Kashimashi Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl

Kashimashi Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     October 25, 2007
Release Date: October 23, 2007


Kashimashi Vol. #3
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Yasuna and Tomari have become friends, and decided not to pressure Hazumu. They trust each other not to make a move, so the three girls can remain together. Yasuna gives up her chance, but a misunderstanding leads Tomari to expect the worst. Not wanting to lose, she reveals her true feelings to Hazumu in a halo of fireflies. Yasuna witnesses their passionate kiss and snaps. Now if Hazumu doesn't choose, he'll lose everything and everyone.

The Review!
The choices that Hazumu has been putting off begins to put everyone into a worse position as the series concludes its run.

Audio:
Media Blasters has several titles that are coming out with just a Japanese language track and this is one of them. Encoded at 192 kbps, the mix for the show is a full center one where there's very little noticeable directionality to it. It doesn't exactly require a lot of that nor much depth so what we get for this dialogue piece is simple but effective. Dialogue is clean and easy to understand while the music has a good feel to it. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in early 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The presentation of this series is one that's intentionally soft as it's used to evoke atmosphere and emotion. The transfer for it works pretty well overall with lots of good looking colors that don't have much noise or break-up to them. The show looks solid in general though it's not problem free. The main area that I kept running into with it is during the various pans and zooms where a fair bit of aliasing is visible. Mid range shots tended to suffer more and with this show featuring a lot of stills that are panned it happens fairly frequently. It's not a deal breaker with the presentation but it is a noticeable issue.

Packaging:
The front cover is nicely designed as it takes the Japanese artwork of the three leads and has them all together in bright and cheerful summer outfits with very happy expressions on their faces. Set against a light yellow background with yellow flower petals it certainly paints a very girly image that works well. The back cover uses the flowers to tie together the different areas where they have a strip of shots from the show through the center. The top half ha some character artwork and a decent summary of the premise while the bottom half has the episode counts and special features. Also listed along the bottom is the usual solid technical grid as well as some basic production information. A new tag is associated with this release as next to the AnimeWorks logo is a graphic that has "Yuri Fan" within it. No insert is included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The main menu uses the same artwork as the cover with the three principal characters all together with set against the light background with the floating flowers. With a soft yellow background and the soothing instrumental sounds playing to it, it's a very simple yet relaxing menu design. The logo looks good and the navigation along the right is bright and colorful while still being easy to navigate. Access times are nice and fast and with no real language selection to perform it just kicks off in playback fine. An additional subtitle track of just slates is provided but is not available from the menu, just on the fly.

Extras:
The only extra included for this volume is another of the voice actor interview pieces which centers around what the women think of themselves and their characters. It's very fluffy and silly but it fits with the actors and the kinds of characters they've played.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final volume of Kashimashi plays out with the last three episodes of the TV series and an OVA that ties it all together even more. Depending on how you prefer to see the relationships finish out, you may or may not want to watch the OVA as it basically takes the TV ending and then flips it in the other direction. At the least, it doesn't do this without a good reason and it does arguably make sense within the context of these characters.

While there has been serious material throughout the show when it comes to the romantic drama it presents, Kashimashi has also had a good deal of humor along the way to help keep things flowing without becoming too overdramatic. The last three episodes of the TV series keep some of the humor, but much of it and the fanservice aspects are ejected in favor of having these characters come to a conclusion about their relationships. Much of what has come before has centered on the very indecisive Hazumu, something that we've seen has affected him all his life and is really just a strong part of his personality. While he's adjusted surprisingly well to becoming a girl, he's facing a very big quandary by having to chose a girl to be with.

With some shows there's some characters, if not all of them, where you have to wonder where the attraction between them truly lies. In Kashimashi, the emotions and feelings tend to feel more honest, even with the amusing change in Asuta with regards to Hazumu. With Yasuna, her reasons are clear enough and her emotions are unsurprising even if her condition is highly unusual. Tomari is actually very clichéd with her feelings towards Hazumu as she takes on the role of a childhood friend who has long loved her friend but unable to properly express it. Yasuna's ability to pursue Hazumu only comes when he becomes a she and that provides a chance for some of them to find happiness. As there cannot be a real triad going here since it's nowhere near mainstream enough to be done, the result is that someone has to get hurt.

The focus on making that decision is what takes most of these episodes. Not only making the decision but actually following through on it and facing the consequences. Neither Yasuna nor Tomari can choose anymore. They're both in love with her and even when they try to back off from her to give some space, they're drawn back and almost lost without her. To their credit though, they do try to work together in a way to make sure Hazumu isn't stressed by it and each of the girls attempts to become friends as well. The usual kinds of misunderstandings get in the way though which is one of the weakest aspects of these episodes. In the end though, it does force the characters to talk openly and honestly with each other and it's beautifully done as there is simply pure honesty and heartfelt emotion behind all of it.

The bonus OVA episode is included as part of the main track here so it shifts into that easily after the final TV episode. I almost feel as if this shouldn't be done simply because the TV series itself ends quite well. Moving ahead four months later, it's nearly Christmas and everything that we saw at the conclusion has changed. It's all very much a logical progression of events for the characters, but it also feels like a bit of a cop out as it lets one of the girls get what she wanted to have but was denied. Each of them has had what they wanted through this, though one does make out far better because of the events overall of the series. Not unlike the end of the TV series, it's done very well and it is believable within the context of the series, but I would have far preferred them to stick with their first choice – whichever one it was – rather than flip like this. Either that or really just form a triad and let the characters explore something really interesting.

In Summary:
Despite the issues with how the series turns in the bonus OVA episode, Kashimashi has proven to be quite a lot of fun for the situations it presented. While it played in a lot of fanservice moments throughout, they were mostly kept to the men looking on and viewing the world through their perverted eyes. Even then however there were some wonderful moments that changed how you could really view them. The series does close out rather well with this volume as the hard choices have to be made and the characters must talk it out and follow through on it. Kashimashi isn't like most other relationship shows but it does share plenty of similar characteristics. The twelve episode run really was just the right length of time to explore this without going too far down the predictable route so many series do in stretching things out. Not only is it good fun but it's also an enjoyable romantic show with lots of heart and emotion.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Voice Actor Interviews

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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