I have been looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this particular manga ever since I picked up the first volume at May’s London Comic Con, and I am now finally doing just that.
Before that, though, there’s no way I can talk about Kase-san and Morning Glories without drawing your attention towards this:
A beautiful animation, but I’m here to focus on the manga. The Kase-san and… series is a Japanese yuri manga series written and illustrated by Hiromi Takashima. It was serialised in Shinshokan’s Hirari magazine and Flash Wings web publication between August 2010 and March 2017. Seven Seas Entertainment published the series in English.
Kase-san and Morning Glories is the first book of the Kase-san and… series, and contains five chapters.
Not your garden variety yuri love story!
Yamada may be shy and rather clumsy, but the flower gardens at her school always brought her happiness. Suddenly, a different sort of beauty catches her eye – the vivacious track star, Kase-san. Although the two girls don’t seem to have much in common, they soon start a romance where each must learn an important lesson in tending their budding relationship. Can the two girls, so different from each other, learn how to make their first love blossom?
We start with the chapter called ‘Kase-san and Morning Glories’, which shows where Yamada first fell for Kase. There are flowers that Yamada tends to around the school, and one day she finds Kase watering them. It was after that encounter that Yamada found herself constantly thinking about Kase.
Yamada and Kase’s classes have gym together, with Yamada spacing out because she’s too focused on Kase.
The day before the summer holidays start, Kase reveals that she knows Yamada was the one who planted the flowers. She also asks Yamada if they could meet up during the summer break.
In ‘Kase-san and the Bicycle’, Yamada finds herself enjoying the walk to the bus stop with Kase after school. However, that changes when Yamada’s friend tells her that Kase goes out with girls and that she had a girlfriend on the track team.
Yamada finds herself unable to face Kase afterwards. However, Kase is able to catch up to her, and when she asks what’s up, Yamada says that she should at least let her ride on the back of her bike when they walk home. Kase agrees.
In ‘Kase-san and the Love Song’, Yamada is invited out to karaoke with her friends. When she tells Kase that she doesn’t really want to go, Kase suggests she goes to watch her on hte running track instead. Yamada considers it, but when she sees that she’s not the only one to get invited, she starts feeling down.
Yamada ends up going to karaoke, but she’s pretty much surrounded by people she barely knows. When her turn comes to sing, she winds up embarrassing herself and getting laughed.
However, Kase appears and whisks her away on her bicycle. She takes Yamada to a place where both of them can sing their hearts out together.
With the school marathon coming up, Kase takes Yamada out to buy running shoes in ‘Kase-san and Sneakers’. Yamada finds herself extremely nervous about meeting with Kase outside of school.
Kase picks out a pair of trainers for Yamada, and after buying them Yamada eagerly puts them on with a little help from Kase. Kase suggests that they train together for the marathon, and Yamada eagerly accepts.
Yamada trains with Kase every morning in ‘Kase-san and the Spring Breeze’ for the upcoming marathon.
Kase asks Yamada to do something for her if she achieves number one in the whole school, but she becomes too embarrassed to actually ask for it. Of course, these leaves Yamada reeling at the possibility of what embarrassing thing Kase wants.
When the time comes for the marathon, it turns out that Yamada will have her work cut out in earning the number one spot as boys from the track team are allowed on the course.
Yamada believes Kase will finish first, and remains determined to finish the marathon as well. However, she spots that the flowers she planted along the course have been trampled, and winds up suffering a similar fate when she tries to go over to them.
From the nurse’s office, Yamada sees that Kase-san doesn’t have the lead in the marathon so she starts cheering for her.
Yamada gets the burst of speed she needs to take first place, but the reason she did was because she was concerned for Yamada. Yamada claps and congratulates Kase, which was actually what Kase wanted to ask her to do before.
When Yamada lets slip she thought it might have been something else, Kase changes her wish and the chapter ends on a heart-warming note.
That brings the first book of the Kase-san and… series to an end, and I couldn’t think of a better way to conclude it. As the story is told from Yamada’s point of view, we are aware of her feelings all throughout, and to see Kase respond to them is quite simply a beautiful moment.
I also like that Kase’s feelings are expressed in a somewhat subtle manner throughout. There’s her glancing at Yamada whilst getting changed after gym class, the way in which she blushes when Yamada rides on the back of her bike, and their shopping date where Kase can barely keep her gaze away from Yamada’s skirt whilst she puts her new running shoes on. Those are just a few examples, but they all make it clear that Kase really likes Yamada, even if Yamada doesn’t realise it until the end.
Kase-san and Morning Glories is quite simply the purest form of love at its best. It’s about two girls who love each other, and the relationship that develops between the two. There’s no huge drama to worry about, and both girls are clearly infatuated with each other.
Out of all the yuri manga I have read, I can easily say that the Kase-san and… series is my favourite – and I’ve only read two volumes at the time of writing this.