OP: 「はじめてのSEASON」(Hajimete no SEASON) by 純情のアフィリア (Junjou no Afilia)
「はじめての土下座」 (Hajimete no Dogeza)
“My First Time Begging for It”
Of course, you couldn’t call me Zaiden if I didn’t wait for the uncensored release. Having read the manga, I actually have no idea what needed to be censored, but I sure as heck ain’t complaining!
I actually found Junichi’s friends quite funny. Over the top reactions aside, they seem horribly out of touch with society at large without realising it. Who reads porn magazines during class registration?!? I can understand why people would dislike them. But if you consider things from a holistic viewpoint, it wouldn’t have been possible for Junichi (Asanuma Shintaro) and Yame (Nagaku Yuki) to have gotten together without their insistence that he ask her out. So they have served their purpose in driving the plot, where ordinarily our protagonist could never have gathered the courage. Not to mention, they were never supposed to be taken seriously anyway. As far as I am concerned, the doutei squad are just a bunch of joke characters caricatured as always having sexual matters on their mind, occasionally used to instigate plot progression where needed. More importantly, it highlights the social background from which Junichi comes from, helping explain many of the unfavourable characteristics we initially see in him. Including his completely rubbish confession.
That look of disgust from Yame sums it up, and what a glare it was. From rampant sexual fantasies, to peeking at Yame’s panties and then asking her out, I don’t know who else cringed because I most certainly did. More because I was taken back to my middle school days, since it usually takes a show like Watamote to make me cringe hard out of nowhere. Nothing sexual, I was too young and innocent for that. Something about proposing on one knee with a can of soft drink in hand, and getting turned down. Putting my past experiences behind, I actually didn’t think the dogeza was too bad. But I would say he was fairly self aware and had gone in with the mindset ‘Que sera sera‘ – ‘Whatever will be, will be’. I bet even he didn’t expect that he would fluke his way to having his confession accepted, so you can’t really fault him for desperately going full YOLO #SWAG, for lack of a better description. If you never ask you’ll never get, so credit where it is due for actually confessing in the first place, even if the intentions were somewhat questionable.
Junichi starts off as a seemingly irredeemable loser, asking out a supposedly easy girl for the shallow reason of wanting to lose his virginity. But expect him to slowly change for the better through his relationship with Yame, as he comes to realise certain things about himself and others.
While I wasn’t too keen on certain aspects of the adaptation, such as their decision to introduce Nene (Ogura Yui) and Ranko (Kitamura Eri) really early on, I can understand why they would want to market Hajimete no Gal as a harem show. But if that’s the case, I feel like the production team have missed the point. The focus of the show is meant to be shared between Junichi and Yame, with the other girls generally taking a backseat, or used as tools for the sake of advancing the relationship of our main couple. Of course, fanservice should be sprinkled here and there, but it shouldn’t be so obtrusive so as to detract from the viewing experience regardless of how tasteful it was. Nene’s character design being a victim, her proportions becoming even more exaggerated than before, going from ero-kawaii to straight up absurd.
I’m mainly concerned about the direction we’re going in terms of how Yame is depicted as a character. The anime seems to be pushing an agenda where she’s slutty, even beyond Junichi’s delusions. From my perspective, the manga was angling for a cute and playful girl getting slightly embarrassed herself from all the teasing. Maybe it’s just me but I actually reckoned it hinted towards inexperience on her part, despite constantly referring to Junichi as a virgin in a derogatory way. Nevertheless, I felt none of this could stop the best of Yame’s features shining through. Her amazing sassiness and non-stop teasing of Junichi make this show so entertaining in spite of all its flaws. To be honest, I have little hopes for the fanservice and harem aspects being dialled down upon, because you know those things sell like hotcakes in today’s market. But I would still be happy to watch through to the end, because I personally really like the manga.
ED: 「ギャルチックラブ」 (GAL-tic Love) by エラバレシ (Erabareshi)