In high school, many girls are preoccupied with finding their first boyfriend. So when Yuma starts dating Takeda, she’s happy… but also completely nervous. Her best friend, Hotaru, decides to take matters into her own hands and volunteers herself for ‘practice’.

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[FINAL IMPRESSION] Spring 2017 春

For me, finding new series to watch in Spring 2017 was more difficult than usual, thanks to my list of rules that I’d decided to follow. But it was a challenge that I was more than happy to accept, and even if I wouldn’t have usually chosen a few of the anime I’ve watched, it’s definitely given me a break from the countless high school series out there.

To check out my first impression of each series, click the links in the titles.

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[REVIEW] Asagao to Kase-san MV

An adaptation of Hiromi Takashima’s Kase-san manga, the Asagao to Kase-san video follows the tale of two high school girls in love. While tending the school’s flowerbeds, Yamada meets Kase-san, an athletic tomboy on the school’s track team. Kase-san helps Yamada and they walk home together. Instantly smitten, the girls promise to meet again. As they grow closer, their feelings grow too.


Watch the MV here. Spoilers ahead.

In the last few years, there have been three anime music videos that have taken the otaku community by storm. From daoko’s ME!ME!ME! and its possible prequel GIRL, to Porter Robinson and Madeon’s Shelter, the MV format is a perfect way of achieving widespread popularity. Because the videos are short and often available on legal streaming sites like YouTube, it’s so much more accessible than full length anime. And because they don’t use much dialogue (if any) there’s usually no need for subtitles. Yes, it does add an extra layer of meaning if you can understand the lyrics of the song, but the actual plotline is still perfectly understandable without it.

Although, the meaning doesn’t necessarily have to be obvious. ME!ME!ME!, GIRL and Shelter went viral for that very reason, sparking debate over different interpretations of the story. I’m hoping that Asagao to Kase-san has the same success, because I absolutely love it, but it probably won’t because there’s absolutely no room for interpretation.

Any subtext between Yamada and Kase-san is made text, with no way to read their affection for each other as platonic. It’s quite simply a love story, just like we’ve seen in so many anime before.


Translation: Good job today, let’s walk home together again!!

Asagao to Kase-san is full of the typical tropes from high school romance series. They walk home together, share a scene on the school’s rooftop, and watch the sunset. Yamada even rides on the back of Kase-san’s bike; something found in Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso and played for laughs in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. There’s no denying that Kousei has feelings for Kaori and there’s no denying that Sakura has feelings for Nozaki. Just like there’s no denying that Yamada and Kase-san like each other too.

But if there was any room for doubt left, the girls kiss, confirming what we’d known all along.


ちゅっ~ ❤

It’s sugary sweet but it’s so cute, I don’t even mind. The art style fits it perfectly, with its absolutely beautiful watercolour-esque scenery and its expressive characters.

The song choice fits perfectly too. Kimi no Egao is about a person who’s met someone that changed them, giving them a dream for the future. During the chorus, the lyrics say: “Now I have found something precious, something that I want to protect.” During the moment the two girls meet, the lyrics say: “Your smile and your voice created my future”. During the scene where Yamada is upset (which leads to their kiss) the lyrics say: “I don’t know the reason for your tears that day, beyond the upset I saw a path leading to a dream” (all translations via pltgokuhanako). The song isn’t specifically ‘sung’ by one girl to another, but it seems to come from both of them. Because of that, it’s implied that Yamada and Kase-san feel the exact same way about each other, wanting to stay together forever.


Morning Glories (and Kase-san)

The girls meet while Yamada is looking after the school’s morning glory flowers, or asagao in Japanese. In Hanakotoba, the Japanese language of flowers, asagao plants mean “willful promises”. I’ve talked about Hanakotoba on this blog before because flowers are very important in Japanese culture, so I doubt that morning glories were chosen just because they look pretty. Pairing the flowers’ meaning with the song’s lyrics, it’s as if the girls have made promises to stay by each other’s side, swearing to protect that precious thing that they’ve found.

But it’s not just the morning glory that has been linked to romantic relationships between women. Historically, bisexual and lesbian women would give violets to the women they loved, as a reference to the poet Sappho. More recently, lilies have been associated with lesbianism. In American TV show Glee, one girl gives bouquets of lilies to her soulmate, calling them the “lesbians of flowers”. In British movie Imagine Me and You, a florist tells her female love interest that the lily means “I dare you to love me.” In Japanese anime Yuri Kuma Arashi, lilies feature heavily in the series. In fact, the whole yuri genre is named after the lily. So if the asagao joins the violet and lily as a ‘gay’ flower, then I say, the more the merrier.


Can we have more, please?

I’m really hoping that this leads to a full series. And it possibly will. Kase-san’s staff have worked on popular series like Steins;Gate, Akame ga Kill and Re:Zero, so it doesn’t make sense for them to invest their time in a music video… unless it grows into something bigger. Literally my only issue with Asagao to Kase-san is that there isn’t more of it, and judging by social media, I’m not the only one.

But if it stays as a promotional video for the manga, it’s definitely done its job. The timing’s just right too; Asagao to Kase-san was first published in English less than three months ago. If you love yuri and shoujo ai, I really recommend watching the video and buying the manga because you never know, we could just get a full anime out of it.


If you liked Asagao to Kase-san, you’ll like…


Tamen de Gushi

Asagao to Kase-san is very reminiscent of Chinese web-comic Tamen de Gushi, and anyone who likes one is bound to like the other. In both stories, a quiet blonde meets a brunette tomboy and they fall in love. I’ve been following Tamen de Gushi for eight months now and saw the similarities straight away, but even if they’re alike they’re definitely not the same.

