To begin this review of Seven Seas’ release of Kase-san and Bento, I want to discuss something that may appear irrelevant – the way words work.
In Japanese, the titles of this series are written – XYZ to Kase-san – . Asagao to Kase-san, Obentou to Kase-san, Shortcake to Kase-san. So, when the next book comes out Apron to Kase-san (エプロンと加瀬さん。), it will “scan” perfectly fine. The title formula is “everyday object + Kase-san’s name.” Very simple.
When one doesn’t understand how words scan – how they feel, and sound and fit together, when one imagines that the title of this series can be flipped, to “Kase-san and XYZ” and doesn’t realize that the scan has been killed, one gets an awkward title like “Kase-san and Apron” that one then feels obliged to do something with. And this, kids, is why someone needed to have said, “don’t flip the title, it ruins the scan.” This one thing aside, this is really a wonderful book. Shout outs to translator Jocelyne Allen, adapter Jenn Grunigen, and all the folks on the technical side, including the retouch and letterer, because that’s a brutal job.
Kase-san and Bento is an excellent English release of a charming Japanese Yuri manga that explores the development of a relationship between two young women, one of whom has no self-confidence. It’s a little painful to watch Yamada fail to trust her own or Kase-san’s feelings, but it’s delightful to see Kase-san step up and be a decent friend as well as good partner. Yamada may not trust herself, but Kase-san clearly trusts her and it feels…just right.
Great looking book that’s satisfying to read even for this long-time Yuri fan.
Art – 8
Story – 8
Character – 8
Yuri – 8
Service – 5 There is a fair dollop of service as both Yamada and Kase are starting to be interested in each other’s bodies, accompanied by a even larger dollop of awkwardness.
Overall – 8
As I said in my review of the Japanese volume, I find myself wanting desperately to hug both of them and invite them over for tea, so they can see that sometimes we do get a happily-ever-after, after all. ^_^
Thanks once again to the folks at Seven Seas for the review copy, I went and bought myself a print volume anyway, because I love this series and want to support it!