Tag Archives: romance

Hajimete no Gal Episode 5 Review

The final member of the harem (maybe?) gets their own feature episode. This week it is Nene, Junichi’s disproportionate  childhood friend. At the end of the previous episode, they showed someone getting a complete gyaru makeover, and as it turns out it was Nene!

nene as a gal hajimete no gal

Nene gets the gal makeover to try to win Junichi over, since it seems everyone is under the impression that he has a gal fetish. To be honest, she is my least favorite character so far. So I really didn’t care much for her backstory or honestly anything that had to do with her in this episode.

aint nobody got time for that hajimete no gal.JPG
I feel like the translators for the subtitles took a few creative liberties with this one.

This episode was pretty average for me, as nothing particularly stood out. So I don’t have any insightful things to say about. Though I was a fan of Junichi’s monologue about war, which was accompanied by various artworks depicting war, except the characters from the artworks were replaced with Hajimete no Gal characters. It was a nice added touch, I felt.

why does war exist hajimete no gal
Asking the deep questions in a not-so-deep anime.
why cant junichi get a girlfriend hajimete no gal.JPG
Well, Junichi isn’t Seiya Toudoin, that’s for sure.

I’m hoping the next episode will be more about Yame and Junichi’s relationship, and less about these otherwise irrelevant background characters.

thats all folks.JPG
They ended this episode this way, so it’s only fair I end my review this way.
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Hajimete no Gal Episode 4 Review

In every harem it seems, each character involved in the harem gets an episode of exposition to flesh out their character. This time it is the seemingly quiet and soft-spoken class representative, Yui Kashii.

yui kashii hajimete no gal.JPG
The consensus on r/anime is that she is”best girl,” but I don’t know about that.

But of course, her personality on the outside differs greatly from what she truly is. Coined a “serious gal” by Junichi’s four-eyed friend, Kashii is actually an online gal cam girl-esque streamer by night who makes sure to not let anyone know of her gal personality. She also believes the world revolves around her, and becomes quite the pain in the neck if things don’t go her way.

perv friend hajimete no gal.JPG
The “perv friend” discovering Kashii’s online gal stream.

Kashii also views Junichi as her dog who should only be loyal to her, and views his relationship with Yame as something interfering with his loyalty.

junichi as a dog hajimete no gal.JPG
Doggy Junichi.

This episode toned down the lewd and raunchiness a bit (though it wasn’t completely absent), which was rather refreshing. The comedy was on point in this episode as well. But man, with each episode that passes, Junichi’s friends get crazier and crazier.

supreme gentlemen hajimete no gal.JPG
This is the kind of picture I’d pay to have painted and hung up in my house. It’s so pseudo dramatic that it’s silly.

The lolicon friend in particular made a joke that may or may not have suggested luring children with a “free candy” van.

the free candy van hajimete no gal.JPG

They also seem to be testing Junichi’s loyalty and love for Yame, which I suppose can count as progress in their relationship.

kashii sans emotional confession hajimete no gal.JPG
Kashii’s heated confession of love (and a master-dog relationship) to Junichi.

One of the better episodes so far, but still no Yame and Junichi centered episodes since the karaoke episode. And based on the next episode’s preview, it looks like we might have to wait a bit longer for one. So until then, I’ll be eagerly awaiting some Yame x Junichi progress.

Konbini Kareshi Episode 5 Review

August is this episode’s title, which makes me happy since my birthday is in August! +10 points for Gryffindor to anyone who figures it out.

Anyways, in this episode Haruki and Miharu’s relationship progress takes a backseat to Towa and Mami’s relationship. And man is there a lot of change progress here!

Towa and Haruki at national sports meet konbini kareshi.JPG

The episode starts with the four main characters at a sports festival competition. Towa declares it a “date” as thanks for helping Mami with the three-legged race at last week’s episode’s sports festival. Though it seems Mami is still as apprehensive as ever when dealing with Towa during this double date.

mihashi on the phone with towa konbini kareshi.JPG
Mami has a ton of shoujo manga!

The obligatory anime fireworks festival is also coming up soon, to which Towa invites Mami to for a more serious date. However, she declines his invitation.

harukia cheering up towa konbini kareshi.JPG
Haruki cheering Towa up after his initial rejection.