Spring 2017 Anime: Looking Ahead

With a new anime season fast approaching, I’ve decided that this time, I’m going to set myself a few rules.

I’ve recently hit my milestone of watching over 100 anime and looking at my list, I have a bit of a diversity problem. Sure, my taste ranges from Akira to YuruYuri, but I definitely tend to stick to what I know.

So I’ve proposed four rules to follow when choosing what to watch this season…

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[FIRST IMPRESSION] Tamen de Gushi 她们的故事 Chapters 1-10


Tamen de Gushi is an ongoing manhua by Tan Jiu, first published in 2014. With currently over 100 chapters, it tells the story of Sun Jing, a hopeless lesbian infatuated with a girl she saw at the train station. Sun Jing and her group of friends are the troublemakers of her school, playing pranks and getting sent out of class. But all that bravado melts away when confronted with beautiful women, and when Sun Jing approaches Qiu Tong at the station to get her number, she freezes and runs away. Determined to at least talk to her, she waits at the same spot, hoping that they’d meet again.

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[REVIEW] Bodacious Space Pirates モーレツ宇宙海賊

In July 2015, I’d gone on holiday with my best friend, and on a whim, I bought part one of Bodacious Space Pirates. The title was unusual to pique my interest and it was only £5 so I figured that an impulse buy was justified. If you’d have told me then that it was one of the most LGBT and feminist friendly anime that I’ve ever watched, I would have laughed in your face.

For a series based on a manga called “Miniskirt Space Pirates”; the expectations weren’t high to say the least. While I was comforted slightly by the age rating on the DVD, previous experience had taught me to expect the worst- poorly executed fanservice and no real plot substance. But I was pleasantly surprised on both counts.


Captain Marika

Bodacious Space Pirates, or Mouretsu Uchuu Kaizoku, is the story of Marika Katou, a young girl balancing life as a high school student and waitress simultaneously. She learns that her estranged father, Gonzaemon, had died on duty as a space pirate and it turns her life upside down. According to the Letter of Marque, a pirate’s licence, only the next of kin is allowed to take over the ship. So Marika decides to become captain of the Bentenmaru, so the Letter stays valid. The only problem is- will she be able to educate herself in the ways of piracy at the same time as getting an education?

Bodacious-Space-Pirates-Chiaki-Kurihara-cosplay-costume-Version 01-image

Chiaki: the tsundere transfer student

The best thing about this series is that it doesn’t try too hard. A lot of series attempt to be appealing by shoehorning awkward fanservice in where it doesn’t belong. Because of this, it’s no secret that I’m not a massive fan of harem-type anime because the genre is incredibly guilty of going overboard on the sexy. But an advantage of the cast being largely female is that the chance of that is lower, and there’s more of a focus on friendship instead of romance. Bodacious Space Pirates could have easily gone down the sexy schoolgirl route, but instead it’s an innocent adventure. I can’t recall any upskirt shots, even in anti-grav.

This series’ strength lies in its women. From high school students, to pirates, to hackers and CEOs, they interact with each other perfectly. The majority of problems are solved by girls supporting each other and the rest are solved through the belief that they are capable enough to figure it out themselves. Through hard work and dedication, they prove themselves time and time again, especially in the case of Captain Marika, who doesn’t win every time but tries her hardest regardless. One of the best character developments is seeing Chiaki Kurihara, the aloof tsundere, opening herself up to the girls of Hakuoh Academy.


Look at that canon yuri.

And one of the most refreshing things of the series is the fact that not only is there only one confirmed relationship, but it’s between two girls. Keeping up the lack of sexualisation, both Jenny and Lynn (or Rin depending on your translation) are portrayed so well, with the overused idea of their relationship being ‘risqué’ or ‘inappropriate’ kept well away. The cast are understandably surprised, but they move on quickly. Rather than playing it for laughs, it is taken very seriously, and one of the driving motivations for an entire plotline.

While I initially watched Bodacious Space Pirates in the English dub, I would definitely recommend watching the sub instead. The English cast aren’t bad, especially as they include names like Greg Ayres and Monica Rial, but after the honeymoon period had ended and I started to look at the series critically, I realised that the quality had started to slip. This is especially in the case of Chiaki, as the emotion didn’t always show through. It is difficult with her character archetype, the type which acts indifferent, but sometimes it came across more monotone than anything else.


Odango: it’s a family thing

That being said, it’s a minor superficial detail. The anime itself is an enjoyable mixture of tropes, combining sci-fi and high school drama. For those looking for the classic beach episode, don’t worry – despite the space setting, they haven’t left it out, complete with training montage. Extra-curricular clubs are as prominent as ever, with the Hakuoh Yacht Club taking centre stage for several episodes. And like, most high school anime, there’s nothing like some healthy competition between rival schools. Mix in some political intrigue, the business aspect of piracy, and a couple of very unsubtle Sailor Moon references, and you have something for everyone.

To be completely honest, ‘lesbian space pirates’ were the only three words I needed to fall in love. I was lucky enough that the series followed through on its promises, surpassing my expectations and giving me everything I could have asked for.

[REVIEW] Transit Girls トランジットガールズ SPOILERS

Transit Girls is the story of Sayuri and Yui, two girls thrust together by their parents’ marriage. Sayuri resents the intrusion and doesn’t believe that anyone could be a replacement for her late mother. And she certainly doesn’t believe that she needs a new sister. Even though Sayuri is cold and distant, Yui tries her best to help her warm up to the idea of being a family. Overcoming every reservation she used to have, Sayuri falls in love with Yui, who was smitten from the day they met. But there’s one big problem… no one can find out.

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