My First Girlfriend is a Gal – 20 Question Anime Review (Moderate Spoilers)

What’s the show? My First Girlfriend Is A Gal (2017).

Hmm, not to get all “heteronormative” on you, as you so like to claim I constantly do, but well obviously a girlfriend is a gal, am I missing something here? It’s okay I forgive you for you for how painfully straight you are. But to answer your question, yes ‘gal’ is a Japanese term; it comes from the word ‘gyaru’ which refers to a specific type of girl.

Oh? How to explain this in the way a ‘filthy normie’ would understand. Oh right, I don’t need to I can just let the English dub do it for me. Gals are like, you know, total valley girl bitches! Like you know whatever!

Gal7.jpg
Isn’t that all high school boys think about after all?

I think I see what you’re getting at, so stereotypically shallow, wear lots of make up, love shopping and socialising? Yeah pretty much, the funny thing is…

What? Well, I don’t usually watch shows with the English dub, and it’s even rarer that I’ll bother to check out multiple episodes in both formats if I’ve decided on one or the other, but the original Japanese version and the English dub are like two completely different shows!

How so? Well the Japanese version is a romantic comedy whereas the American version is a bawdy sex comedy.

GalGif2
Let me just squeeze pass here…

But isn’t the only difference the dialogue, how can it make that much of a difference? Episode 8, beach episode, one of the supporting characters enters the scene with a water pistol and shoots the main guy. In the Japanese original her subtitles read simply “I’m joining in, prepare yourself”, in the English dub she says “That’s right I’m a squirter, better watch your back”.

Huh, that’s quite the liberties taken… Which might be okay, if it weren’t nearly every line of dialogue, there’s a difference between making an adaptation relevant to a Western audience and completely re-writing the script! Every opportunity for innuendo is seized upon and none of it is in the original subtitles. It’s like, it’s like, okay I’m going to make a very specific reference here so try and follow along.

Okay. It’s like when those semi-racist TV-shows of the 90’s used to re-dub clips of foreign movies with intentionally comedic and out-of-context dialogue to get some cheap laughs.

GalGif3
Don’t mess with Ranko.

I get what you’re saying, but what’s the problem? Just go back to watching the Japanese subbed version instead, like you did with Dagashi Kashi and Food Wars! *whispers* come closer, I need to tell you a secret and I don’t want the others to hear this…

Uh… okay. What is it? The English dub is really f**king funny.

Gal6
Torturing pervy virgins is fun!

So what’s the problem then? Are you kidding me? You can’t just rewrite someone’s material just because you thought of some funnier lines than the original. This isn’t a Hollywood remake, it’s an English dub, it’s supposed to be a ‘translation’ not an ‘adaptation’. Also, I don’t want to sound like I’m siding with those assholes who took down Funimation’s website because the dub decided to throw in some Trump jokes, I don’t care what the jokes are and I don’t care about politics, that’s not the issue here.

But the plot is the same surely, what’s it about anyway? It’s about virginal nerd Junichi and his desire to get a girlfriend, he decides to confess his love to busty blonde ‘gal’ Yukana, despite her being fifty seas out of his league, but to his surprise and adulation she decides to go out with him. The rest of the series is their awkward but kind of adorable courtship and the various obstacles that are thrown up along the way.

Obstacles such as? Such as her overaggressive best-friend Ranko, a fellow gal who may or may not have a thing for Yukana and Junichi—just not the two of them together. And of course there’s Nene, the ever dependable and clingy childhood friend who has the third largest set of breasts of any anime girl I’ve ever seen.

Also she’s 140cm tall, or 4ft 5in. I can’t even imagine what Nene would look like irl.

Is she your best girl then? How dare you! No, actually, in this show I’m actually torn between our main love interest Yukana just because of the seriously noteworthy amount of character development she’s given and the smart, sultry mysterious third(fourth?) girl to the burgeoning harem Yui.

GalGif1
The show should be told from her perspective.

Seems like you do like this show. It’s funny I went into the review with the intention to write a negative review, at least negative for me. But the more I talked about it the more I realised how much I like it, even if it pisses me off how the English dub is both simultaneously, a travesty to ideas of authorship integrity and also much much funnier.

What were the negatives though? Oh, well Junichi even though he starts off as a ‘good guy’ has too many moments where you wonder what on Earth Yukana sees in him, especially towards the end of the season. Also, Junichi’s 3 schoolyard charms are very hit and miss when it comes to their comedy, and downright obnoxious when it comes to their ogling.

Gal3
You don’t wanna know what the chubby one’s thinking.

So how do you review a show like this? I don’t know… like this I suppose, what you’ve been reading. If you watched it in Japanese only and thought it was dull then watch the dub. If you watched it in English and thought it was crass and dumb then watch the sub. If you’ve watched neither… I don’t know, watch whatever you think will satisfy you better, an authentic but kinda dull romantic comedy or a very funny but inaccurately dubbed imitation.

Gal4.jpg
If only every episode could have been as interesting as episodes 9 & 10.

Great but that’s not what I meant, how do you review a show like this. What score do you give something that’s essentially two different things? I… I don’t know. Quick, put me on the spot and make me decide!

Final score! The worst thing that can be said for the Japanese version is that it’s frequently dull, that in of itself deserves a score of 65 out of 100. The English version, while occasionally hilarious is an inaccurate representation of the actual product, but the issues of character and plot and tone persist despite the added comedy, an appropriate but not much better 69 out of 100GalGif4

 

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