Apr 2, 2010 Comments Off
It’s a new anime season and that means the race is on to be offended by at least one new show. Go, anime bloggers go!
In the lead at present is B Type H System, based on Yoko Sanri’s manga that runs in Weekly Young Jump. Once again it’s a female author giving young men a glimpse into the lives of young women via the medium of sex comedy. I believe in this case, she’s claimed that lead character is based on her younger self, and that makes some sense of the moustachioed tiny version of the lead who floats on a cloud providing commentary on her inept attempts at losing her virginity. However in the manga that device doesn’t show up until the end of the first volume, and she also turns her eye to the libidos of teenage boys more than is indicated in this first episode.
The plot summary given at the start of the episode is that the lead wants to sleep with 100 boys at high school, but has such a messed up idea of sex and relationships that the chances of her actually managing to do this are non-existent. Having grown up during the success of the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, the fact that anyone thinks she’ll actually manage this, that it will even be the focus of the show or that this sort of teenage sex comedy is so inherently creepy amuses me greatly.
In fact now that I think about, we still have that sort of sex comedy in the mainstream with The Inbetweeners, a show that just like B Type H System has sex-obsessed teenagers played by adults, and is far less satiric than Adrian Mole was. Honestly, so much writing about anime lately seems like a race to be offended that people aren’t properly analysing the shows they are watching. Chu Bra was creepy because it was excusing itself – B Type H System has no excuses, it’s just a comedy about horny teenage idiots.
That’s not to say the show doesn’t have its problems. In fact it’s full of them from head to toe. The real problem with B Type H System is that it’s so shoddily executed.
The original manga, while not the work of a great illustrator, has a lightness of touch completely absent from anime. Yuuko Yahiro (also the Animation Director) just kills all that dead. Even the well chosen colour schemes from the original book covers are turned into the usual palette of digital colours and soft focus crap in the anime.
Most importantly though, the manga is a four panel gag strip. Something you cannot tell at all from anime. The rhythm of the manga’s beats are just laid waste to in the anime. Which is not that surprising when you consider that they’ve actually removed some of the punchlines. Sanri often uses the beat of three panels of a continuing scene, then the four panel acts as a smash cut to the punchline. It’s hardly rocket science, lots of authors use similar beats, but when you remove that final panel, you aren’t left with much in terms of a gag. She’s also a lot more realistic in her portrayal of teenage horniness than the anime which may go some way to explaining why some of those punchlines are just missing in the anime. What I’m saying is this – there’s a lot more jokes about masturbation in the manga.
It’s not a masterpiece by any means, it’s just one of many 4-panel sex comedy strips that have been created, but it’s certainly better than the anime might lead you to believe.
It all boils down to the fact that this is one of those manga that would be much better served as an anime by being 5-10 minutes per episode and in the hands of a director who both understands the rhythm of comedy and would keep it closer to the visuals of the manga like Akitaro Daichi, Hiroaki Sakurai or even Bob Shirohata. Even if you still didn’t like the subject the matter, the gags would work better.
Instead it’s been pushed through the same aesthetic filter that so many anime seem to use nowadays and toned down for an audience that can’t handle jokes about wanking. That’s what you should really be annoyed at rather than the shocking revelation that teenagers think about sex a lot.