The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~

Title: Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~
Genre: Romance/Drama
Company: Bandai Visual/Kashimashi Production Team/Lantis/Media Works/Studio Hibari
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 12 Jan 2006 – 30 Mar 2006

Synopsis: Osaragi Hazumu has finally worked up the courage to confess to the girl he likes, Kamiizumi Yasuna. But in a bizarre twist of fate, after he is rejected, he is killed by a crash-landing alien spaceship. Thanks to their advanced technology, the aliens resurrect Hazumu, but, much to the surprise of Yasuna and Hazumu’s childhood friend, Kurusu Tomari, Hazumu is now a girl.

The Highlights
Music: Complements mood well, particularly in dramatic scenes.
Seiyuu: Big names shine.
Characters: Interesting, but not enough is done with them.
Plot: Filled with blatant and silly plot devices.
Ending: Inevitable, yet dreadfully disappointing.

I’m embarrassed I didn’t see it coming. But building a story on plot devices is much like building a house of cards: eventually it’s going to come crashing down. To Kashimashi’s credit, things didn’t go truly awry until the final episode, but with a terribly uninspired ending and bland comedy that delivers miss after miss, not even lesbians can save this love story.

Even technically, Kashimashi has its flaws. The art is exceptionally pretty to look at, but the animation is hindered by an overly frequent use of super deformity. Super deformity is something I don’t mind when it augments the comedy (see ARIA or Azumanga Daioh for a lesson on how to use super deformity effectively), but Kashimashi’s comedy is weak and as such it’s not a long putt to suspect that it was merely a rather unsubtle budget saving technique. Music is one of Kashimashi’s strong points, as it was used well to create mood, particularly in the more dramatic scenes. Especially impressive is the way the cliffhanger episode endings perfectly segued into a fittingly melancholic ED theme, “Michishirube”, which was sung by Yuumao, as well as different members of the seiyuu cast at various episodes. On the topic of seiyuu cast, it’s one that boasts some monster names, from Tamura Yukari (Takamachi Nanoha from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Ranpha Franboise from Galaxy Angel) to the always delightful Horie Yui (Sawachika Eri from School Rumble, Chanohata Tamami from Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~), and equally one that delivers a near faultless performance.

But where Kashimashi really falls over is where it counts. The characters are given well-established traits and interesting flaws that are partially explored, but they never grow significantly from their experiences or interactions. The story is literally built on plot device after plot device, ranging from silly to plain ludicrous, from gender-reassignment aliens to YURIVISION™. What makes it acceptable for the most part of the series is that it makes for moments of high dramatic tension, but it all crashes down at the ending. It’s here that Kashimashi reaps the consequences of its ill-developed characters and artificial plot progression. A strong, rewarding ending just isn’t believable given the strength of the characters, so instead we are offered the alternative… which is essentially a copout.

Other than a few dramatic sequences, Kashimashi can’t claim to offer anything deep or innovative to the immense love triangle subgenre. The signs early on are of something not dissimilar to Midori Days’s brand of “romantic peculiarity” comedy, but when the comedy dies after the first few episodes, it becomes clear that Kashimashi is aiming to deliver an engrossing love story. Unfortunately, the love story never becomes intensely absorbing and the ending is so trite, it cheapens the entire ordeal. In the end, all this really delivers is a truckload of blatant plot devices.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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