Kashimashi 1 by Akahori & Katsura Manga Review

Title: Kashimashi #1

Authors: Satoru Akahori & Yukimaru Katsura

Publisher: Seven Seas

ISBN:  1933164344

May Contain Spoilers

Hazumu is a a shy and delicate boy who has just been rejected after confessing his love to his friend Yasuna.  Distraught, he heads for the mountains, seeking comfort from the flowers that grow there.  When an alien’s spaceship malfunctions and lands on him, the aliens repair his body – only now he’s a female!  How will Hazumu cope in his new body, and why is Yasuna suddenly telling him, er, her, that she loves her?  And why is Hazumu’s childhood friend, Tomari, having such conflicting emotions because of Hazumu’s gender change?

This is a book that I would never have glanced at twice, and it would have been my loss.  The characters are quirky and the plot, though silly, is engaging.  Hazumu’s parents are creepy, especially his father, who keeps coaxing him into the bath.  His parents are delighted to finally have the daughter that they’ve always longed for, and as Hazumu doesn’t really have much choice, he is resigned to his fate.  When the aliens, Sora Hitoshi and his spaceship Jan-puu move in, his life is turned even more upside down as they observe every move he makes.

Yasuna, we learn, is unable to see males clearly.  To her, they are undefined, inorganic objects.  Before Hazumu was turned into a girl, she could vaguely see his face, and as she got to know him, she could see him more clearly.  She wanted to return his love, but she was afraid that someday, she would no longer be able to see him.  When he changed into a girl, she could suddenly see him, clearly, and she realized that she loved him.  Hazumu is taken aback by her confession, because, now that he’s a girl, he doesn’t think they can be together.

Tomari is Hazumu’s childhood friend and protector.  After Hazumu’s change, she has a rough time figuring out how she feels for her friend.  She’s certainly jealous the attention Yasuna is suddenly showering on him.  To add to the confusion, his best friend, Asuta, starts seeing him in a different light.  Hazumu makes a beautiful girl, and she has boobs!

If I have one complaint, it’s that Hazumu accepts his new gender too easily.  Possessing a wishy-washy personality, he floats along whichever way the plot takes him, without making much of an impact on events.  He only reacts to the other characters, he never moves the action forward himself.

The art is engaging, with lots of variety to the page layouts.  The characters are expressive, and it’s easy to follow the emotions that flitter across their faces.  The girls’ school uniform, however, is rather ugly, with absolutely no "cool" factor what so ever.  The big bows are hideous! 

Grade: B

Review copy supplied by Seven Seas.

Recommended for Older Teens