By coincidence, Towa runs into Miharu after soccer practice and gets advice about Mami. Miharu tells him that Mami actaully does like him, but is trying to deny it. And that her saying she hates him is what characters in a shoujo manga do (go figure). So through one last ditch effort, and with a little help from Miharu, Towa goes to Mami’s house to tell her how he really feels.

Towa confessing to Mami konbini kareshi.JPG
A confession at episode 5? So early! This is unprecedented!

Fireworks, both literally and metaphorically, fly during the confession! It seems to go well, as the closing scene is what looks like Towa and Mami kissing. And based on next week’s episode preview, it looks like we get to see them doing cute couple stuff! So I’m excited.

This has by far been one of my favorite episodes of the show simply because so much happens. While it may not be much progress with our main two characters, Towa and Mami’s story is equally important. And I am also a fan of shows not waiting until the last 3 minutes of the very last episode to have the characters declare their love for each other. And at that point, nothing else can be done about it! So it is nice to see things happening much sooner.

Also, this episode had made use of some pretty dope split screen scenes:

mihashi on the phone with towa 2 konbini kareshi.JPG
One for Towa’s initial rejection over the phone.
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And another for Haruki and Miharu during the fireworks display. Also maybe some symbolism as to the start of Towa and Mami’s relationship? 

I’m happy to see the plot actually going somewhere. I was definitely skeptical at the start, since only real premise they gave was about a convenience store. But I can 100% say that at this point this show is a must watch for shoujo romance lovers out there. And an extra bonus if you enjoy real plot progress. Now I am only hoping that Haruki and Miharu’s romance reaches an even more satisfying climax!

Konbini Kareshi Episode 4 Review

Konbini Kareshi continues to impress me with its simple, yet accurate portrayal of high school love and romance. With an added convenience store focus, no less!

Haruki eating Karage kun.JPG
They even included my favorite character eating my favorite konbini snack: Kara age-kun! While basically just chicken nuggets, they have a bunch of different flavors and are only at Lawson, the best konbini!

The pacing of each episode is just right to me. You can actually feel progress that doesn’t just get pushed back to square one at the end of each episode. But it doesn’t move too fast, that way it can keep you wanting more. All too often shows make no progress until the last episode, in which case it just ends up fizzling off into an unsatisfying climax. Or the climax happens at episode 3, and you are just bored for the remaining episodes. But I’m getting the feeling that that won’t be the case with Konbini Kareshi, as each episode brings the characters closer than they were previously.

Though this is only the fourth episode, so it may be too early to draw conclusions on how impactful I think the climax will be. We’ll just have to see!

Haruki and Mashiki laughing konbini kareshi.JPG
These two look cute laughing together!

In regards to the actual content of the episode, we finally get to see the sports festival that everyone has been working hard on. Honda and Mami are entered in the three-legged race together, much to Mami’s dismay, Haruki continues to help the student council, and Miharu makes “good luck” charms for everyone.

Honda and Mami running.JPG
Training for the three-legged race.

Honda and Mami make a lot of progress with each other during this time. I think Mami has actually started to tolerate Honda! Judging by how she acted with him, it looks like she is even enjoying his company.

Konbini Kareshi sports festival clothes
I dig the amount of outfits and designs each character has. The gym clothes+headband look is pretty good on them.

Haruki and Miharu make a little bit less progress this time around, but not without ending on a cute scene with them both being trapped in the rain. It seems as though Miharu had an umbrella she could have used to get out, but instead stayed under the shelter with Haruki, as to stay with him and talk a bit longer. If only my high school life had been filled with such cute and romantic clichés!

I’m very happy with how things are going so far. If I have any complaints, it would be that I don’t quite understand the purpose of the side characters that they feel the need to keep pushing. They are thrown in at random times where it seems like they may be important, but then you don’t see them again for episodes at a time. Though really not a big deal at this point in the season. So long as they have some role in the end goal of the show, I think it’ll be fine.

Hajimete no Gal Episode 3 Review

Now that they’ve established the main character’s relationship, we are starting to delve into the side characters’ purpose. This episode we learn more about the oddly shaped and overly spray-tanned gyaru Ranko.

youre a virgin am I right.JPG
Apparently everyone can sniff out people’s virginity in this show. Add that to the list of useless super powers.

Ranko is Yame’s childhood friend from elementary school. Junichi gets well acquainted with Ranko right off the bat. If you catch my drift. Fortunately, she seems to just be teasing Junichi and “testing” him and his loyalty to Yame. After this, Yame suggests that the three of them all hang out together on their next day off. And so begins a montage of typical date activities!

