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Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~ #1
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Written by maehara   
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 00:00
KashimashiWhen effeminate young boy Hazumu Osaragi is hit by an alien spacecraft, his problems are just beginning - in accordance with interplanetary law, the aliens revive Hazumu, but in the process they make a small mistake and bring him back as a woman.  In a lot of ways that suits Hazumu just fine, but along with having to learn to behave like a girl, he has to deal with the two girls in his life who suddenly seem to like him more than ever...

Okay, I admit - I was so hooked on the Kasimasi anime that I couldn't wait for the DVD release.  Fortunately, the manga is getting its English-language release first, so I have something to buy to let me get my shoujo-ai fix in the meantime.

Hazumu likes flowers, can't stand up for himself and in his / her (hir?) original form looked more like a girl anyway, so it's a positive favour that the aliens brought him back as a girl.  The one big complication comes with his lovelife - he was in love with classmate Yasuna Kamiizumi before the change, and his feelings haven't diminished after.  As luck would have it, while Yasuna had turned him down as a boy (for reasons explained towards the end of this volume), she'd be quite happy to pair up with her now that she's female.  Does Yasuna swing away from the norm, or is there something else going on?

The third member of the love-triangle the story is based on is Hazumu's childhood friend, Tomari Kurusu.  Tomari's a definite tomboy, and has been Hazumu's bodyguard and protector ever since they were little kids, so they have a special sort of friendship - and now that Hazumu's a girl, Tomari's beginning to find her feelings for her growing into something else.  Along with that comes a growing jealousy over Hazumu's friendship with Yasuna.

If all that sounds a little serious - in places, it is, but the story's also liberally sprinkled with humour playing on the difficulties Hazumu has, now that 'he' has to deal with suddenly being a girl.  There are a number of fringe characters who are also played pretty much for laughs - alien Sora and human-form spaceship Jan-Puu, best bud Asuta, accident-prone teacher Namiko-sensei and Hazumu's parents.  Together, they provide enough distractions from the love triangle that it (and its attendant angst) never get prominent enough to put a dampener on the story.  The end result, is a story that's very easy and enjoyable to read.

It's very well presented, too - artwork's very clean and appealing on the eye, and there are some nice pieces of colour artwork in the book that really brighten things up.

Kashimashi's premise is simple enough & there aren't any elements here that haven't been done before.  The way it's all been brought together and portrayed, though, makes it stand out from the crowd as a manga that's thoroughly enjoyable, and a little bit different from the usual romantic comedy.  Definitely worth a look.

Rating - ****

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