Type: TV Series + OVA
Episode Count: 12 + 1
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Sci-Fi
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 01 Mar 2009
Grade revised 23 Nov 2011 (was B)
Shoujo-ai… with a twist.
Hazumu Osaragi is a very delicate high school boy. He’s just confessed his love to Yasuna Kamiizumi, and much to his dismay, she rejects him. As Hazumu wanders the mountains that night trying to figure out what went wrong, an accident with a passing spaceship nearly ends his life. The aliens aboard the ship save Hazumu’s life, but through a mixup his body has been changed and he is sent back as a girl. Hazumu’s life has been irreversibly altered, and now he she must not only learn how to be a girl, but also find out what that means for his her relationships with his her friends.
The concept of Kashimashi may sound ridiculous, but as it turns out, the story is actually quite good. Romances between girls aren’t anything new in anime, but here an interesting twist is given to the concept, in that Hazumu used to be a boy. The early part of the series takes a more comedic approach in Hazumu’s learning to adjust to being a high school girl, starting with her wardrobe, including of course the school uniform. Watching her shop for new clothes with her childhood friend Tomari (a girl who always protected Hazumu since they were little), Yasuna (Hazumu’s crush), and Asuta (Hazumu’s best guy friend) is just the beginning.
While comedy is a strong point in the series, it’s also a very good drama, for reasons not the least of which are Hamuzu being a girl now. Her longtime best friend Asuta now has to figure out how to treat Hazumu, especially since he now finds her attractive. Furthermore, now that Hazumu is a girl, Yasuna, who had just rejected him when he was a boy, finds herself drawn to Hazumu. Tomari is also haunted by a promise she made with Hazumu when they were both little. This all provides for a very interesting web of relationships.
One thing I particularly like about Kashimashi is that it takes the high road in its story. Something with a premise like this could have easily gone for fanservice and ecchi humor, and it would not have been an unexpected route to take. But it didn’t. For all of the humor and slightly off-color jokes that it does have, the drama is played seriously. The nature of Hazumu’s relationships with the girls in her life are presented with real feeling and emotion, and in my case, after the early episodes, I started to forget that Hazumu used to be a boy. In other words, instead of seeing a girl who used to be a boy on the screen, I just saw a girl. After all, in the story’s world, Hazumu is one hundred percent female once she’s been sent back. It’s the psychological fakeout of knowing that she was a boy up until then which makes the story unique, something which even the characters themselves have to adjust to.
Kashimashi is a good comedy, and it’s also a very good drama. It provides an interesting take on the idea of a girls’ romance, and it all manages to work pretty well. I found the character designs to be very nice… simple but cute. The soundtrack is also quite effective in conveying the drama with gentle string and piano pieces, and the comedic bits have lighthearted music to match as well. If you want to see something in the shoujo-ai category that’s a little bit different, Kashimashi has a blend of drama and light comedy that hits the mark.