Kashimashi ~ Girl Meets Girl, Volume 2, is, as was the first volume, an excellent adaptation into English. It is *such* a relief to be able to just have the honorifics as is, instead of watching the contortions of language necessary to make translations work, or to have to ignore the implied relationships because they have been removed. I’m not sure if it’s more like having an itch scratched or the absence of a pain one was barely aware of. In any case, It’s nice. :-)
Volume 2 focuses mostly on the creation and solidification of the three-way romance between Hazumu, childhood friend Tomari and first love Yasuna. We also learn that Hazumu not only lacks critical decision-making skills, but is tortured with the inability to make even the simplest choices. And, in between, we watch Hazumu’s best friend, Asuta, nosebleed over any number of situations with his formerly male, now a cute female, best friend. There’s also an odd chapter that explains Ayuki’s apparent passivity in human relationships, something that will come back later as the story develops.
I just went back and re-read my review of the Japanese edition of Kashimashi Volume 2 and I had to laugh at my last line, “I’ll tag along until it gets unbearable or Hazumu turns back into a guy, whichever comes first.” (But I can’t tell you why, just yet. The series has ended in Japan, although the final volume is not yet out. I’ll review the end when that becomes available.)
There are a few things I do want to comment on. One, the translation and adaptation remain excellent. I know how HARD it is to make translated manga make sense sometimes, and depending on the publisher, the title, the team, sometimes the translation is sensible…and sometimes not. This story actually makes sense in English – not something that is easy to do. Tomari’s tsundere (for non-otaku-speak people, call it “passive aggressive”) personality is especially handled well. It’s not just her being tsundere for the sake thereof…her reasons for her behavior are presented and explained in a way that actually makes sense.
Secondly, as a “transgender” story it’s probably not too bad. As Hazumu says, it’s not like she’s not confused or concerned from time to time, but everyone is treating her the same as always. Maybe that’s idealistic, but – isn’t that the ideal? We’re told, repeatedly, that Hazumu was very girly, he was like a girl, and in this volume, that he wanted to be a bride when he was a child. It’s not a huge leap to say that he was a girl in a boy’s body – again, dredging up Serge’s line at the ACen Yuri Panel, that the aliens fixed what nature had broken. So, in a sense, it is a representation of the ideal situation. That the person gains their true gender and everyone still loves them (in this case, more people love her now.)
As a story of lesbian love, it’s also idealistic. Neither Tomari nor Yasuna are concerned at *all* that they have feelings for another girl. The issue is not “I’m in love with a girl” but “I’m in love with Hazumu” which as it should be in a perfect non-assholish world. And really, the issue is “I won’t lose to her” more than anything else.
Lastly, I really enjoyed Ayuki imploring Hazumu, in her heart at least, to slow down and take her time and just enjoy the three-way dynamic. When, in the end chapter, god appears to concur, it somehow made me happy. I still think that the three of them make the least implausible threesome I’ve ever seen (something that the next volume will explore to a small degree.)
While we the audience might perceive this story to be about gender, by the end of Volume 2, it is no longer. Hazumu’s gender is female. Period. But we still talk about it, don’t we?
So, here’s today’s question for comment: If Hazumu turns back into a boy, would it affect your enjoyment of the series? Do you perceive this series as a Yuri series, a Transgender series or none of the above? Inquiring minds want to know!
Art – 8
Character – 8
Story – 7
Yuri – 8
Service – 5
Overall – 8
The more time I spend with these characters, the less I find anything to dislike.