3 Episode Taste Test: B Gata H Kei (B-cup Sex Maniac)

On the face of it, B Gata H Kei has a throughly lamentable premise, one sure to invoke a slow shaking of the head, perhaps only piquing one's interest to understand if it is really as misogynistic as it sounds. It isn't, but still squirms awkwardly around the core premise of a libidinous fifteen year old girl aiming to one day have a hundred sexual partners. The chance to switch-up the lustful male archetype is thoroughly squandered by a protagonist who is overly aggressive and nigh-on unlikable and is coupled with a boy whose potato-like features bely his incapability to connect with anyone but his exhibitionist sister and doe-eyed neighbour. This is apart from the uncomfortable celebration of a newly adolescent girl seeking out sexual gratification and the messages about relationships this underpins.

an angry, air-headed ditz with a fuck-everything attitude but prudish sensibilities, who is chasing a friendless boy who would lose a personality contest with a radiator

Yamada is looking for a someone to take her virginity. Not just anyone however, her mild body dysmorphia regarding her genitals and her rampant imagination have so far prevented her from even having a boyfriend despite her idol good looks. When she bumps into Takashi in a book store, she decides he, a virgin like herself, is the ideal person to start her on her quest for a hundred sexual partners. Takashi of course is entirely oblivious to her overtures and Yamada's often misconstrued advances cause more confusion than copulation. Seeking advice from her friend Miharu, she continually seeks to trick or trap Takashi into having sex with her while simultaneously being thoroughly naive to the concepts and her burgeoning feelings for the dense object of her lust.

What the series, so far at least, fails to understand about the trope it is attempting to lampoon is that despite the obvious desire for sex, most characters display a nugget of their personality that redeems their nature (ignoring obvious parodies such as School Days). It's key to establishing empathy with the protagonist, but Yamada displays no redeemable qualities, instead being portrayed as an interminable, squeaky-voiced lust machine with all the subtlety of a grizzly bear in a abattoir. Instead the pathos is saved for Takashi who is softly spoken, sensitive and clueless - failing to realise he is fondling Yamada's breast a particularly cringe-worthy development; this stops the premise becoming a cross-up and settles back into pedestrian, socially-stunted wish fulfilment. Subsequently this exposes all the other sloppy character tropes: the buxom and uninhibited sister, the busty wallflower doubling as a childhood friend, and the exotic foreigner aimed with laser precision to be the missing vertex in the inevitable love triangle.

Yamada comes across as a one-gag side character who was suddenly thrust into the spotlight and a back story to her lascivious ways hastily bolted on. All of the hooks are present to transform the series from the jiggling nonsense presented in the first three episodes to something more affecting - the confusion of signals from both genders, the role of sex in a young relationship, the pressures of hormones on teenagers. Any and all could have been capitalised upon but instead the protagonist is an angry, air-headed ditz with a fuck-everything attitude but prudish sensibilities, who is chasing a friendless boy who would lose a personality contest with a radiator. The obvious end-game for the series is a realisation by Yamada that she likes Takashi as more than just a cherry-popper and her quest for a hundred partners was misguided; throughout this she sees off the purple-haired foreign rival and the top-heavy clutz of a childhood friend.

B Gata H Kei knows exactly what it wants to be, the problem being that what it wants to be is not particularly great and the possibilities of what it could have been are more enticing. The humour falls flat, the naughtiness is tamely minimal, the characters are unlikable and the plot predictable. What the series has going for it is as superficial as Yamada herself: the animation is clean and likeable despite the character designs which err on the wrong-side of deformed, the voice acting is accomplished barring the grating protagonist and the pace quick thanks to each episode holding two stories. Altogether the first three episodes are staid, tiresome and uninteresting, whether the likelihood of later episodes growing more engaging is slim. Unfortunately the series is as obnoxious as its premise suggests, perhaps not as divisively sexist as it could have been but, similarly, not as exploitative of its rampant opportunities.

Responses to “3 Episode Taste Test: B Gata H Kei (B-cup Sex Maniac)”

Congratulations on giving the best -- and most accurate, really -- translation of the title I have seen. And I basically agree with what you say about the show, too -- although I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it any more if it had taken advantage of its possibilities.
I'm afraid I can't take any credit whatsoever for the title translation, that would have to go to Aroduc; I have very little experience with the Japanese language so couldn't hope to decipher the wordplay involved.

I doubt as well taking advantage of the possibilities would make the series more watchable, it would however drag it out of the den of mediocrity it currently inhabits and make the concept a little less tawdry.
I think the production value and Yamada's act overall sells the show to most people. I think it would be safe to say that hyper-overactive take on adolescent girl madness has its fans, and uh--

"but Yamada dis­plays no redeem­able qual­it­ies, instead being por­trayed as an inter­min­able, squeaky-voiced lust machine with all the sub­tlety of a grizzly bear in a abat­toir."

is probably not giving her fair shake even with just 3 episodes in.
Hmm, perhaps not, I can see how her zany antics would appeal. My point really is that there's no depth to her, not even implied. The only things we know about her is she spends her time either stalking Takashi or planning on how to stalk Takashi. Whereas with him we at least find out some of his hobbies, interests and family life.

I guess I find the lack of propriety in Yamada very distasteful without something else in her character to balance it out. In the first three episodes she was just a comedy cudgel being beaten against Takashi, and not a very funny one I found.
B gata H Kei is clearly a well constructed social commentary on how feminism and modern media have warped the minds of young women. The insidious and ubiquitous feminist message makes girls feel that in order to be liberated they must assert their sexuality by having as many sex partners as possible.

The fact that Yamada is intent on pursuing only virgins is obviously an example of classic role reversal where normally men prey exclusively on female virgins. The creators of B Gata H Kei have done this to highlight the ridiculous premises of feminism (that women should act like men - but without any of the responsibilities or consequences).
I'm not familiar with modern feminist ideals so can't tell whether B Gata H Kei is an erudite commentary on it - considering the original manga is written by a woman this lends credence to it. With regards the "modern media mind warping", I suppose using a medium that's renowned for its naughtiness is somewhat fitting.

I am mostly dubious as to your use of "clearly" and "obviously" to enforce points which are anything but. How the rest of the series pans out however will likely demonstrate if you're right or not.
That's a running gag used whenever there's a discussion about B Gata H Kei. Don't take it seriously.

That said, I dropped it midway through the first episode because it slowly started to become another generic harem-esque show. And I doubt that there will be any sort of depth to warrant such all the boredom I get when watching this.