Kashimashi started as a yuri manga by Akahori Satoru, the same writer behind the generic Bakuretsu Hunters. He was also one of the writers for Kyatto Ninden Teyandee, which was pretty decent. In 2006, the manga got adapted into a twelve episode anime, and a follow up one episode OVA, by Studio Hibari, the same studio behind the mediocre Venus Versus Virus. So, given the people behind it can we anticipate something that’s mediocre or just all right or will it surprise us in a positive or negative way? Let’s look at Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl and find find out. Keep in mind, I will be covering both the series and OVA.
We open with young Hazumu wandering around some hills to get over his broken heart after he was turned down by Yasuna, the girl he likes. The melancholy scene is interrupted by a spaceship crashing into him. But it’s okay, they reconstruct him, just in a female body. Apparently these aliens can rebuild someone who gets mangled by their ship, but they can’t figure out their gender or redo their reconstruction process to fix an error like that. They can change his DNA to make him completely physically female, but they don't have the ability to change it. It's never a good sign when an integral part of the premise is so stupid that even slightly thinking about it hurts your brain. Thus he begins his new life in his female body while caught in a love triangle with Yasuna and his childhood friend, Tomari. Strange, I thought this was a yuri romance, not a romance about a cisman who becomes a transman due to bizarre and contrived circumstances.
Let’s start with the faults of the series, and there are a lot in this one. The first problem is that the romance is really melodramatic. We’re talking bad soap opera levels. It’s not just really stupid, but it clashes with the various attempts at humor. Speaking of, the comedic elements in this are absolutely horrible. One of our big jokes is that the teacher takes pratfalls, which could work except that they’re ridiculously forced. To name an example, there’s a scene where someone suddenly shouts in class, the teacher hops backwards on one leg thrice or four times and falls out the window. How does anyone manage that? The clumsiest person on the planet couldn’t be that clumsy if they tried. However, compared to the other big joke in this series, that’s comedic gold. The second major joke we get over and over and over again is that Hazumu’s father acts like a creepy incestuous pervert towards his son now that he has a female body. That’s not funny, it’s creepy. It’s vile. It’s nauseating. It doesn't make it better when you add his wife domestically abusing him for his comeuppance.
There’s also the dialogue to consider. It’s really badly done. There’s one scene where one of the girls is talking to Hazumu and it’s supposed to be really sad and dramatic, but she’s prattling on about his future children and grandchildren. Which is odd since he has a body that’s biologically female and his potential love interests are both girls. If we’re going to give her credit, we could assume that she’s talking about adopted kids or possibly children obtained through one of the processes that allow two women to have children together, but it still feels like an incredibly awkward and idiotic thing to bring up in context. There’s also the problem I already brought up with the basic premise itself. We’re supposed to believe that these advanced aliens can reconstruct a human body, but can’t reverse the process or figure out what someone’s sex is? Even for a work that has a lot of elements that are supposed to be comedic, that’s pushing it.
Then we have the biggest problem with the series. The fundamental flaw that really makes the whole thing irredeemable. This is a supposedly yuri series that seems to actively abhor yuri. It’s like Ice in that regard. Every single character who gets involved with someone of the same sex has to have some convoluted, nonsensical reasoning behind it. For Hazumu, it’s that he’s a boy who had his DNA mucked with by aliens. For Tomari it’s that she liked him when he was still a boy and that makes it okay. Yasuna also liked him as a boy but she gets the additional element of not being able to see men except as shapeless blobs. She must have the same plot contrivance disease as Kei did in Onegai Teacher, just with different symptoms. There are a few girls who offhandedly mention liking Tomari, but they also say she’s like a boy. Could you imagine how much it would weaken Sasameki Koto, Blue Drop, Sakura Trick, Grand Pilgrimage or any other yuri work if the writer spent a lot of time coming up with insulting explanations for why the girls liked other girls? It would be a really stupid decision especially since you don’t need an overly complicated explanation. Some people are just attracted to the same sex. It’s not a big deal. It's rather inexplicable, really. Why would you write a romance story about two people of the same sex if you don't think it's okay for two people of the same sex to be attracted to one another?
The characters don’t help matters. A lot of the side characters exist for a single joke, that gets repeated throughout whenever that character shows up, and don’t really have personalities. Even the main cast is just made up of weak stereotypes. The result is that we get a cast that ranges from actively annoying to just being badly done. There are no complex or interesting characters in this.
This is exactly what I'd look like after having my body altered. I'd sit and smile like an idiot.
The art in this is kind of weak, but not all that bad. The main problem with it is just that it’s lazy with environments that lack detail and character designs that don’t seem to be trying. It’s odd because there’s a computer that gets given a female body based on Hazumu’s and we’re told that she looks like him, but all the girls in this have basically the same face so I don’t know how you’d be able to tell without the exposition. Even the alien spaceship is boring looking. It's just a long cylindrical thing.
This is one of those series where they got talented actors but you wouldn’t know it to hear their performances in this. Our main trio is voiced by Horie Yui (also the voice of Nepgear), Tamura Yukari (the voice of Nanoha) & Ueda Kana (the voice of Toosaka Rin). All three of them are really good actresses who have given some amazing performances, including in anime with stronger yuri relationships like Nanoha, Neptunia &Maria Sama Ga Miteru. The problem is that their characters don’t really have anything to them and, consequently, their performances come across as weak. They don’t get it as badly as some of the actors for supporting characters. Mizutani Yuuko & Yasumura Makoto both sound terrible in this with really exaggerated performances that are just obnoxious to listen to. Hosoi Soshi’s music is forgettable but inoffensive. Which makes it the best aspect of the series.
Kashimashi is complete rubbish. The romance is overly melodramatic. The characters are pants. The comedy is painful and disturbing. There are a lot of things that are completely stupid. Then we have its biggest failing. It’s a supposedly yuri series, but not really, that seems to have serious problems with yuri existing. My final rating for Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl is a 2/10.
Published by Mischa A