The best character in this anime: the main female protagonist.
The waiting for the inaugural ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title winner ends today with my review of B gata H kei, the 10th title in the audition. Frankly speaking, it doesn’t really meet my lofty expectations that made me put this anime as the finale in the audition in the first place. Anyway, this anime is not that bad, but its eventual scoring means that the first winner of the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title will not have a perfect 10 out of 10 score. Working!! and Durarara!! are the two front-runners with similar 9 out of 10 scores, and one of them will take the title at the end of this post.
Which one of them? Read on!
Quoted For Truth!
The beautiful main female protagonist, with the awesome name of ‘Yamada’, starts her high school life aiming to complete the epic mission of sleeping with 100 different guys. As we all know, all long and difficult journeys began with one simple step forward as she made the unassuming main male protagonist her first conquest, but oh boy did she has a lot of obstacles doing just that!
The main storyline isn’t exactly original, almost below average in quality and utterly predictable; the plot is a cross between a certain arc in the josei manga Girlfriend and a hentai OVA I have watched a long time ago which title I cannot recall at the moment. Nevertheless, despite the main female protagonist’s virtuous ambitions, this anime is just a romantic comedy at its very core, just like ANN’s tags told you. The two things that make up for this anime’s weak storyline are the character strength of the main female protagonist (this fact is important, and will be explained below) and to a lesser extent, the humor.
The main female protagonist is one of the better tsundere characters out there, at least she is not obnoxious enough to make me wanting to kill her unlike her counterparts in Hayate no Gotoku and Zero no Tsukaima series. Ironically, despite the main female protagonist’s noble endeavors, she comes across more as a funny character than a perverted one. Combined with fact that she is a tsundere that is also bloody single-minded at doing everything, these facts makes her a very powerful and interesting character that makes me wanting to see more and more of her as the series went on. I’ll repeat it again, the main female protagonist is a very powerful and interesting character (and beautiful too) that more than makes up for the blandness of the main storyline.
And this anime will need all the help it can get from her because she was paired with a very weak main male protagonist. This is a reverse of what happened in Hayate no Gotoku, where the relatively strong main title male protagonist (this anime’s main female protagonist is still better though) was paired with a weak and de-evolving tsundere main female protagonist. The similarity between the main male protagonist of this anime and the Hayate no Gotoku tsundere borders on the eerie, and made even starker with the fact that the former has 12 episodes to destroy himself while the latter can take it slow with 50 episodes or so. His indecisiveness grates me, but what kills him is that as the series goes on, his lack of modesty was eventually exposed. In fact, at the end of this anime, he is probably more perverted than the main female protagonist herself. Perverted, yet indecisive. Now that’s a suicidal combination, if you ask me.
The worst character in this anime: the main male protagonist.
This anime could do with a main male protagonist like Moroboshi ‘Darling’ Ataru, whose perverted tendencies is actually one of his big assets. He would also made short work out of the main female protagonist though, turning this anime from a TV series into an OVA or something. And that would be a bad thing.
The humor is another aspect of this anime that helps mitigate the weakness in the main storyline, but it doesn’t have the same standalone mechanism unlike the humors in other anime titles, such as Working!! or Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. In this anime, the humor is bound to the hips of the main storyline (with little effects) and also of the main female protagonist’s instead of being allowed to stand out by itself without any context whatsoever. The quality of the humor in this anime is not that spectacular (inferior even to what you can see in the aforementioned Working!! and Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu) but the single biggest contribution it has done for this anime is to help define and shape the main female protagonist into a funny tsundere character, strengthening her character even more. This anime could have benefited more from a properly executed comedy gigs, as seen in the two titles mentioned above, but I settle for it being used for character reinforcements.
Returning to the story, this anime has an average start for the first half (which takes up one whole school year) because the story focused only on the two main protagonists most of the time. Things looks more promising in the second half of this anime as it seems that the writers has decided to inject additional characters into the storyline, mostly as the rivals for the main female protagonist. But in the end, whoever wrote the story decides that making the main female protagonist facing intense rivalries is not a good thing, and the anime reverts back to what you can see in the anime’s first half. This then lead up to the utterly boring and predictable ending, which may or may not lead to a second season (I think it will be the latter). The flow of the storyline in this anime is just average, and the pacing being haphazard, mainly because the anime straddles the calendar year very indiscriminately.
Character development in this anime is mixed bag, with the main female protagonist being the best character of them all, by a million miles. And as mentioned above, the main male protagonist is the worse of the bunch. The two rivals of the main female protagonist would have benefited greatly if only they can have more airtime and more stabs at the storyline. And for the others such as the main female protagonist’s best friend, they have done their job impeccably as the side characters that they are.
The main female protagonist in 'seek and destroy' mode.
This anime’s character designs are good overall, especially for the main male protagonist (probably only his positive attribute). The design for the main female protagonist could have been better, because her best friend and a couple of her classmates looks more beautiful than her. This makes her status as the school idol looks questionable. Black hairs are rare for recurring characters, except for the main male protagonist (see what I mean?) while other colors are extremely popular, like auburn.
The main female protagonist was helped by the fact that one of her rivals has some mental retardation problems.
Voice acting in this anime is patchy in general, but as expected, the main female protagonist has done really well in this department. But here I want to draw your attention to the main female protagonist’s maroon-haired rival, whose voice acting gig is on another level entirely. Her creepy laugh is on the same level as Moroboshi ‘Darling’ Ataru is, plus the voice actress is really skillful at depicting the multiple personalities that her character has. A positive aspect for this anime.
Meanwhile, her other rival for a place inside the main male protagonist's pants is more formidable. That's maybe why the writer doesn't give her more airtime, else she would have kicked the main female protagonist’s ass.
The OST of this anime is good, but not so for the OP/ED themes.
Animation quality in this anime is decent even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography in this non-action anime is non-existent. The director failed mostly on controlling the haphazard pacing of this anime and also at keeping the flow of the storyline smooth. If you do not know better, you would have thought that this anime is an episodic title, where any given episode is independent from each other.
The main male protagonist's older sister is a sad panda after seeing her brother de-evolved through the course of the series.
6 out of 10. Not as good as the two front-runners in the audition at the end.
With this, the two front-runners for the inaugural winner of this blog’s ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ are Durarara!! and Working!!, both scoring 9 out of 10 scores. Things would have been easier for me if one of the titles in the audition managed to score a perfect score, but alas, that wasn’t meant to happen. Without further ado, by the skin of its teeth, I chose Working!! as the first winner of the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title, mainly because its ending is just slightly better than Durarara!!’s.
At 9 out of 10, Working!! position is not very tenable though, but then again I have not seen any potential challengers for it yet. The 2010 anime titles that is currently in my queue are the second season of K-On!, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Katanagatari and High School of the Dead. From those 4 titles, Katanagatari is probably the only one that can challenge Working!! for the title. I also has high hopes for Bakuman and The World God Only Knows in the future. In fact, the manga version of the latter is one of the two manga titles I followed religiously (the other one being Umi no Misaki – won’t be animated soon I think). If The World God Only Knows can follow the source material the way Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood does, it has a very good chance at winning the title.
Usually I don't collect DVD/Blu-ray version of any given anime I have watched, especially if I already have a HDTV version, but I will make an exception for this title.