Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Kase-san and Yamada volume 1 is sure to please (Manga Review)

Two college girls with their arms around each other on a background of flowers
Kase-san and Yamada vol. 1 - 8.5/10 (* see below for full scoring rubric)

Do you like kind, sweet, yuri? Did you like the Kase-san series? Did you wait with baited breath for the Kase-san OVA? Then you'll be happy to know that Kase-san and Yamada volume 1 (Seven Seas) continues in just the same sweet and rewarding fashion.

I for one really liked the prior series and so I was bound to like this too. What's nice, and what I'm excited about as this series continues, is that it is set in college. It's rare enough to have a manga set in college, rarer still for it to be a quality yuri manga, and even more rare to get a series that follows characters long enough to see them grow and change from adolescents into adults. Kase-san and Yamada is poised to cover all that. Will we even get to see them as post-grad adults some day? (yes, I'm already planning their wedding and raising kids, etc...)

In the first half of the volume, Yamada makes a friend at her horticulture school. She's invited to attend a group date and decides to go in order to strengthen her new friendship. As she's telling Kase-san about it, Kase lets her know that she's going on a sports trip during the week. Yamada also hears Kase-san's new roommate in the background. Getting jealous, Yamada insists on going on the group date over Kase-san's objections.

This leads to the penultimate part of this half of the volume, where Kase-san, in all her swuave-ness, comes into the group date, makes all the other girls swoon, and steals Yamada away to safety. Kase-san is in all her head-over-heels in love, but totally insecure, and gender-non-conforming glory in this scene. (She's totally pulling off a Haruka from Sailor Moon sort of energy). We get everything we want out of this couple in this part of the story. From great comedy, great emotions, to a very sweet resolution.

The second half of the volume concerns Yamada getting a job and Kase-san getting sick and the date they had to miss as a result. Or do they? The volume leaves on an intimate cliff-hanger of sorts.

Basically, this volume has everything we've loved from the prior series. Kase-san is so cool but actually totally in love and insecure about Yamada. Yamada is still struggling with expressing her intimate feelings for Kase-san which contributes to Kase-san's insecurity. But we also get to watch the two of them work things out and move their relationship forward. They are becoming adults and the volume shows that they are moving beyond their early high-school romance.

Somehow, Kase-san as a series, including this new series, manages to have the sweetest of characters and yet never comes off as saccharine. They have distinct personalities, they love each other dearly, and they work through their issues. The art is whimsical and loose, cutesy without any fan service and supports the overall tone of the series well. It's an amazingly delicate balance that in most other hands wouldn't work. But it's impossible not to love these two characters, and love the way they love each other. 

There's not much to say other than if you like yuri, and if you like sweet, earnest characters and low-stakes character development, then Kase-san and Yamada is for you. If you haven't checked out the original series, please do, but you certainly could start here as well. Kase-san and Yamada volume 1 gets an awesome 8.5/10

  • Story interesting (0-10): 7 - it's all low-stakes, but still fun
  • Characters interesting (0-10): 8 - Kase-san is more real. vulnerable, and insecure than her "princely" archetype would suggest.
  • Quality prose/writing (0-10): 7 - there are so many swoon worthy moments
  • Emotionally plausible (0-10): 8 - I like that both characters have complex and conflicting emotions but their love also feels completely believable
BASIC SCORE (avg.): 7.5/10

  • Emotional insight/depth (0-5): 2 - Scenes in this volume reminded me of the trip to the aquarium in the prior series, with Kase-san's sweet insecurity leading to relationship growth between the two.
  • True LGBTQ+ representation (0-5): 0 - They are two girls in love who are also intimate with each other, but it's hard to call it representation since there hasn't been any coming out, they don't refer to themselves as lesbians, etc... I wish it would take that step - it would be brave for a "pure" yuri series to do it, but it could be so meaningful.
  • Female agency (0-5): 0 - not really what this series is about, but there are only women in it, so maybe?
  • Character growth/change (0-5): 2 - They keep moving forward, growing up, making mistakes, and fixing their relationship while taking it to the next level. It isn't static even though it's a "fluffy" series.
  • Quality art (0-5): 0 - I like it, but not enough to give it bonus points.
  • Other (0-5): 2 - giving it some extra points here for "feel-goodness" - you just feel good reading it.
BONUS POINTS (sum/8): +1

  • Homophobic/transphobic (0-5): 0
  • Misogynistic (0-5): 0
  • Fan service (0-5): 0
  • Child/adult relationship (0-5): 0
  • Exploitative (0-5): 0
PENALTY POINTS (-sum/2): -0



Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

All comments are moderated by a real person who only checks them once a day. Therefore, comments may take a while before they show up. Thanks for understanding. It's how we keep this a community of lovingkindness.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Remember: please talk about the work, and offer counter points to others' analyses but DO NOT ATTACK THE PERSON whose analysis you are countering. (no ad hominem comments) Thanks! <3