obsessed with sex, I’m not saying Yamada’s stance is over-the-top, but all I’m saying is that you could do a lot worse in terms of believability.

  6. Most of my re-watch value comes from wanting to watch shows with my wife. I tend to gauge whether or not I think she’ll find it interesting. While I laughed my ass off to Sukuran, she did not, so I failed that. I loved Utena, it became her favorite anime. You win some, you lose some. I’m usually on target…more often than not.

    That said, I’m not planning to show her this one. I’ve explained the premise, and she’s just not up to it. But, I watched the first episode and just didn’t enjoy it that much, and ended up quite enjoying the show. So who knows…maybe I’ll get her to try it, maybe she’ll be surprised, and maybe I’ll just be bored out of my tree when I do see it again. For now I’ll just bask in the afterglow.

    • My wife and I usually wait for each other when there’s a remote chance we’ll both want to watch an anime. It makes for a fun dynamic, because it strong-arms us into both watching stuff we might not want to watch. The one show I wish I was watching with her is Angel Beats, because I think neither of us can really enjoy it without watching it together (a downside to watching anime with your spouse can be that it’s just not the same without them sometimes).

      She lost interest in B Gata early on, but only recently freed me from having to finish Maid-sama. Since I already suffered (well, slept) through Kimi ni Todoke last season, that means I have some leverage to choose what we watch next.. unfortunately that means finding something that won’t also annoy me.

      • Maybe the reverse is also true. Maybe you’d like KnT and Maid sama if you could watch them alone. I’ve been digging maid sama since it started on an upswing after I nearly dropped it. Kimi ni Todoke…was…a chore except for the Urumi arc. The bully arc nearly made me drop the show in disgust.

        • Yeah, both halves can be true for me. Generally I have more fun with a group if they are into it, but if they aren’t, it just gets boring and we stop.

          I dropped Kimi ni Todoke after 1 ep. Noto’s fucking voice drove me nuts.

  7. It’s like all the past romantic comedy shows, wherein they hit the spot, leave you with that, and then disappear in the shadows. Rewatch value? What’s that? Is it edible?

    Still, it’s nice to point out that you can see a few things you don’t usually see, like what you pointed out about Noto’s rendition of Takeshi’s elder sister. We definitely saw a different Noto there, and that makes me quite happy.

  8. Pingback: 2010 Anime Review | My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s