Yuri Manga: Kase-San and Shortcake (English)

October 9th, 2017

Kase-san and Shortcake, by Hiromi Takashima is awkward and painful and wonderful and sexy and excruciating and delightful. In other words, it’s a bit like adolescence itself, except that I’m perfectly willing to re-read this volume and not at all willing to relive adolescence. ^_^

Yamada and Kase-san are facing their final summer in high school and, with it, the blank slate of their future. Kase-san is, of course, busy with track and she’s being scouted by a big Tokyo college. Yamada’s aspirations are much more local. But if Yamada stays and Kase-san goes what will become of them? 

However, the one thing Yamada has going for her is resolve. And no matter what obstacles are put in her way, when she’s made a decision, she goes for it. In a fit of passion, she jumps on the train to go to Tokyo with Kase-san. And comes face to face with her next obstacle.

Is it true that Kase-san was dating her old sempai  on the track team? If so, how will Yamada deal with the jealousy…and how far can she let jealousy build before it becomes toxic? The answer, as it usually is in this series, is just to the breaking point. And almost always, it’s Kase-san who snaps first.

What Yamada hasn’t quite figured out is that for every reason she’s jealous or worried or low self-esteemy, Kase-san is, too. But in every case, they work it out together and we’re more and more convinced that they might make it.

Takshima-sensei’s art has settled down in to a distinctive style now, and her facial expressions are quite wonderful. More importantly, she less reliant on gimmick.

As usual, Seven Seas provides us with an authentic reading experience. No eye-rolling weirdness in the translations, clean reproduction makes the book easy to read psychically and the technicals never drop you out of the story. This is a fun Yuri series, and deserves the kind of handling that doesn’t get in the way of just enjoying it. Great work, team Seven Seas! Thank you for the fine job. 

Ratings:

Art – 8 
Story – 8
Character – 8
Yuri – 8
Service – 5 They are still working through what it means to be sexually attracted to one another.

Overall – 8

There’s only one more volume to go. Kase-san and Apron will be out in February and our time with Yamada and Kase-san will be over. (So far, there are as-yet uncollected chapters, and we have no news so far of any future plans.) Let’s enjoy it as much as Yamada and Kase-san enjoyed that final summer at school. ^_^ And we’ll have that Asagao to Kase-san OVA to look forward to. ^_^

 

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13 Responses

  1. uiop says:

    There is a sequel to Kase-san manga called Yamada and Kase-san.

  2. In “Kase-san and the Afterword” the question is asked: “What is pure Yuri?”

    Jealousy that a prospective partner might have been involved with someone else before is asking that same question in a more round about way, I think.

    • I would disagree with that. In my opinion, “Pure Yuri”is merely a marketing term used by the publisher of Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari to act as if love and sex aren’t just animal responses, so the guys who fetishize the “pureness”of it can feel unsoiled by their own animal responses. I do not think lesbian love or Yuri” is any more pure than any other kind of love. And I definitely do not think of jealousy as pure in any way. Obviously your mileage may vary on any or all of this. ^_^

      In fact, now that I think about it, I think jealousy is the most corrupt emotion, the most toxic. So what if a person had a love before you? I mean, really. It plays into the creepy fetishization of virginity, and wanting to be “first.” I reject that as pure. Jealousy causes more trouble than any other emotion.

  3. “And I definitely do not think of jealousy as pure in any way etc..”

    I don’t either. I think Yamada’s jealousy is misplaced and I would have liked Kase-san to have confirmed that, yes indeed I dated someone before you, Yamada…

    That, rather than Yamada’s “relief” that she had nothing to worry about because it was just a misunderstanding, in that regard, would have been my preferred route out of the situation. Yamada coming to terms with Kase-san’s earlier dating experiences, in other words, would have been a preferable “answer”, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Yeah, I agree. If there is a single thing that really needs addressing, it’s Yamada’s low self-esteem. Volume 4 does address it, kind of but she and Kase-san really need a long chat about this stuff. This is exactly why have an older role model in YA LGBTQ work is important.

      • Krystal says:

        I have one other issue with the series I’d love to see fixed.

        Manga is extremely constrained by “real estate.” The need for efficiency shapes the story, and, when properly applied, conveys the story’s emotional impact and art.

        I would very much appreciate the author saving the page in just about every chapter where we once again are told that Yamada and Kase are dating…. and they’re two girls….. who are dating……but they’re two girls.

        The best lesson I ever got from a writing class was contained in one sentence.

        “Don’t tell me. Show me.”

        How much truer can that be than it is in manga?

        • This is one of those moments when understanding Japanese genre can help. Yuri, as the Japanese publishers see it is not for an LGBTQ audience. Nor does it attempt to represent an LGBTQ audience. Just as YA literature had coming out dramas and nothing else for ages, I expect we’ll continue to see this for some time in Yuri.

          • Krystal says:

            So the publishers lean on the authors to linger on and re-iterate the (socially) titillating bits? The first page of each chapter is pretty much publisher-service? How do the authors feel about that? Are they as uninvolved with the LGBTQ community/audience as the publishers are?

            I see why you’re adamant about us voting with our dollars. But we’re still and always outnumbered.

          • Some authors just follow the expected stereotypes.

        • Krystal says:

          Okay, two sentences, but they’re short.

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