Hajimete no Gal Bowling.JPG
I always get excited when there are bowling scenes in anime. Even if just for a few seconds!

Also I’d like to point out that Junichi was wearing a shirt with cherries on it during the date.”Cherry boy” is a euphemism for virgin in a lot of anime (Kosuda from Yamada’s First Time comes to mind as someone always called a “cherry boy”). So I think Hajimete no Gal is trying to tell us something about Junichi.

Junichi cherry boy shirt hajimete no gal.JPG
The cherry boy’s admirable words.

This episode seems to have brought out some actual plot into the mix. There was a scene where some hoodlums were incessantly hitting on Yame, and Junichi tries to stand up to them. While failing, it seems to show that he actually has some non-lusty feelings for her. So maybe this is actually the 2017 version of Yamada’s First Time after all? The rom-com shenanigans and lack of actual sexual activity seems to suggest that. Which is honestly fine by me.

strength to protect yame san hajimete no gal.JPG
It’s no longer just about sex to him. Progress!

While a little raunchy, I am enjoying Hajimete no Gal so far. It seems to be different take on your average rom-com, which is always nice to see. Though I still can’t get over the ginormous breasts on almost all of the girl characters. It is a little (very) over the top, to say the least. But if you don’t let that bother you, I think this can be a good show for those of you craving an ecchi romantic comedy this season.

Konbini Kareshi Episode 3 Review

Things start moving a bit slower this episode, as it seems they are starting to introduce a lot of the side characters that they have periodically shown during montages and OP scenes.

The big question of the hour comes when Towa sees Miharu talking to another boy at the hospital. He, the “quick to jump to conclusions person” that he is, instantly assumes this is Miharu’s boyfriend and goes to warn Haruki.

Haruki and Towa.JPG
Discussing the “big find.”

Towa isn’t content with Haruki saying he doesn’t like Miharu in that way, and decides to investigate the newly discovered boyfriend. In doing so, he drags Mami along with him, which I think helped bring them closer together.

Towa and Mami spying
Spying so inconspicuously.

During their investigation two side characters get revealed; one being the suspected “boyfriend” and his underclassman who are both in the cooking club. While they seem unimportant at the moment, based on how frequently they’ve appeared in the background of some scenes and during OP scenes, I imagine they will be more important later-on.

pancakes konbini kareshi.JPG
Isekai Shokudou isn’t the only show this season with delicious looking food.

While all this is going on, a lot of non-romance related plot starts to come to fruition. Haruki gets forcibly “volunteered” to help with the upcoming sports festival and in doing so meets the star of the track team. While he doesn’t seem important now, I think he will be just like the cooking club members I mentioned above, in that they will all be more important later.

Because he is kept late after school, Haruki gets caught in the rain and seeks shelter and an umbrella from the konbini. He then runs into Miharu, where he learns the sought after truth about this mystery boyfriend.

Haruki and Miharu.JPG

This episode was probably the slowest moving in terms of main plot so far, but with that being said I think it is a necessary evil. If it was just constant main plot, then the other side characters wouldn’t get to truly develop well, and their usefulness would probably end up being super confusing later on.

One thing I found interesting, is that they changed up the animation to go with the OP. It seems as though each OP scene is a collection of pictures and scenes from the next couple of episodes. While not unprecedented, it was worth noting.

The animation and character designs continue to impress me. I particularly liked this shot of Haruki:

Haruki eating a popsicle with umbrella.JPG
I wish I was cool enough to eat a Popsicle in the rain.

While the main question may have been answered, it seems the show left us with more questions unanswered, especially with ending on somewhat of a cliffhanger. Which is a good technique to keep you coming back next week. And that is exactly what I’m going to do!

Hajimete no Gal Episode 2 Review

Junichi finally has a girlfriend. One who is the cutest gal in school. But where do they go from here? Karaoke of course! And speaking from experience, this is a pretty popular choice for dates among Japan’s youth.

junichi and yame at karaoke.JPG
I too look as terrified as Junichi when stepping into karaoke parlors.

Before I talk too much about the episode, I’d like to correct a statement I had made in my review of the first episode. I had said that the censorship was clever, and actually added to the show. This is only the case if you are actually watching the censored version. This is the version that they are simulcasting on Crunchyroll. Though it has come to my attention (not surprisingly) that there is an uncensored version elsewhere on the internet. As I can’t speak for the versions I haven’t seen, my reviews will only reflect my opinions on the censored (Crunchyroll’s) version of Hajimete no Gal.

this is why youll always remain virgins hajimete no gal.JPG
Though censored or not, the virgin jokes remain as brutal as ever.

