Hey, guys. It’s Ike. I recently got the final volume for Kase-san manga and I’ve had the chance to reread it, so it’s about time I give it a review. Disclaimer, there is going to be minor spoilers, but I will give you a spoiler-free review before that.
A bit of a backstory, I remember reading Kase-san back in late 2012/early 2013. It was cute, but I remember dismissing it for the whole misunderstood scenario that happens in every volume. I didn’t really see much on the surface. But after what happened last year, and being able to make room for me to grow, rereading Kase-san certainly gives me the feels.
Long story short, it’s a great read. Throughout the five volumes, you get to see their relationship grow along with the art. It’s a coming-of-age type story and it displays all of Yamada’s insecurities and anxiety as heart-wrenching as it is. But it also shows the meaning of communication and how it ultimately fixes just about everything in these romance stories but it seems like nobody ever wants to talk. Sorry for the rant.
Heading into the review, I’d have to put this up with Bloom Into You as one of my favorite yuri. I’ve never related to any other characters more than I have with Yamada and Yuu from Bloom Into You. Having been able to read it in a new light, I can see Kase-san as her own character instead of an archetype. To which, the story between the two main characters really does play out the role of the shy girl dating the popular girl.
Yamada displays a lot of her insecurities and that shows whenever she praises Kase-san. She can’t simply praise Kase-san, she has to bring herself down and say or think about how she’s not as good as her. She believes her friend, Mikawa, without a single drop of doubt about rumors of Kase-san and she lets her anxiety overtake her thoughts. This all boils down to the end of each volume where the two MC talk to each other and the problem is solved.
Kase-san has issues with her own anxiety and that’s something you start seeing more of as she continues dating Yamada. She opens up a lot more about her feelings and she also begins realizing how Yamada is feeling without asking her. This is the same for Yamada as well. When we get context of how she was before she met Yamada, it’s easy to understand her character as this person who’ve built a reputation as a good runner and had to shield herself from her jealous senpai.
Then there’s Mikawa. Going back to what I was talking about with the plotline of the shy girl dating the popular girl, it usually follows up with a group of girls who are jealous of said shy girl and would do just about anything in order to sabotage their relationship. Or it’d be a certain individual. Mikawa is essentially that person. As you go on to volume three, you’ll start to notice that Mikawa is the person who stirs the pot of trouble.
However, she isn’t doing it out of spite and that’s the big difference and the reason why she’s still a likable character. She’s simply a friend worried about a friend. If Yamada was more like Mikawa, then maybe things would be a bit more comical than it is. Unfortunately, she isn’t and that’s why we have a clash of personality.
Speaking of girls, the first volume of Kase-san has some mean girls in it. Yamada’s classmates don’t have a positive opinion on her and even questions why she would come to the karaoke party without Mikawa. They make fun of her within the first chapter by calling her a dummy and they make fun of her again during the karaoke party. After that, the second volume kicks in, they’re in a new class, and suddenly, the only problem we have now is Mikawa. We see a small snippet of frustration from her classmates in volume four, but that’s more of a frustration you’d have towards a coworker who isn’t doing their job. Other than that, the mean girls seem to fizzle out right after volume one.
Another thing that I find is weird is the drawing of male characters. I was so used to reading the latest chapters of Kase-san and the sequel that I completely forgot that the men once had faces and not just a character plastered on where their face is supposed to be. In fact, I was so used to it that I thought this was because of Yamada’s anxiety and perhaps a fear of men. Reading back on this series, it looks more like the mangaka doesn’t really want to draw faces on male characters unless they’re significant.
As per usual, we can’t have a romance story without the ex showing up. The difference is that there is no ex and everything is played within Yamada’s head. Everything comes from Mikawa about how Kase-san only dates girls from sports clubs and how she has an ex-girlfriend. It all builds up until we finally meet the “ex-girlfriend” Inoue. As we find out, they weren’t dating at all and Inoue isn’t all that bad.
The ending is heartwarming and it rewards the readers well. It sets up beautifully for the sequel and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Overall, the manga is described as a coming-of-age story and it stays true to that statement. We see growth over the year and we see the ultimate test of their relationship: Figuring out their lives after high school. I feel like this is the perfect story for a person with anxiety because as we’ve learned in this manga, it’s nothing but positivity, encouragement, and love.
I love the art and I love the improvements over each volume. The OVA brings out a lot out of this art style with its colors and it really enhances my experience for the manga.
That’s going to be it for my review of Kase-san. Let me know what you think about this series in the comments down below.
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