Kasimasi - Girl Meets Girl
Having been rejected by Yasuna after confessing to her, Hazumu ventures into the mountains to gather his scattered thoughts. Wishing upon a shooting star, he is quite surprised to see that it's actually a spaceship. A spaceship heading towards him.
Normally, Hazumu wouldn't have survived the crash, but the aliens took it upon themselves to rebuild his body and give his life back to him. Except.... they rebuilt him as a girl.
Gender-switching comedy is hardly anything new within the anime world. It's been more than ten years ago that a certain miss Takahashi already played havoc with a young boy that was, in a sense, changed into a girl, and I don't really know for sure whether even THAT was the first time the gender roles were reversed.
Anyway, what IS the main differences between boys and girls, aside from the blatantly obvious ones? Ask enough people, and you're bound to get a lot of different answers. Cultures, sociteties and religions do have some say in this, so the border isn't always so clearly cut.
But then, Kashimashi doesn't really ask any of the big questions either. Seemingly happy at providing us with normal drama, lightly sprinkled with comedy to lighten the mood if things get too serious, it's not exactly the title to invest in if you're looking for the deep subjects within the genre of the genders.
In a way, that's probably Kashimashi's biggest fault. It wants to be a serious drama, but doesn't seem to know entirely how to go about it. Adding the sci-fi elements (very light ones, mind you) does help alleviate some of the more... outrageous story ideas in the show, but the fact still remains that Kashimashi tends to fall into the bad habit of inventing its own plot elements without going into details on the what and the why. As such, it asks very much -- maybe TOO much -- of the viewers to take these plot elements by faith.
For instance, our main lead, Hazumu, gets a sex change. Nothing outrageous about that. It's already been put to good use in Ranma, and proved to be somewhat of a winning formula as far as gender confusion and shenanigans go. Ranma, who was trained by his father to be a "man among men", would therefor be rather handicapped by his new condition.
Hazumu suffers no such flaw. In fact, the show spends most of the time in the first episode making the audience very aware of just how feminine he really is. (From the point of the show's view, of course.) He's fairly soft-spoken, has an interest in botany (which, according to this show, is a rather feminine interest), is a bit of a crybaby and carries a general interest in other things that the show considers at least somewhat girlish. So, when the accidents happen, Kashimashi merely says "we're building this boy's body back into how it was before, except we switched the gender". No explanation why, and certainly with a sense of disbelief as we're supposed to just accept that an alien race that can rebuild a body from pretty much nothingness can't keep the gender as it was. Which means what? That they can build a pair of breasts for him and change his nether regions to a vagina instead? No explanation. I would at least expect them to show a short shot of a huge, scientific machine named "penis replicator" with a note attached by a piece of tape, said note saying "out of order" or something like that. At least try, Kashimashi.
(On second thought... maybe a "penis replicator" would insert a rather... obvious sexual connotation to the show that it didn't need, so... never mind, I guess.)
As I'm sure you've realized, Hazumu pretty much breezed into his new role as a member of the female gender, some minor issues notwithstanding. Which leaves us with the question "what's the point?" Hazumu could have been a girl from the start, and this show would be none the worse for wear. Granted, a few of the comedy elements would have made absolutely no sense, but.... well, between that and the plot elements, which would then be the least important in that regard? At any rate, expect to actually forget that Hazumu used to be a boy until the show chooses to remind you, which it does from time to time.
The second element, and also one of the bigger ones related to this show, is Yasuna's "plot convenience disease", which basically works in the way that she can't see boys or men clearly. To her, they're all vaguely human-shaped, hazy grey shadows. Now, while this condition isn't really explained in any way, it IS actually important to the story, and does play some bigger role at the end of the show. The problem is, made-up diseases like this tend not to work very well in serious drama situations. At least not in shows that are rooted in realism seen from the point of an earthling's view. While some of it is explained near the end, the viewers are nevertheless forced to endure having to question this for nearly the entire show.
If you can look past that, however, or at least put some faith in the show eventually getting there, you might actually find Kashimashi to be a surprisingly nice show. It's not great by any definition of the word. Heck, even calling it "good" would be a stretch. Still, since the show made the desicion to dismiss cheap yuri pandering (a la Strawberry Panic or Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru) in favor of actual romantic drama, I'm certainly not adverse to cutting it some slack. Granted, the fact that one of our main triangle used to be a boy doesn't really change the fact that we're talking lesbian romance here. Again, I don't really have a problem with that, as it's handled rather realistically and, dare I say it, tastefully. It IS the main core of the show, so naturally, the road to resolution is both long and painful. Tempers flare, personalities clash and people cry. A lot. This is where Kashimashi really finds its strength as a show. Granted, the script could probably use some work... and less cheese, but hey...
To offset the more dramatical parts of the show, comedic moments are introduced. They range from the actually funny (Hazumu's whole "finding his place as a girl"), the funny-but-pathetic (Asuta's confusion over his "best buddy suddenly becoming awfully cute") and the somewhat creepy (Hazumu's father and his rather obsessive interest in taking a bath with his newfound daughter, or even taking ecchi pictures of her.) The teacher also deserves a mention, being 35 and unmarried, much to her dismay. She spends most of her onscreen time obsessing over that fact and generally falling into every single hole in the ground she encounters or falling off highrises in a fit of overenthusiastic passion. It joins Asuta's "why are you doing this to me, Hazumu" problem in the patheticness scales, but works well enough for the show. On the top of the funny list, however, is Hazumu's parents' hilariously tactless declaration on the day they got their "new" daughter home -- they've always wanted a girl anyway, so this was certainly no bad thing.
And that's pretty much the entire show. It's rather aggravating to watch at times, but seems to have no problem raising smiles whenever it wants to, either. The characters, as they are, bring much of the believability of the show, despite the alien elements. It's very much down to earth and pleasant to look at, if nothing else. The rather soft and detailed art style does help, of course, as does the generally great animation quality.
I should dislike this show, I really should. For its down-to-earthness, it's very teen drama at times, and it's got plotholes with enough room to park that spaceship inside. But when it's not stumbling over itself in cornyness, it just works. As such, I'm going to go out on a limb when rating this show. If you find cheesy lines or unexplained (or at least NEARLY unexplained) plot elements exceptionally disagreeable, remove a star or two.
Surprisingly decent. I expected a lot worse than this, all in all. This rating does include the OAV, which is basically the REAL last episode of the whole story. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The show is about a boy that transforms into a girl. As such, fanservice is to be expected. Even so, it's actually kept to a minimal -- some gags at the beginning episodes, mostly. And yes, there are boob grabs, though of the general "hey, those aren't supposed to be there" or "is that..." variety.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 release, sub only.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Kasimasi - Girl Meets Girl © 2006 JC Staff / Kasimasi Production Team
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