Moving on, I’ve got to admit I’m starting to like this show more and more. I think it is mostly, as I said before, because it is a raunchier version of Yamada’s First Time, which is probably in my top 10 personal favorite anime.

mic check hajimete no gal.JPG
My favorite innuendo so far.

I’m also really digging the simple, yet very new looking animation style. It is nothing flashy, but you can tell by the colors and just the crispness of the art that it is a new anime, and not one from five or more years ago.

we went a little too far hajimete no gal
If only my friends admitted their mistakes like that.

I’m also really digging Yane’s character design the more I see it. I think it is because she reminds me a lot of a gyaru (gal) version of Leafa from Sword Art Online. I’m not crazy, right?

My favorite scene of the episode was, of course, the karaoke scene. While Junichi was figuring out what song to sing, we got a glimpse of parody versions of some of Japan’s top pop songs at the moment. My favorites were “来来来世” by “Redwimps” instead of 前前前世 by Radwimps (a super famous song in Kimi no na wa or Your name.) and a Nogizaka 46 idol group spin-off.

hajimete no gal parody karaoke songs.JPG
When you can’t afford the rights to use the names of the real songs.

As I said before, I am a sucker for romance comedies where the romance starts earlier rather than later. And that is just what Hajimete no Gal is. I’m happy with it so far, and hope it stays this way.

Hajimete no Gal Episode 1 Review

Plot: The start of Junichi Hashiba’s second year of high school isn’t a great one. He is still single, and to make things worse, surrounded by couples. He is also caught reading a dirty magazine by the Yukana Yame, the class gyaru (gal). To make matters worse, he is elected by his friends to ask her to be his girlfriend.

hajimete no gal sumo
Peer pressure personified.

As a quick warning, Hajimete no Gal is a bit ecchi, so keep that in mind if you are considering watching it.  Though it is worth mentioning there isn’t any nudity. Which I think is actually for the best, since things are censored very cleverly, and at times in various comedic ways. So I think the censorship actually adds to the comedic value of the show.

why am I still a virgin hajimete no gal

My take on this show is that it is like a 2017 gyaru version of B Gata H Kei (Yamada’s First Time). The overtly sexual themes and humor of Hajimete no Gal, as well as the whole “desire to lose my virginity” aspects of it instantly reminded me of B Gata H Kei, but that is not a bad thing. I really enjoyed the latter, so I’m just hoping this newer iteration will make me laugh just as much as the older one did.

breaking the fourth wall hajimete no gal

The whacky male character design in shows like these always throws me off. I’m not really a fan of the larger guy with the weird cowlick/widow’s peak thing. But that’s just a small point I suppose. The female characters are a bit overdone as well, I think. The loli with over-sized breasts comes to mind first. I’m not really a fan of characters like that. But again, I really shouldn’t be too upset since overly sexualized characters are sort of the shtick of the show.

scary gyaru
Though I am a fan of Yukana Yame’s design.

At the end of the episode, it seems Junichi’s forced confession actually managed to work up some emotion from Yukana, and she accepts! I’m always a fan of shows where the romance and dating starts early. So I’m pretty curious to see how things turn out in future episodes.

my glorious high school days have been ended here
Or have they just begun?

All raunchiness and virgin jokes aside, I actually enjoyed the first episode and am looking forward to more!

 

Konbini Kareshi Episode 2 Review

We dive a bit deeper into the two potential romances set up for us in the first episode, so it seems Konbini Kareshi isn’t wasting any time in trying to tell us what to expect. But I like that. Though fortunately for me it isn’t all drama, and has a lot of comedy sprinkled in throughout. My little heart can’t handle a lot of drama without comedy.

harukis room with the merfolk prince picture book
Haruki’s room, with his treasured picture book.

The episode opens with a greater look into Haruki’s past with his love interest Miharu. So we get a glimpse here at cute little middle school aged Haruki:

Haruki as a child konbini kareshi

However, it seems this episode’s focal point is on Towa and Mami Mihashi. Mami seems to be fed up with Towa’s superficial shenanigans, and recruits the help of Miharu to stop him.

come on smile konbini kareshi

They then turn to Haruki since he is Towa’s best friend for help on the matter, with hopes that he can talk to him. I’m bringing attention to this, because it led to some of the silliest moments of the episode that made for some great screencaps.

boy talk konbini kareshi
Some accurate “guy talk” poses.

