The second book of Hiromi Takashima’s Kase-san and… series is Kase-san and Bento. Don’t really have too much to say in this introductory paragraph, other than that there are a total of four chapters. The number of chapters may be relatively low, but there’s plenty of good stuff squeezed into them.
We’re girlfriends… now what?
It’s the start of grade twelve and this year, Yamada and Kase-san are in the same class together! Yamada’s thrilled to be dating her track-star girlfriend, but she’s having a trouble getting a grip on just what ‘going out’ even means. Before she can find a solution to her problem, though, their school trip to Okinawa begins! Will Yamada and Kase-san ever figure this whole girlfriend thing out – or will misunderstandings split them apart forever?
It’s the start of a new term in ‘Kase-san and Bento’, and Yamada finds herself in the same class Yamada.
During a phone call, Yamada asks what they should now that they are going out, and Kase just tells her to do what she wants. Yamada decides to make lunch for Kase, but Kase’s popularity means she doesn’t really get the opportunity to give it to her.
However, Kase finds Yamada and she takes her up to the roof where they eat together. Kase also reveals that she would watch Yamada when she watered the flowers, before thanking her for the lunch.
The girls are at the airport for their school trip to Okinawa in ‘Kase-san and Strawberry Drops’. Some drunks start harassing Yamada, but Kase defends her – though she gets into trouble with the teachers afterwards.
Before boarding the plane, Kase offers Yamada a melon-flavoured fruit drop, even though Yamada prefers strawberry. This leaves Yamada with doubts about her relationship with Kase.
When the plane takes off, Yamada takes Kase over their own personal window: the emergency exit. Kase explains that she had had a tough day, and her giving a melon-flavoured fruit drop was just a reflex. She shares a strawberry fruit drop with Yamada.
In Okinawa, Yamada spots Kase talking to another girl in ‘Kase-san and the Beach’. She doesn’t dwell on it too long, as it is time for her to take a bath. Kase happens to enter the bathroom as Yamada is getting undressed, and then events unfold that make her even more self-conscious. Yamada decides to hide for a while, but when she emerges she sees Kase is still present and only in her underwear.
Kase realises that Yamada is reluctant to get in the bath with her. She ends up being rushed into the bath, getting naked in front of Yamada.
Yamada struggles to sleep after that, and she also happens to spot Kase with that other girl again.
During a trip to an aquarium during their free time, Kase takes Yamada aside and talks to her about their lack of interaction during the school trip.
After they talk, a weight is lifted from Kase’s shoulders, and she takes Yamada to the beach to collect coral. Turns out that Kase was asking about souvenirs when she was with that other girl.
Yamada and Kase have much merriment on the beach, and swear to come back again – just the two of them.
The final chapter of the second book is ‘Kase-san and Hydrangeas’. Kase races at the prefectural track and field meet, with Yamada, and plenty of other girls, cheering her on. After Kase’s races, Yamada decides to leave and water the plants at the school instead of seeing Kase.
Whilst Yamada is watering the plants, Kase calls her to thank her for cheering for her.
However, Yamada shows up outside Kase’s house. The two go to a nearby park, where Yamada presents Kase a bouquet of hydrangeas to congratulate her on getting first place.
Yamada high fives Kase, but then Kase pulls her into a hug and admits that she almost cried when she realised that her girlfriend wasn’t present.
Kase walks Yamada to the bus stop afterwards, and leaves. However, Kase turns back and brings this chapter, and book, to an incredibly heart-warming end.
The Kase-san and… series continues to be just really good. There’s no doubt in my mind that this series is currently the yuri manga I feel most deserving of a full anime adaptation complete with full length episodes.
The relationship between Yamada and Kase is quite simply a thing of beauty. Both girls love each other a lot, but even they have their own doubts and worries about their relationship. In the end, though, they are able to overcome any obstacles.
Again, being told from Yamada’s point of view means that the reader is privy to her thoughts concerning Kase and their relationship. However, much like in the first volume, I really like that Kase expresses her affection in some subtle ways, as well as some not so subtle ways.
Its simple things like Kase glancing at Yamada, or when she tries to listen in when Yamada says she’s going to use the toilet (which I found rather amusing). We may not get to see Kase’s inner thoughts, but there’s no doubt there that she loves Yamada just as much as Yamada loves her.
The only negative I can think of for the Kase-san and… series is that the third book, Kase-san and Shortcake, won’t be released in English until September. Sure, there are other options available for reading it before then, but as with anything I love, I’m going to support the official release.