Hatsukoi Limited is an anime outside my usual watching parameters as it employs a lot of ecchi (fanservice/sexual) elements which I normally avoid like the plague. Yet for some reason, I adore this anime.
I originally watched this fansubbed when it came out in the spring season of 2009. I remember the reviews being noticeably favorable so I tentatively tried it. And in the first episode there’s some major panty flashing scenes. But it was also kinda funny, and I really liked the poor guy (Misao Zaitsu, an ugly thuggish type who’s been nicknamed “Beast”) who was trying to express his affections towards cute little Ayumi Arihara, and only ended up terrifying her.
As the show goes on, it explores two intertwined groups of friends in middle school and high school and what their first loves are like (hence the title–Hatsukoi Limited translates to First Love Limited). It also continues to have panty flashing scenes, crotch shots, boob jiggle, etc. But for me, this was all forgivable (except a couple times during some serious scenes, when there would be an inappropriately placed panty shot), because I just loved the characters and emotions so much. I cried several times as girls and guys got their hearts crushed or their feelings hurt.
The only storylines that I absolutely hated were the incest-crush ones. I think those are completely unrealistic and gross. Koyoi has a brother complex so severe she rejoices when their father goes away on business so she can pretend to be her brother’s wife. And Yuuji’s overbearing interest in his sister Ayumi is equally creepy.
My favorite couple is Enomoto and Kusuda. It’s one of those that the viewer knows is coming, but the characters are fighting against it so hard. Enomoto doesn’t want to be attracted to plain, perverted Kusuda, and Kusuda doesn’t want to like stuck up, snotty Enomoto. When they realize what’s going on, they are mutually horrified, and their bickering intensifies until feelings really start getting hurt. The Christmas episode is one of my favorites.
The series ends (12 episodes total) where it began, as Ayumi finally gives her reply to Misao’s love letter.
It’s a really pretty anime, with softened, muted colors, and seems well animated (at least to my nondiscerning eye). The girls are all attractive and cute; the guys are more plain featured. None of the guys can really be called “bishie”; they all seem fairly average looking.
The complete DVD set also includes a series of six shorts which feature a girl not in the original anime series, and her mishaps on a day she forgot to wear underwear to school. It was painfully unfunny and just pure ecchi comedy with zero depth, and after one episode, I was completely underwhelmed and fast-forwarded through the rest to see if anything involving the main characters happened (no). Won’t be watching those again.
Sentai’s usual typos make an appearance in this set, but nothing too egregious.