Beauty and the Virgin
- Episodes : 10
- Genre : Comedy, Romance, Ecchi
- Airing Date : Jul. 2017 - Sept. 2017
- Producers : NAZ
Hajimete no Gal Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
Ah, first love. It’s special. It’s meaningful. It can even hurt. That may be exactly what the creators of the Hajimete no Gal anime were trying to convey with this adaptation, and it may have been successful, for all the wrong reasons.
Typical average MC Hashiba Junichi gets riled up by his three buddies to go confess to the pretty, delinquent girl in their class. The other boys want to use this poor sap as a Trojan horse to lead them to losing their virginities by first getting close to her, and then having her introduce them to her delinquent friends. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for Junichi, the girl in question, Yame Yukana, is nothing like they imagined. She’s kind, sweet, and actually very thoughtful. She sees through Junichi’s lame attempt to ask her out, but she doesn’t reject him. She instead decides to go out with him earnestly, which is far more than this loser deserves.
Thus begins this unusual love story that doesn’t even get off on the wrong foot, as the protagonist wasn’t even standing when he confessed. While Junichi may be a rational thinking individual, the peer pressure of his friends and his own cowardice are going to get in the way of his ultimate goal of having his very first girlfriend. If he manages to act like a decent human being for long enough, he may just get what he was searching for all along.
What We Liked About Hajimete no Gal
There’s not much to say here. Yukana is a sweet, cute girl. The one strength compared to the manga adaptation is her voice actress. She comes off as a lot cuter and sweeter than she did in the manga, even when she is angry. It kind of makes it feel more meaningful when Junichi is being somewhat of an ass or doubting her intentions because of his own insecurities, which, for the plot’s purposes, works rather well.
The inner monologues Junichi has and the arguments with himself are also a bit funny. He has his serious side, his lewd side, and then his manliest, most perfect side, all arguing about how to woo her in his head. It can be pretty funny at times, when it’s not overstaying its welcome.
Having the manga, several of the biggest changes in the adaptation irked us greatly. The manga wasn’t some great work of art mind you, or some fantastic love story. It was pretty low-brow, lowest common denominator, harem ecchi, light reading. That kind of makes it all the more painful that the anime took so many liberties with story and characters at numerous points.
The plot of the anime goes further than the released manga adaptation has gone, so manga readers will be playing catch up. This isn’t so bad in and of itself, especially when some events were actually interesting. The issue comes with the series’ pacing. At only 10 episodes, the show still has many scenes which drag on for too long. Some of these scenes are directly adapted from the manga, but many are brand new. Many of these scenes expand on background characters like Junichi’s three friends, which actually is a detriment to the show.
Why You Should Watch Hajimete no Gal
1. Yame Yukana is a Sweetheart
There’s a longstanding myth in Japan of the so called “gyaru” type delinquent girl. They typically have dark, tanned skin, fake nails, fake hair, fake eyelashes. They will sleep with anyone for money, and are generally people you don’t want to associate with. Based on her appearance and some rumors, Junichi and his friends believe Yukana to be someone that falls inside this archetype.
Despite her appearances, she isn’t like the rumors at all. She’s a very sweet and kind girl, who is rather intelligent. She decides to date Junichi out of a mix of pity and finding him too pathetically cute to ignore. Despite his less-than-genuine intentions, she herself was earnest in choosing him. Even though she has a bright and outgoing nature, she is shy and reserved about love and meeting boys. I guess you could say she is the ultimate “gap moe”, in that she looks slutty but is entirely pure and innocent.
2. Gratuitous Gyaru Ecchi Scenes
The animation team definitely knew what type of show they were going for with Hajimete no Gal. There are many ecchi scenes that involve the wild fantasies of Junichi imagining Yukana in a number of lewd scenarios. Several of the scenes would feel more at home in an actual hentai than something you might find on Crunchyroll, so they’ve seriously pushed the boundaries on what you might expect to see televised. Gyaru girls are a bit of a rare sight to behold in anime, so for fans of them this is definitely an anime to check out.
Why You Should Skip Hajimete no Gal
1. Most of the Scenes Drag On
Even at only ten episodes, the show feels like its scenes completely overstay their welcome. It feels entirely like filler, as most scenes develop so slowly that the entire point of them doesn’t really appear until the final 30 seconds. Usually featuring the background or side characters speaking with Junichi, there will be scenes that have them discussing anything but the main point for a good five minutes. This is a very odd contrast to the manga, which had dozens of short chapters that felt rushed more than anything.
This includes the ecchi scenes. While it totally makes sense for an ecchi comedy to have them, they are so randomly interjected throughout an episode that it doesn’t deliver any entertainment at even a basic level. Depending on how you’re watching the series, there may be an overabundance of censorship or not. It really doesn’t make much difference, most of the scenes feel like they have fallen flat with Junichi’s imagination running wild.
2. Junichi’s Friends Are The Worst
Due to their own cowardice, Junichi’s friends forced him to ask Yukana out so that they could lose their virginities to her gyaru friends. Throughout the series, they attempt to push them together or break them up when it serves their purposes. The brains of the operation, Sakamoto Shinpei, often orchestrates situations to the other two’s benefits. These include the somewhat normal Ishida Keigo, as well as the obscene, fat, lolicon Kobayakawa Minoru. The latter of which is one of the worst characters I’ve ever seen in anime. He constantly tries to approach children in all of his scenes, and the anime tries to make light of his pedophilia in some incredibly tasteless ways.
As a manga reader, these three losers weren’t prominent at all in the series before the anime adaptation. They didn’t scheme this much, they acted as typical jealous friends in any harem ecchi comedy, always making the protagonist seem more normal by being completely off. The changes that the anime has given them makes them some of the worst characters you will watch this season. Even when they finally attempt to “redeem” themselves in the series finale, it’s far too late. Acting like decent friends in the last 8 minutes of the series doesn’t make up for a season’s worth of cringe-worthy antics. If for nothing else, I would advise you avoid watching this just to keep from seeing these three. They don’t do anything positive, and they kill any momentum an episode has every time they appear.
3. Plot Changes Are Inconsistent
Aside from Junichi’s three male friends, the biggest change is the introduction of his childhood friend, Fujinoki Nene. In the manga, she had moved away during their younger years and did not return until Junichi and Yukana had already begun dating. Thus, it made sense as to why Junichi, who was ready to confess to anything female with a pulse, did not approach his busty and affectionate childhood friend before risking it on the potentially dangerous class gyaru. The anime has her being a little sister type right off the bat, a much shorter girl than she was drawn in the manga, and thus making it impossible for Junichi to see her as a woman. It’s one of many changes that affect the overall story of the series compared to the manga.
It’s hard to really pinpoint how much better or worse this would have been if they’d stuck to a direct manga adaptation. They might have tried and found it didn’t work. From what we watched and read, we can say that the anime was several times worse than the manga.
Although I was very surprised when it was announced that Hajimete no Gal was getting an anime adaptation to begin with, it didn’t strike me as a series that had enough going for it to deliver one, but I never imagined it’d feel this forced. Even as the sacrificial, seasonal, ecchi comedy, it doesn’t quite deliver, and just ends up feeling hollow. But depending on your tastes, and whether or not you’ve read the manga, you may enjoy it nonetheless.