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.
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!