Saturday, March 23, 2013

Manga Review: Asagao to Kase-san volume 1

Takashima Hiromi's Asagao to Kase-san (Morning Glories and Kase-san) hails from Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari, a relative fledgling in the admittedly not very big world of yuri magazines. (You've basically got Yuri Hime and Hirari. Tsubomi recently stopped being printed, but its publisher has continued its unfinished series online.) Asagao to Kase-san doesn't travel any ground that hasn't been tread many a time, but it's a sweet, sincere falling-in-love-in-high-school series that I look forward to seeing develop beyond the point it reaches in this volume.

Yamada is the plant appointee at her school. She loves gardening, so this duty suits her to a tee. Every morning, she comes to school to water the plants. One morning she sees popular, attractive Kase, the star member of her school's track and field team, taking care of the morning glories she planted. After their conversation that morning, Yamada can't get Kase out of her head. It's made apparent to us that Kase likes Yamada back. They start hanging out, neither quite realizing that their interest is mutual.

When Yamada's best friend notices that she's spending an awful lot of time with Kase, she tells her that rumor has it Kase is gay and her ex is on the track and field team also. (But oh, don't worry, Kase's standards are probably too high for your level, Yamada, she half-jokingly adds.) Yamada gets jealous of Kase's rumored ex and can't bring herself to mention it to Kase. I would like to see the gossip about Kase being gay addressed further in this series.

Kase, tipped off by Yamada's worried best friend, saves Yamada from a karaoke outing with some of the other girls in her class, who don't make any bones about how much of a loser they think she is and make fun of her singing. As someone who sucks at singing but enjoys doing it anyway, I sympathize with Yamada. lol This chapter's resolution is really cute.

Later, Kase helps Yamada buy sneakers and train for the race at their school's athletic festival so she won't lag behind too badly. (My favorite moment in this volume, btw, is the semi-hand holding scene after they go shopping.)

Yamada gets injured in the race. Kase panics when she sees her all bloodied and bandaged up in the infirmary window and forgets the race to run to Yamada. As a result, they finally become a couple. ^_^

So yup, this is a cute series so far. :-) Yamada and Kase are both pleasant, likeable people, and their tentative, none-too-complicated steps towards coupledom make for some enjoyable reading. Although this series is a good example of solid character writing making well-trodden territory still entertaining, I count the expressiveness of Takashima Hiromi's character renderings (which come close to being precious, but manage not to cross that line, imho) as this series' biggest asset so far- particularly how she draws Yamada's reactions.

This volume isn't going for anything ambitious- a feel-good look at two people who like each other- but it does what it is trying to do well. I look forward to seeing where this series goes in its next volume's worth of content, which will focus on the much less-covered territory of two girls who are already going out moving forward.

Story: B
Art: B+
Overall: A smile-inducing B


Overlord-G said...

The first episode established the relationship in a fun way and now it is time for the second part that often makes or breaks manga like this, the relationship part of the story.

I'm intrigued to see how they'll handle the relationship and which issues of real life lesbian relationships will be covered.

Anonymous said...

Hey Katherine, did you see that there is an anime on this now? I still like the manga better though. The anime feels a bit too fanservicey and not as touching as the manga

Katherine Hanson said...

Sorry about the delayed response -- I did see it! I do like the manga best for the purposes of getting the entire story, but I actually really enjoyed the anime as an adaptation and didn't notice more fan service happening there. I can understand it not being everyone's cup of tea, though!