Kashimashi 5

August 6, 2008

The fact that no volume of this series ever lived up to the first, coupled with the fact that every subsequent volume seemed like a lame attempt at fanservice, left me not too excited about the ending to this series.  I put off reading it for quite some time.

A lot of the problems I had with the last volume reappeared, which is that the characters spend a LOT of time sitting around talking about how much they like each other instead of doing anything, and a lot of time is spent see-sawing between Yasuna and Tomari.  This volume takes this to an insane level, and it made me want to take back any nice things I may have said about the plot twist at the end of volume 3.

I just… I just didn’t care about these characters that much.  I think the way their feelings developed was very well done, but they still somehow lacked depth as characters, or at least depth enough for me to sit around listening to their feelings for this long.  I couldn’t tell you what depth was missing, and I couldn’t tell you why it was I didn’t care about them, but there’s the problem.  It wouldn’t be a problem so much if anything else was going on, but it is literally just the three main characters sitting around talking about their feelings, mostly to themselves.

The one thing I do want to give the series credit for, other than a great first volume, was the fact that it definitely paired two of the girls together in the end.  I was totally shocked when this happened, because even for 3/4 of this volume, I was totally convinced that the three would wind up “together forever,” a casualty of reader popularity not allowing the writer to pair off the characters.  It happens though, and I was very impressed.  It doesn’t really change any of the characters, or their feelings, but it made me feel better, at least.  To be fair, there were also some genuinely touching moments between the pair, which surprised me since this was something the series had failed at right up to the end, plus it meant the characters are at least developed enough for me to enjoy the cute romance scenes between the two.  I was pleased.

There are some loose ends tied up among the classmates (and some surprisingly funny Ayuki side stories), and then the series just finishes, along with an explanation of its title.  The cute romance scenes at the end were good, as was the pairing, but I think most people would do well to read the first volume (because, I promise, it’s very good) and then stop there.  Well, it was also unique for me, at least, for being the only multi-volume yuri-focused manga series I’ve read.

Kashimashi 4

February 23, 2008

Hm.  I’m really not too happy with this series anymore after this volume.  There was a secret revealed at the end of volume three that had the possibility to wring a lot of emotion out of the characters, get some romance going, and break up some of the relationship triangles that are going on.   Also, I like a sad ending, so I thought the end of volume three may be a good direction for things.

I know I said that I kind of liked the girls holding hands and flirting with each other, but the secret from the end of the last chapter robbed the series of its light-heartedness, which is what I liked so much.  It doesn’t work so well as a sad story.  I think it would have worked very well for a few chapters, but a few chapters is not what we get.  We get an entire volume of cheesy sadness.

The secret was wrung out for everything it was worth in this volume.  Nothing was resolved, and nothing happened.  The entire volume was spent rehashing everyone’s feelings for Hatsumu over and over and over again.  Things you may expect, like trips taken and gifts given, are stretched out as long as possible and occupy the entire volume when it is really only enough for a chapter or two.  There are a couple significant events hinted at, like characters leaving and stuff like that, but these things aren’t resolved or don’t go anywhere.  This was the worst kind of stall and/or tease.

I’m willing to believe that I’ll probably like the series resolution, because it still has its occasional bizarre elements, and the relationships are still decent, but my enthusiasm was definitely robbed after reading this volume.

Kashimashi 3

August 27, 2007

I just found out that this series is only 5 volumes, which makes me glad because I’m starting to get a little tired of the main character see-sawing between the two girls.

This volume was all about the main character making a decision about which girl she liked best, then something happening to alter her opinion and make her realize the value of the other.  At the end, I couldn’t figure out of Tomari and Yasuna had called a truce in their fight or not.  Probably not.

Despite me being a bit frustrated with the forward momentum, I still really liked it.  It’s still full of sugary-sweet moments and lots of cute hand-holding scenes.  The characters are all really good, and the mix of comedy, drama, and romance is handled very well.  The comedy is staying within reason, which I really appreciate because again, I’ve read Sorcerer Hunters by the same writer.

