- Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Yuri
- Length: 59 minutes
- Studio: ZEXCS
Kase-san and Yamada just started dating a little while ago. It’s all very new and exciting and confusing and a little scary. Yamada hasn’t ever dated anyone before. Let alone someone as popular and talented as Kase-san. Love can be daunting, even for the best of us. Thankfully Yamada may just be one of the best of us! And although she might seem all cool and composed on the surface, it’s not like Kase-san isn’t feeling those butterflies fluttering about. Kase-san and Morning Glories is a very sweet story about young love, new love and first love between two high school girls in their last year before college, with all the challenges, joys and pretty flowers that implies.
A little while ago I watched, and more importantly reviewed Sweet Blue Flowers. I really loved that series and asked my readers to recommend anything similar. I was and still am in a Yuri kind of mood. I added the caveat that I wanted something light hearted or at least happy. Kase-san and Morning Glories was possibly the most recommended title in my comments. My readers have been pretty great about recommending anime and this one happened to already be on my list. So I bumped it up and here we are!
Kase-san and Morning Glories looks very cute. I say this in the best possible way. Stripped of meaning or context, the visuals in this OVA just made me a little happy. Heck, finding that gif for my header had me grinning from ear to ear. It’s not that there’s anything particularly interesting in them but for me, attention was given to the right elements.
The colours are great, the facial expressions are well…expressive…sigh, and there is a beautiful light emanating from several scenes that really gives you the impression of a sunny day.
The sound design is also great. There are many moments with no background music at all. It’s unusual. It makes mundane and unremarkable events just a little tense or a little sad and the viewer doesn’t know why. It’s also sort of a subconscious relief when a soft barely noticeable music begins to play and for a while, I didn’t quite grasp what was going on. This was a particularly effective way of making me share Yamada’s insecurities and uncertainty without a drop of exposition or some contrived situation. Sometimes you get all weird and nervous in a new relationship and you don’t know why. And then you’re super happy and you can’t stop smiling. The sound design created the illusion of that. I found it pretty remarkable.
This said, Kase-san and Morning Glories did often feel sort of empty. This may very well have been on purpose, and I’ll touch on it a bit later, but the bulk of the movie only had one or two characters on screen. The school yards and streets were completely devoid of people, backgrounds was somewhat sparse. Yamada and Kase-san live in a very small world. There is also a lot of stillness. On a few occasions, I wondered if my playback was frozen. It wasn’t. It’s great for mood building but a little sad.
I think I did a decent job summarizing the story in general but I’m also skimming over a lot of stuff. I think Kase-san and Morning Glories could have been a season of anime. The narrative structure feels like it was meant to be episodic rather than a single continuous story. What I mean is that the meat of the story is fairly standard romance plots.
Tension arises because Kase-san is very busy with friends, club activities (she’s the start of the track team) and school so the two hardly have any time together and Yamada feels left out and insecure. The girls both feel very nervous exploring their budding sexuality and the differences in their drives creates some soft tension. Conflict arises from the fact that Yamada feels her own body is unattractive compared to the very athletic Kase-san and she loses confidence. Yamada notices how popular Kase-san is, especially compared to herself who only has one real friend (but it’s the Best friend!) and she starts doubting she deserves to be in the relationship. Big conflict rears its head when it comes time to choose universities and the two might end up separated and in different towns…
All of these are great and valid plot lines. Except there’s 5 of them. Not counting some minor misunderstandings. That’s 5 complete plot lines that have a build up, tension and resolution. All in under an hour! The characters themselves are not melodramatic and the story does resolve them with minimal tears and hand wringing. But just by the very fact that every 10 minutes or so one of the leads gets really insecure and down on themselves, gave the impression of a much more dramatic story than it is. Personally, I would have traded one or two of those conflicts for more happy scenes of the girls having cake together or just learning to get to know each other.
Most of the OVA is told from Yamada’s point of view. Yamada shy, especially compared to Kase-san. She’s introverted and quiet. She is the only member of the horticulture club and enjoys spending a lot of time watering the plants by herself. Basically Yamada is alone a lot and Kase-san does seem to leave her behind to spend time with her friends fairly often. When you combine that with the fact that the entire OVA is a little barren, with few background characters at all and spartan scenery, it really intensifies that feeling of loneliness. That’s o.k. though. Sometimes you do feel alone in a relationship, I get that!
The stillness of the production had a similar effect. But this time, it emphasized both girls’ hesitance and fear. The unsteady nature of their relationship and the uncertainty of two girls dating each other was all in those pauses and never once said out loud.
I really do appreciate the subtle approach Kase-san and Morning Glories takes to portraying the emotional roller coaster of young love. It’s rather pretty. I wish they hadn’t packed quite that many conflicts but don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad at all. And if there is one thing that I knew for certain at the end of this OVA is that Kase-san and Yamada both really love each other. I particularly enjoyed seeing Kase-san get all flustered (which she does a lot!) and completely destroy that cool girl image, but she’ll always be cool in Yamada’s eyes.
It’s not my favourite Yuri but it was a pleasant and a pretty good way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon!
Favourite character: Mikawa she deserves her own spin off!
What this anime taught me: How to make a simple matcha chiffon. I got hungry watching them eat cakes so I decided to bake one for myself. They eat shortcakes but I wanted something matcha flavoured. Anyways, it was good.
“If she doesn’t text you when she’s drunk, you ain’t the one”
Suggested drink: Morning Glory (way too easy)
- Every time Kase-san gets flustered – Kampai!
- Every time Yamada does some gardening – take a sip
- Every time Mikawa pops up – cheer!
- Every time Kase and Yamada aren’t able to spend time together – awww
- Every time Yamada “sprouts” – get some water
- Every time the girls get alone time – gasp and take a sip
- Every time Kase-san blushes – fan yourself
- Every time we see a boy – take a sip
- Every time the girls get to eat sweets – get a snack
- Every time Kase-san gets called away by her friends – take a sip
- Every time we see the bus stop – take a sip
- Every time there’s a lens flare – take a sip
I ended up with a lot of fun screencaps, here are a few: