Yuri Manga: Kashimashi Girl meets Girl, Volume 4 (English)

April 2nd, 2008

Let’s recap the story so far in Kashimashi ~ Girl Meets Girl:

In Volume 1, Tomari has difficulty coming to terms with the fact that her best friend, Hazumu, has become a girl.

In Volume 2, Tomari has difficulty coming to terms with the fact that she has always loved Hazumu

In Volume 3, Tomari has difficulty coming to terms with the fact that she is *still* in love with Hazumu and is willing to fight Yasuna for her.

And now, in Volume 4, Tomari has difficulty coming to terms with the fact that Hazumu’s life may be coming to a premature end.

Looking at it this way, it sort of seems like Tomari’s really the protagonist, doesn’t it? ^_^ And, in a way, she is.

Hazumu, by her own admission, is incapable of making any decisions. Yasuna has made her decision, but will not do anything change the status quo, as befits her gentle, “proper girl” personality. Which leaves Tomari holding the whole ball of wax in terms of crisis, climax, angst and any other random emotions wandering around.

To my surprise, I find that I never originally reviewed this volume in Japanese, probably because it felt like, at the time, that the story pretty much screeched to a dead halt, and we were waiting for the series to run out of chapters so it could end. Now that I’m looking at it from a different perspective, it pretty much just looks like the next plateau of a fairly formulaic series. In every volume so far, the basic premise of Kashimashi has been watching Tomari tortured by something everyone else appears to have haphazardly accepted. Of course they haven’t, they’ve been wracked with doubt and despair, but as our focus is turned primarily upon Hazumu and Tomari, we’re not able to see it any more than Tomari does.

Just as Tomari finally does come to accept her (and Hazumu’s) feelings, Yasuna forces the situation to become more complex, by existing. She ends up acting as a catalyst for Tomari’s and Hazumu’s growth, without every really doing anything specific. In this case, it is the rumor of her leaving for New York that makes Hazumu scoop her up and kiss her. The irony of course is that Tomari has just learned the lesson “If you give in to the fear of losing something, you’ll never be able to keep it safe,” but Hazumu hasn’t.

As always, the adaptation and translation for Kashimashi is superb. Tomari is now, along with everyone else, referring to Hazumu as “she.” Tomari has also stopped speaking like an old man, which is nice. The page tones seemed to have reproduced a little roughly, leaving some moire patterns on pages with large toned areas, but unless that’s important to you, it’s easily enough overlooked. Once again, I really want to say, this book has the smoothest, most natural translation/adaptation I’ve ever encountered. It never fails to impress me.

Other than the fact that nothing really *happens* in this Volume, it’s quite excellent. If one took the essentially ridiculous plot complications away (aliens, time running out, etc), it would be a nice slice-of-life piece about a newly transitioned girl and the girls (and boys) who love her.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters – 7
Story – 7
Yuri – 9
Service – 4

Overall – 8

My thanks to Ted the Awesome (new nickname, as discussed at Anime Boston,) for sponsoring today’s review!

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6 Responses

  1. Jarlath says:

    Volume 1 had an interesting idea… then things started petering out, and I gradually lost interest in the manga after/during Volume 2. The flip ending of the series didn’t help my interest any, although word of Hazumu’s predicament started getting me looking at it again.

    It honestly reminded me a bit of a harem comedy, minus the harem; same sort of hijinks and antics, except you’ve got a guy-turned-girl as the main protagonist. That’s part of the problem with the series, IMO – it felt rather formulaic and didn’t do anything with the premise (guy gets turned into a girl due to an accident, now has to cope with a life changed by this along with how others interact with him-now-her).

    It sounds like Tomari’s becoming more of the protagonist/main character, the way you’re writing about this volume, than Hazumu is (the latter having become more a plot device, with her lifespan running out unless she gets ‘tied’ to someone else’s life)… which means I may have to pick up Volume 4.

  2. It’s not kind of like a harem series – it is a harem series. Once again, it’s not so much that the series fails, but that your expectations were too high. :-) It is a typical formula series, designed to sell to an audience that likes typical formula manga.

  3. Kori Michele says:

    Sorry to Post an OT comment, but I wanted to let you know that I linked your blog on my most recent entry on AnimePaintStudio Here: http://animepaintstudio.blogspot.com/

    I wish I had something to say about Kashimashi, but I was put off by Tomaris character too early on to keep watching/reading.

  4. Tomari is a fiarly standard character type these days – the pony-tail wearing tsundere.

    I think LFBs like this type because she feeds into their belief that “no” doesn’t mean “no” so they can waggle their eyebrows saliciously and nod as if they have a clue.

  5. Jarlath says:

    Tomari looks like she IS changing, which is something – and by change, I mean more than just ‘she’s melting, so she didn’t really mean it when she said “no, I hate you”‘. That’s a bit of hope, at least.

    And yes, my expectations were too high – there’s a lot of harem out there, and the twist… they could’ve done more with it than they have. Come to think about it, that describes a lot of anime out there from the past few years…

  6. JazzCat says:

    I still think the scene on top of that slide, where Tomari and Hazumu finally give in to their emotions and start crying together, is still pretty intense. The whole volume is actually working toward that moment and it’s way more important than the kiss Hazumu gives Yasuna later on. Still, I disagree that Yasuna is a side character in whole lot. She is actually the one who stirred up Hazumu’s emotions in the first place. I also do think that Hazumu is acting a bit weird and aloof for most of this volume and at times I do wonder what the other girls see in her.

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