With this little going on in the plot, I think I can enjoy the cuteness of the girls for another two volumes and still really like this series.

Kashimashi 2

April 15, 2007

I wound up not liking this volume as much as the first, but that was mostly because the pace slowed way down to the point of stagnation.  We’ve got a romantic triangle established between the main character, the girl she had a crush on, and her childhood friend.  These characters, while they have several rather touching and endearing adventures, don’t really move forward, and another plot doesn’t surface for them to follow.  I was kinda hoping for it, because a chapter-by-chapter episodic series is not what I was hoping for with this title.

There is plenty of character development, and we find out a lot about the past of the main character, and there’s still a lot of touching moments, humor moments which still manage to be funny (I love the goofy teacher), and all the things I liked about the first volume sans the adjustment period, but… I just want something else to happen.  I’m not sure how long this series is, or if it is still running in Japan, but I tend not to like episodic stories like this unless they can keep me very interested (ie the Sgt. Frog entry a few down, I waver on that one like crazy).  Hopefully more will happen in volume 3.

Kashimashi 1

February 15, 2007

So as the title suggests, I finished up Valentine’s day just before bed with some girl meets girl action (this makes me sound like a bigger loser than I actually am, I had a rather nice Valentine’s Day outside of reading manga, too) note: this makes no sense unless you saw that I posted, like, six reviews on Valentine’s Day, which is why I suggested I was a loser.  I was really wanting some translation notes with this one, and I remembered that Boogiepop was rather copiously annotated, but when I flipped to the back I didn’t see them.  I found them eventually, but there’s only about two pages of them, and at that point I didn’t remember what it was I wanted clarified.  The nicer thing in the back was a description of all the plants Hasumu talks about, which I was completely in the dark about.

I was kind of unsure I would like this series.  I did want it to just be a bizarre yuri series, but I knew that Satoru Akahori isn’t particularly known for his subtle jokes and serious-minded stories.  The description made it sound like that’s what this was though.  Much to my shock, it is a rather subtle romantic series with some jokes thrown in every now and again.  Some of the jokes aren’t subtle (I hated the inclusion of Jan-pu and the alien, which feel like they don’t belong), but for the most part we get a lot of awkward romantic moments and the characters exploring their feelings for each other in a rather… tender way.  I did not know that Akahori was capable of this, but here you go.

The series is really BIZARRE.  The main character is a boy who confesses his feelings to his love interest, and she shoots him down.  He goes up to where he met her in the mountains, where he gets hit by a spaceship.  Because they can’t just let him die, they rebuild him, but they mess up and he’s a girl when he gets rebuilt.  Turns out that the love interest is only interested in girls, and she really did like him, but now that he’s a girl, the two are a perfect match.  Hasumu, the main character, also has a next-door neighbor who he was best friends with.  This neighbor also had a big crush on him despite her tomboyish nature, and a rivalry springs up between the love interest and the neighbor.

It’s not the kind of rivalry you’d expect in this kind of series.  The only words the neighbor and love interest exchange is when the neighbor asks the love interest to back off since she really hurt Hasumu’s feelings when she rejected him and she thinks Hasumu’s still trying to get over this shock.  Hasumu isn’t sure what to do now that he’s a girl, but he feels like he should like boys now.  He’s still attracted to the love interest though, and she’s attracted to him, so there’s lots of romance there.  There’s also a lot of tension with the neighbor, who is also still attracted to Hasumu despite the fact he’s a girl now.  She struggles with whether or not she should still like him since he’s not a boy anymore, but largely comes to the conclusion herself that Hasumu is Hasumu, and nothing’s really changed about him.

It’s really, REALLY good so far.  There are some stupid jokes sprinkled about (whenever the teacher appears, she falls down, usually in a hole or something like that), but for the most part the jokes hit there marks and aren’t intolerable.  They kind of fit with the goofy, bizarre nature of the series, too.  I’m really liking the tender girl relationships right now too, as female relationship manga is not something that’s extremely prevalent in the US right now.  I’m really glad to see this series here, and I’m also really glad it is what it is.  I’m also really eager to see where it goes in future volumes.