First Episode. First Impressions. One Shot: Hajimete no Gal
You only get one shot. If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped.
So, did Hajimete no Gal impressed me on its first episode? Absolutely not!
I had to straight dropped this disrespectful-to-the-source-material trash in under eight minutes. It’s that horrible. However, I figure I’d watch the episode in full. I wanted to thoroughly explain why I don’t like this anime. Plus, I need to confirm my theory that it’ll be garbage overtime.
First off, the opening scene is a panty shot. No warnings, explanations, or buildup leading us to why we’re seeing Yukana’s crotch on the screen. Nope. Just straight up panty shot. To me, that’s just NAZ saying that they’re lacking confidence in the success of their adaption. If using a panty shot as the opening scene is a way to hook the viewers in, then your anime is going to suck.
The manga didn’t open up with a panty shot. The first pages were just Junichi groveling on the ground at the feet of Yukana, with his head lowered in shame. There was a panty shot towards the end of the chapter, but it was directed so that it made sense that. Junichi caught a peep of her panties from the angle of his position. The opening shot of the anime didn’t give that information or sense of direction. That’s why it was off putting.
Next is the gosh darn annoying opening animation song and animation. The song, “The First Season”, sounds like some generic, entry level weeaboo J-Pop music that you’d normally hear on some weird Japanese-only rhythm game. For example, that Project Diva game that lonely spaz ass weebs play at anime cons. It’s easily forgettable, and could be passed off as a theme song for any other generic romantic-comedy anime.
The OP animation gives off the impression that series might be directed as a harem, as three others girls are introduced: A bubbly, cute, yet graceless chubby girl, a tanned gyaru (who may be the Yukana’s best friend or something), and a graceful, modest girl (whom we can assume is either popular, or has high status, given she’s surrounded by many peers).
Excellent. Not only did that unnecessary panty shot didn’t help anyone who may be skeptical about Hajimete no Gal, the OP is an extra strike for anyone (myself included) who hates harem, or overly perverted material in anime with no substance or reason.
(Admittedly, I’m on chapter 5 of the manga, and I’ve yet to encountered the other girls besides Yukana. Junichi and Yukana are already dating, and Yukana likes him. I don’t know what’s with other girls; if they’re further in the manga or what, but I digress.)
While I’m on the subject, the girl’s design looks plain and lazy. Uninspiring even – lacking depth and clues about their personalities. Also, why does each girl (sans the modest looking chick) have large breasts? Not every female character needs large tits my dude. Sigh. The opening animation pisses me off. The opening shot pisses me off. This episode pisses me off. If I were to watch this entire anime, I’ll lose my temper.
With that said, lets examine the rest of episode.
The anime begins similar to the manga; Junichi frets entering the new school year as a kiss-less virgin. His friends, a group of outcast nerds (Shinpei, Keigo, and Minoru) are in the same boat. Together, they make a pact to lose their virginity. Or at the least obtain new girlfriends before the end of the school year.
While Jun will achieve in getting a girlfriend (he’s the main character, he gets the girl first), his crew talks that good game about getting with a chick to smash and date. Mostly smash. Heck any chick is great for them. White chicks. Black chicks. Asian Chicks. Tsundere Chicks. Dandere. Yandere chicks. They’re all free game – even if the chick looks clearly like a loli.
And here is where things goes from bad to just utterly wrong.
I respect the fact that animators and writers must create filler scenes for manga-to-anime adaption. If you directly apadate the manga panel-by-panel without filler, you’re going to have a very short anime. With that said; when did Jun’s crew became a bunch of pedophiles, trying to smash a girl who’s clearly in middle or grade school? In the manga, they were some petty haters; mad at Jun because he got with Yukana. Cool. They’re still assholes in the anime. That ain’t changed.
But lusting after a little girl? Fam, what the hell? Like, after Nene is introduced (way too early mind you), Minoru starts asking and making some rather suspect questions and statements about Nene. I’ll let these screenshots speak for themselves:
Moving forward, The Virgin Brigade (sans Jun) make an unanimous decision to look at porn magazines in class. They drool over the models’ physical attributes, making rather lewd comments about them. Jun is pressured into reading one. He refuses, but gives up and reluctantly accepts one. While reading it, Junichi is startled by Yukana’s disgust towards the group. Junichi clumsily throws the book behind his back, landing at her feet. Jun hurries to recover it, stumbles, and falls near her. She glares downwards towards him and calls him disgusting. Needless to say, Junichi is utterly embarrassed at what has just transpired.
After school, Junichi confronts his friends about the incident. They tell him to chill and to take advantage of the recent situation. Next, they explain to him how easy(going) gyaru are; suggesting to him that he should pursue Yukana. Once again, he is pressured by his friends into another unwanted situation. In fact, his crew wrote a confession letter addressed to Yukana from Junichi’s point of view. He’s understandably pissed but he catches himself and calms down. He fantasizes about smashing Yukana, inspired after gaining a peep at her panties earlier. He figures that if he confesses and luck out, he’ll get to see more than just her panties, and loses his virginity. They slip the letter into Yukana’s locker and wait.
Later, Yukana receives the letter and meets with Junichi after reading it. They two meet up , and Junichi “confesses” – by getting on his knees, lowering his head, and begs her for a date. Yukana is disgusted once again, but starts to laugh and tease him, questions him if the only reason why he wants to date her is so that he could to lose his virginity. Dude starts to (over)think that he screwed up, but regains his confidence as Yukana tells him that she finds him cute and wants to get him know him better. She decides that she wants to go out with him, much to his disbelief.
The episode ends with Junichi shouting in victory at his success. Same as the manga.
To conclude, let me explain why I’m dropping this trash adaption. The extra scenes with Yui (the popular and modest girl) and Nene felt unnecessary. It made me assumed that the series was going to stray far from its manga roots; with Junichi attempting to get with every girl (as opposed to the manga where Junichi only had eyes for Yukana). If I had lacked prior knowledge of the manga. and watched the anime fully blind, seeing that possible harem set-up would had made me drop the show off the OP alone.
I’m that strict.
Then, we have Junichi’s crew. His friends are haters in both the manga and anime. They’re a group of young dudes interested in girls and sex, which is normal. What’s not normal is these dudes wanting to have sex with Nene just because she’s a loli.
Despite my overal harsh criticism, I will say that I appreciate that the animation team accurately animated panels from the manga shot-by-shot such as the guys looking at porn in the classroom, Junichi’s sexual fantasies, and his confession to Yukana.
As for the animation itself, it’s not too terrible. However, it’s not amazing either. There doesn’t seem to be any inconsistent, off models shots (from what I’ve noticed) or anything that would be jarring. Yet, there’s much more to be desired from the visuals, as many shots lack details, as many parts weren’t “animated” (example – the scene were the students are being lovely-dovely should have had arm moves, kissing, etc like Jun’s fantasy with Yukana were she’s slowly undresses herself, lick her lips, teases Jun, etc.)
Overall, Hajimete no Gal isn’t a completely terrible anime, but it’s not great either. Hell, it’s not even good. It feels like an sub-par romantic-comedy anime that could had have a lot going for it; given how amazing the source material is.
Sadly, the adaption falls flat on its ass due to its overused of fanservice, lack of detailed animation, and uninteresting premises that sway far from its source material. Maybe things will get better as the series carries along in the summer season, but from what I’ve been infromed by die hards fans who’ve read further into the manga than I and watched episodes 2 and 3, I shouldn’t have any hopes that the anime will do the manga justice.
On the bright side at least this review and score isn’t as brutal as on my Facebook page:
EDIT: Strong language removed so I can run this post as an ad for Facebook lol