By Hiromi Takashima. Released in Japan “Asagao to Kase-san” by Shinshokan, serialization ongoing in the magazine Hirari. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Jocelyne Allen, Adapted by Jenn Grunigen.
I’ve always said (perhaps a bit too often) that as long as something is well-written and enjoyable, it doesn’t matter that it’s a hoary old cliche. And likewise, with the yuri genre, just because something is as Story A as it gets does not mean its sweetness and cuteness are in any way diminished. This series is no exception, being light as air but ever so tasty. The girls are nice, their incipient romance is nice, and there is a shot of someone silhouetted against the setting sun, because if you’re going to throw in romantic tropes, you may as well use the kitchen sink as well. All of this adds up to a fun series that will make you smile.
As the author notes in the afterword, the magazine this series runs in is generally about yuri one-shots, and its very easy to tell this is a series of shorts about the same two people. (In fact, future volumes will be “Kase-san and _______” rather than a Vol. 2 or 3.) Kase-san is the tall sporty girl on the cover, a track star and school idol who also has some odd rumors hanging around her. The other girl is Yamada, who is shy and fretful and has a very low self-opinion of herself. You know the sort – there’s no way they could ever be interested in little old me. They bond over flowers, which Yamada is planting at the school, and then there are bike rides and shopping for shoes and blushing. So much blushing. Because, of course, these two girls are really into each other.
Most of the drama, such as it is, revolves around Yamada’s low self-esteem and how it leads her to almost sabotage her own friendship. Luckily, Kase-san is not as clueless as some of these archetypes can get, and so is able to, if not realize what is going on, at least rescue Yamada from being desperately sad. I liked the idea of the marathon, as it allows Yamada to work to improve herself, even though that gets torpedoed by a bunch of jerks running over first her flowers and then her. The volume is done from Yamada’s perspective, though I’m hoping a future volume may have a flasghback showing Kase’s own thoughts on their relationship. It all builts up to a confession and kiss in the nurse’s office, with Kase uncharacteristically unapologetic and Yamada crying in relief.
It’s safe to say that not much happens here – honestly, I’m having trouble filling out my word count. But I’m just so pleased to see Seven Seas putting out stories like these and Kindred Spirits on the Roof rather than “yuri for guys” like Netsuzou Trap. Cute girls meet and like each other. In the end, they kiss. Thankfully, this is not the end, as we’ll see Kase-san and Bento soon. for now, just revel in the adorable.