Manga Review: KASANE Volumes 1-4 by Daruma Matsuura (2017)

Genre: Contemporary Seinen
Year Release in English: 2019-2021

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

The girls are kissing in this one and there is nothing romantic about it. Kasane Fuchi is a very ugly girl with a secret: she inherited a lipstick from her late mother that allows her to borrow people’s faces. She wants to become an actor and you can see where this is going. Intense, gray morality to the nth degree, I’m strapped to the seat of this wild ride.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Bullying, attempted suicide

The covers to each volume of this manga are absolutely beautiful and hide so much ugliness within. It starts off with Kasane Fuchi, aspiring actor with an unfortunate face, going to her mother’s funeral and inheriting a lipstick. It allows her to borrow the face of any living being for twelve hours.

This first volume covers Kasane’s middle and high school years which are brutal. Kids are cruel and instead of becoming a “better person” (to be honest, I’m never really sure what that outcome is supposed to look like), Kasane uses her ability to her own benefit.

The art is so clean and the presentation so unequivocal. We get a lot of Kasane’s inner dialogue and, juxtaposed against the lines performed while acting, becomes my favorite presentation in the entire manga.

Content warnings: Attempted suicide, attempted sexual assault

Adulted doesn’t get much easier as Kasane teams up with Kingo Habuta to further her acting career. Supposedly, he was an associate of her mother, but the estranged relatives never had the kind of relationship which would disclose such information.

We also get to meet Nina Tanizawa, an actor who has the perfect face, but none of the ability. They hatch up a plan with Habuta in which Kasane performs using Nina’s face. Nina also has Sleeping Beauty syndrome which is mighty convenient.

This series continues to be intense in how hard the characters go in pursuing their deepest dreams and desires. It’s unhinged, it’s emotional, and almost dizzying.

Content warnings: Gaslighting, attempted stabbing

Borrowing people’s faces is all fun and games until you have to interact with the people from their pre-you life. The ruse that Kasane and Habuta came up with is that Kasane is actually the one in a coma and not Nina.

The twists and deceptions are so good here. Both Kasane and Habuta are conniving fiends, but the ends don’t seem that bad. That being said, I was so legitimately stressed when Kasane-as-Nina starts interacting with Nina’s parents. The way Matsuura gets into the head of especially Nina’s mother works so effectively. The use of inner monologue continues to astound.

Content warnings: Statutory rape, incest, murder, violence against a child

Oh lordy, in this volume, we get more reveals on Kasane’s family, especially Sukeyo Fuchi, but most relevantly, her father. He’s a bastard and if abuse in the form of incest upsets you, this might be a volume to consider skipping to the halfway point.

My heart hurts for Nogiku. And the manga handles her trauma I’d say with depth. She meets Kasane and bursts into tears because she can’t fathom just hanging out with someone casually over desserts. It’s heart-wrenching, and wow am I stressed for the further entangling of this new character into the madness within.

One thought on “Manga Review: KASANE Volumes 1-4 by Daruma Matsuura (2017)

  1. Pingback: August and September 2021 Reading Recap | Jo Writes Fantasy

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