Yuri Anime: Kashimashi Girl meets Girl, Volume 1

May 21st, 2007

Let me start with the important bit – many thanks to the folks at Media Blasters for sending me a review copy of this DVD! It was really nice of them. :-)

The anime for Kashimashi ~ Girl meets Girl may differ from the manga in some details (especially in the pacing – for the better) but the main plot remains the same: Hazumu the boy, after being rejected by Yasuna, the girl he loves, is accidentally killed when an alien space ship crashes into the earth atmosphere. He is revived, but because of the limitations of alien technology, he has now become a she. As with my review of the translated Volume 2 of the manga, it was suitable, I thought, to review this DVD as we continue “gender identity” week. (Got a couple more to go yet.)

As I have also mentioned several times already in this review series, while Hazumu’s gender is changed, one of the main points of this first volume is that he, now she, is essentially the same person. When his best friend Tomari finally comes to realize that, she also comes to realize that she has been in love with Hazumu for years. At the same time, Yasuna confesses that she has a stupid plot complication disorder (SPCD) – she cannot see men, only women, aka “yurivision”. (No, not really. It’s just a joke – I saw it called that on an image board and it made me laugh.) Now she has come to terms with the fact that alone of all men, she could *see* Hazumu and she loves, has always loved, him. In order to not regret anything, Yasuna kisses Hazumu, upon which scene Tomari enters, and a love rivalry is born.

Let me start, as I mostly do, with the negatives. This DVD volume had the same subtitle problem that I encounter with My HiME. I can’t run it on any of the many and various DVD players in the house, only on my laptop using the new DVD drive and the new software. I find this irksome, since of all the DVD playing software, while the most flexible, it is also the least easy to control and pausing for longer than a few moments means I have to close it down and start it back up. Since I watched this volume over a few days…let’s just say that it didn’t make me happy. There was one typo in the subtitles (one very small one) and in one case the translation did that thing which sends me into apoplectic fits: A character yells out “Kurusu-sempai!” and the translation reads, for reasons completely unknown to me, “Tomari!” Whah?

In general the translation is – okay. It has a tendency to make things smooth and seamless…and voiceless. Everyone sounds exactly the same. The honorifics are removed completely, which will never fail to annoy me. (Back to my, “who do you think watches this?” rant. No random off-the-street twelve year old is likely to pick this anime up. You got to figure it’ll mostly be fans and I swear, Media Blaster folks, fans *want* the honorifics! That’s why fansubbers use them! I promise. Beat the leading edge people on this – go for broke, be a trendsetter, leave in the honorifics!) And, most damning, “Onee-nii-sama” which nets a nice translator’s note in the manga is translated here as “Sister Brother,” which just made me sad. (In retrospect I absolutely should have watched the anime before reading the manga since, by comparison, the translation for the anime comes off as lackluster. But let me say that it is not a BAD translation – it just lacks voice. And honorifics. And pizazz. And I am hugely more picky about these three things than most people.)

On the positive side, the translation made sense through the whole volume and I found myself caught up, again, in both Yasuna’s and Tomari’s internal conflict.

The first volume has 5 episodes, something I highly approve of. I assume the next two will have 4 each, completing the series plus bonus episode in 3 DVDs, which is completely acceptable, should that actually be the case.

And the DVD actually has some extras, not just ads and creditless OP/EP animation! This volume contains interviews by Kana Ueda (Hzumu’s voice actress) with the VAs for both Yasuna (Horie Yui) and Tomari (Tamura Yukari.) As I’m a huge seiyuu otaku, these made me tail-wagglingly happy. For these alone, the DVD is worth getting. IMHO, of course.

Lastly, let’s talk about the gender issue. I couldn’t help but notice two major things while watching this anime. One – while Tomari herself is the perfect tomboy, she determines that she’ll be the one to teach Hazumu “how to be a girl.” Her focus is on completely stereotypical gender role issues and ironically, goes exactly against everything she herself does. “No jumping down the stairs” she remonstrates a Hazumu who has never been seen to do so, while that was Tomari’s first appearance in the anime. Hmmm. Cleverly ironic? I really can’t quite tell. I’d like to think so, though. In the anime Hazumu has clearly been provided with lingerie by her mother – going shopping with Tomari is more a way to affirm Hazumu’s femaleness (and by extension femininity?) than a necessity. Which just works better than the manga “woops, Mom somehow forget to buy me underwear when she was buying me 800 dresses.” – even if the “how to put on a bra” scene is still just pandering service.

Second, the translator continues to translate the Japanese gender non-specific pronouns as “he” or “his” in regards to Hazumu throughout this volume, long after he is now, clearly, a she. I felt that that was completely appropriate for Tomari, but it seemed wrong for the others and especially for Yasuna. I *really* hope (despite making myself a complete hypocrite, since I also tended to refer to Hazumu as “him” throughout the anime and as the manga continued) that the translator will consider transitioning the “him” to “her” in the upcoming volumes.

So, thumbs up overall, but there’s definitely room for improvement. And please fix the subtitles. Thanks!

Today’s question: How do you you think Hazumu should be referred to? (Especially if you have seen the end of the anime or read the end of the manga.)

Art – 7
Story – 7
Music – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 8
Service – 6

Overall – 7


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5 Responses

  1. SleeplessHeart says:

    There is a real syndrome where a genetic disorder person has a big difficulty to recognize faces, including his/her parents. However, the syndrome does not discriminate the sex.

  2. Chalcahuite says:

    Uh, I think my position should be obvious, but for those of you just tuning in: Hazumu is a she. The aliens fixed what Nature broke.

  3. Howlsthunder says:

    In my ideal world ;), we should all get to decide which pronoun is applied to us regardless of physical gender. That said, Hazumu is physically female and is quite content with having a female body and taking on stereotypically female roles – Hazumu is a she.

  4. patrique says:

    It’s a nice anime with some very tear-jerking moments. I don’t understand though why they take the girls’ affections so seriously, but only use Asuta’s feelings for comedy… as if emotions are somehow less genuine when they are from a guy. I know, dealing with Asuta seriously would complicate things even more, but it keeps bugging me throughout the series, both in the anime in the manga.

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