Haruki and Towa wrestling konbini kareshi

mom, haruki is gay konbini kareshi
When Haruki’s little brother caught him fighting/wrestling with Towa.

As I mentioned last week, I really dig the OP and ED songs! Now that I have gotten a chance to listen to them again, I think I prefer the ED more, but they are both pretty good. I’ve actually looked up the band for the ED, ORANGE POST REASON, on YouTube and their other songs are pretty good too. They don’t seem to be very popular so check them out!

konbini employees
While they play only a small role, I’m really liking their characters so far.

This episode also featured some pretty well animated scenes. This was pleasantly surprising, since I was actually thinking the animation of the first episode wasn’t anything special. The two scenes in particular were a running scene with Haruki, and a scene where Miharu walked past Haruki. While I’m no expert on animation or critiquing it, I felt that they were worth mentioning.

I’m very happy with Konbini Kareshi so far and I hope those of you watching are too. If you haven’t started watching it yet, and love convenience store romances as much as I do, start watching!

Konbini Kareshi Episode 1 Review

This is the show I was the most eager to watch for the Summer 2017 season, so I am glad it is finally here! To give it a brief introduction, Konbini Kareshi (or Convenience Store Boys) is basically about the lives of the high school students who spend time at a particular convenience store for one reason or another, and the interactions between those people.

Now, the episode starts in a somewhat interesting fashion: at the end of the story. Or at least what I would imagine is somewhat near the end, with our main character Haruki Mishima running to the convenience store during the Winter. The actual exposition to the show takes place in the Spring, and more specifically April, so I’m thinking the opening scene takes place much later. This is definitely storytelling mechanic that I am particularly fond of, as it is reminiscent of movies like Memento or The Prestige, that actually start at the end of the story, and the proceed to show how we got to such a point. While I’m sure Konbini Kareshi may not reach those kinds of levels of deepness, I figured it was worth noting, since I don’t see this too often in anime.

konbini kareshi episode 1 dramatic running scene
The dramatic opening scene, showing Haruki Mishima running sometime presumably in the Winter.

Another interesting thing that I noticed (which I suppose isn’t all that interesting now that I am actually typing it out) was how some of the scene’s dialogue was presented. There were a couple of instances where, instead of just presenting the dialogue by showing the characters talking to each other, a montage of stills or short animations of the characters (sometimes even characters not relevant to the conversation) doing unrelated activities would be shown instead. While this is definitely not a groundbreaking technique, it is again something that I haven’t seen all to often (or recently) in anime.

using ic cards at the train station konbini kareshi
I enjoyed the numerous day-to-day things that they showed the characters doing. For instance, here they are scanning their IC cards to ride the train to school.

As for the actual content of the episode, I enjoyed how they didn’t mess around with setting up the major themes. As I mentioned above, the opening scene clearly lays out the presumed romance between Haruki (the brown-haired guy in the featured image) and Miharu Mashiki. They also hint at a childhood relationship between the two, since each of them have a trinket from then to remember each other by. Aside from those two, another potential romance between Towa Honda (Haruki’s friend, and the blonde guy above) and his classmate Mami Mihashi. And this is all in just the first episode! So I would say that things are moving somewhat quickly, which is nice.

reading a magazine next to someone konbini kareshi 2
Haruki trying not to stare at Miharu while reading at the konbini

I’m not really used to this kind of art style, but I liked it. So I’d say that is a plus. It made for some pretty silly pictures. Like the one below, where I just happened to pause at the perfect time.

what a face
Miharu’s face was just too silly not to include here.

As someone who is always excited to hear the OPs and EDs of new anime, I was not disappointed with Konbini Kareshi‘s. The OP is “Stand Up Now” by Cellchrome, and the ED is “Milestone (マイルストーン)” by ORANGE POST REASON. They are pretty good, so look them up if you get the chance.

I was so excited to watch this show, that I was afraid it might not meet the high expectations I had set for it. While it is still too early to say for sure, I’d like to believe that it has met them! While maybe not a show for everyone, I would highly recommend if you are looking for a slice-of-life that accurately represents various aspects of life in Japan, or just looking for a nice and innocent romance drama for this season. I know I am definitely looking forward to what next week has to offer!