Home > Episode Reviews > B Gata H Kei Episode 2 – Love/Hate Relationship

B Gata H Kei Episode 2 – Love/Hate Relationship

After coming on a little strong in the first episode…okay, after terrorizing the object of her lust for the entire first episode, Yamada has decided to calm down and take things slowly. Whether she decided that before or after running screaming from his erection is another matter entirely.

Anyway, what this means is that the manic pace of the first episode is gone. Instead of four quick stories, we now have two longer stories that unfold more like a traditional romantic comedy.

Except Yamada is still far too unstable and crazy to be a traditional romantic comedy lead. Kosuda winces in terror at the sight of her, and has to be convinced by Yamada’s friend, Takeshita, to go on a double date with her boyfriend to a water park.

But he finally agrees, if only so he can see Yamada in a swimsuit. Of course, this also means Yamada has full reign of him, forcing him to ride tall waterslides all day because she mistakes his terror-stricken death grip on her for affectionate touching.

Take a guess what this extending camera lens represents

When she finally realizes this, after he accidentally goes down the slide clutching Takeshita’s boyfriend, she gets pouty, because it means he wasn’t really taking the initiative. When the girls get dressed up in yukata (traditional Japanese clothing—there’s some connection between this and fireworks I don’t completely understand) to watch fireworks and he doesn’t compliment her, she gets pouty and runs off.

It’s important to understand something if you didn’t pick up on it earlier: Yamada is not a good person. Every group of friends has That Guy: the person who just doesn’t seem to understand human social conventions and won’t think about anybody but themselves. Yamada is That Guy.

What kind of water park has this sign on its ladies' room?

Takeshita’s boyfriend seems to understand that (his girlfriend certainly does), but he gets that Kosuda likes her, or at least wants to sleep with her, so, being the older and more mature of the two, he tells her to embrace her without saying a word. Kosuda, of course, can’t even do that without making an awkward mess of it, but at least he’s made his feelings clear.

So Yamada’s on cloud 9. Kosuda melts every time she flashes him a smile; it would almost be cute if this made her interested in anything other than whether this was the right time to jump his bones. To prepare, she buys condoms, which the show, strangely enough, censors, so that every time a character says it, it comes out “cond**s”. I think it might be some kind of joke—after all, anyone watching anime at 1 am on a Thursday is no longer young or impressionable enough to be scarred by the word “condom”—but if it is, I don’t get it.

I almost made this the image at the top of the post, but I was worried about having a smiling teenage girl holding condoms at the top of my site

But this wouldn’t be much of a show if there wasn’t something else to come between the young lusters, so it’s revealed that there’s another young girl who fancies Kosuda. After Yamada and Takeshita do some late night stalking, the girl is revealed to be Mayu Miyano, Kosuda’s childhood friend.

Upset that Kosuda might fall for a girl who isn’t an awkward narcissist, Yamada is determined to bully Miyano into giving up on Kosuda. Because she’s timid and doesn’t like conflict, she ends up encouraging her instead.

Yamada is not a good person

The most dangerous part about giving Yamada a rival is that I’d rather the rival win. Miyano is an idiot, thinking that all Kosuda is interested is food because that’s the only way they interact. She clearly has no clue whatsoever how to relate to the opposite sex, but neither does anyone else in the show except Takeshita and her beau. That’s kind of the point: part of the crippling awkwardness of teenage romance is that it invariably happens with people that seem completely alien and incomprehensible.

Miyano is sweet and good-natured in that cloying way that seems to be the apex of Japanese femininity. She’s kind of cute but otherwise unremarkable. In short, she’s perfect for Kosuda.

The show's bizarre fixation on bra cup size continues

And the people making B Gata H Kei are pretty clearly aware of this. They also know that Yamada is an unlikeable narcissist who has no positive qualities save good looks. I wouldn’t have it any other way—it’s why the show is a laugh-out loud riot even on the second or third viewing instead of the lame mess most anime “comedies” become—but it’s obviously creating tension with the part of the show that wants to be a romantic comedy.

I have a feeling the more the Yamada and Kosuda’s relationship develops, the more apparent and jarring the tension is going to become. It’s a problem the show is eventually going to have to resolve, either by making Yamada grow as a person, or by Kosuda realizing that, as a matter of fact, he could do better than Yamada.

Yamada's smile is Super Effective

Either option is pretty ballsy for a gag comedy. I’m more worried that the show’s creators will keep it in a sitcom eternity, prolonging the inevitable resolution for so long that I stop caring. Or maybe I’ll realize that it doesn’t matter, and what does matter is that B Gata H Kei is still hilarious.

The reason why I haven’t spent more time talking about exactly why it’s funny is that it’s hard to explain in text. The show is a whirlwind of sight gags, super-deformed characters delivering exasperated punch lines and one-liners It’s a peculiarly Japanese kind of humor—very fourth-wall breaking, with jokes delivered by characters who aren’t even in the scene, and relentlessly silly—the kind that usually has me rolling my eyes rather than laughing, but this show manages to sell it, mostly by being utterly ridiculous.

The BL stands for Boys' Love, from the background image. The transitions usually have BH, from the show's title

Either way, I’m glad to see that B Gata H Kei managed to retain the energy that made the first episode so funny. I’m still worried it will run out of steam by the end of 13 episodes, but if it can balance the antics of its unlikeable protagonist with its desire to turn her into a romantic comedy heroine, I think it might just make it.

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