I came to a conclusion today about yuri stories being “good” or “bad.” I was listening to the third Strawberry Panic Drama CD and I realized that, if Chikaru were a guy, most people would find him creepy and – in that particular scene – disgusting. And it dawned on me that that sort of defines what makes a story “good” or “bad”. If for instance, Chikane from Kannazuki no Miko had been a male character, would anyone *ever* attempt a rationalization of his behavior, much less openly declare it to be sexy? I think not.
So, going forward, when I comment that a series is “not good” you can take that to mean that, among other things, I think that if the characters were a hetero, rather than lesbian, couple the story would be boring, trite and/or vile. It’s a simpler criteria than trying to explain good writing all the time.
Ironically, none of that really applies to today’s review, as the character starts off as a boy. ^_^ I reviewed Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl, Volume 1 in Japanese back in May 2005. Because the story has not changed at all, I will not be re-reviewing the story itself. If you are not sure whether you want to read the story, by all means, please visit that first review. I rated the Volume an overall 7, if that helps.
What I do want to talk about today is the quality of the transition into English of this story. Which is, let me be honest, very, very good.
If you are a regular reader of Okazu, you know that I am constantly disappointed in English adaptations of manga and anime that remove honorifics and cultural references.
Based on that alone, it’s fair to say that this volume of Kashimashi may well be the single best adaptation of a manga into English that I have ever seen.
Every honorific – even the silly ones…especially the silly ones – are preserved. Notes are added that make sense of the puns and cultural relics, and the reading audience is assumed to have several functioning brain cells. It was the proverbial breath of fresh air to me, let me tell you. Overall, this may well be one of the best translation/adaptations I’ve ever seen. It was a seamless reading experience for this reader of the original version – my highest compliment for a translation.
The print quality is good, and although it did not bother me in any way, you should know that the sound effects are left completely untranslated. As I’ve mentioned many times, I don’t read s/fx, indeed I hardly notice them for myself (although I pay attention for review purposes.)
The story remains yuri, although with that edge of marginalization that exists in so many current Dengeki yuri series. It retains the service, the goofball plot complications, the sad wretch of a pervtastic father, and the “I’m a girl now, so I have to do abc…” and of course the aliens, that make it hard to judge this book harshly, since it’s so obviously ridiculous.
Still not my favorite example of “Yuri”, Kashimashi (which, btw, also means a loud or rambunctious sound) makes a decent enough entry into the Yuri market – and an exceptional showing for Seven Seas. Keep up the work, guys – and get some GOOD Yuri titles, please! Ask me, and I’ll be glad to offer some suggestions.
Ratings for the story:
Art – 8
Characters – 7
Story – 5
Overall – 7
Ratings for the adaptation:
Print Quality: 8 (not at all easy to do…)
I’ve never read a manga in English that I didn’t personally publish that felt more like reading the Japanese original. Kudos to Seven Seas.