Kurashita Tsukimi loves jellyfish to the point of obsession, which is why she can’t bear to see a jellyfish being mistreated in a local pet store. When the socially awkward Tsukimi fails to speak up for the jellyfish, a beautiful woman steps in, sparking the beginning of an extremely unlikely friendship.
Tsukimi and her nerdy friends (who are also her roommates) are swept off their feet by this newcomer in their lives. She’s everything they’re not: effortlessly stylish, incredibly confident, and a part of a social circle the girls only dream of joining. She might also not be quite what she seems to be…
With the help of her new friend Tsukimi becomes confident enough to take on the world, protect her home from destruction, and attempt to achieve her life-long dream of becoming a designer. This little Kuragehime is on her way to becoming a queen.
Kuragehime was simulcast on FUNimation in Fall 2010, and became available as a DVD and Blu-ray release the following year. Kuragehime was also briefly available for streaming on Netflix as Princess Jellyfish.
Alright, I admit it. I was skeptical at first when I heard of this anime, since I've seen all sorts of gender bender plots. Besides, "Jellyfish Princess"? What kind of title is that?
But don't be deceived by first impressions. True to its roots, this anime is focused at a more mature audience then typical animes; that's why it's the josei genre. It relates to many aspects of "fandoms". Trains, Japanese culture, fashion, politics, and much more. Many of the characters are attractive, not by their looks, but by their personalities, and how their individual fandoms relate to them. This not only gives a charm in the story, but watchers can easily understand and recognize them.
To give focus onto the main characters, Kurashita Tsukimi is the titular Jellyfish Princess. She is obsessed with jellyfish and dream of being an illustrator.She lives with the "Amars" the other 30-something fujoshi, and men are not allowed within the Amamizukan, their apartment. The other "heroine" is Koibuchi Kuranosuke. A son of a politician, he crossdresses in hopes of avoiding politics, and he fatefully meets Tsukimi. Hilarity ensues.
Light-hearted but clearly having its own depth, Kuragehime is definitely worth watching, if only for the character interaction. You won't be disappointed.
Warning: The opening and ending songs are highly addicting. Watch with care.read more
What were my first thoughts on Kuragehime? It sounds stupid. An anime about middle aged lonely otaku virgin women is absolutely unheard of in this day and age. None of them are even cute! ‘Give me moe or give me death!’ is quite a common thing nowadays. And above all it’s just another slice of life. Almost nothing is attractive if you were to just explain ‘The Jellyfish Princess’ to any other fan.
However, despite all its unattractiveness it is by far the most beautiful anime of the fall season.
At first glance, without being told anything, anyone would assume the majority of the main characters were guys. This would include Mayaya, Banba and Jiji. Quite honestly those names are some of the strangest names I’ve heard in all the years I’ve watched anime. Coupled with their rather quirky nature and almost unisexual apparel you’d almost never guess they were girls until the show told you and if all you’re looking for is moe you’d be hugely disappointed. However their personalities, now factoring Tsukimi and Chieko, seem to overcome all those faults. I’m not sure if it’s the obsessive otakuness that drives their actions but the characters seem endearing; you can laugh at them, with them, and even understand why they act the way they do. All the NUNZ are just fun and somewhat loveable to watch as they interact with the ‘Hipster’ Kuranosuke.
Kuranosuke is, currently, my most favorite character of the series. He’s that annoying crossdressing neighbor that runs into your life and does whatever he wants, typically destroying any semblance of piece. Aside from being completely hilarious, he’s the main reason the plot moves at all and without him I don’t think the everyday lives of the NUNZ would have been hilariously affected as they are now.
In short, the main attraction to this series, I would believe, would be the characters. But not in the same way a show like K-ON attracts using their characters. While K-ON has you admire and squeal over how cute their characters act, Kuragehime has characters that live by quirks many otaku and others without good people skills would find familiar and easy to understand.
All in all, don’t let the description throw you off. Let it take you in and you’ll find Kuragehime, among its faults, shines as bright as the brightest jellyfish at night.
PS: Don’t listen to the OP or ED. They’re so addictive it’s hard to sleep while knowing they aren’t in your hard drive RIGHT NOW. read more
The setup for Princess Jellyfish revolves around six NEET females who have decided to live together in a small, "retro" building. They all lead their daily mooch lifestyles through the show, coming into contact with a few different types of people in the process, and that is just about its entirety.
Before moving along with that statement, let's focus on the budget. Princess Jellyfish is well animated and has a pleasant art style. The show's direction carries some expression, and the soundtrack is indeed serviceable. I would consider the opening and ending music good and am pleased when seeing how plentiful of references they can be, along with some of the show. Some of this is refreshing, however, things shift downward when the focus is directed more to the actual story and what it has to offer.
I've witnessed many NEET anime and other shows which follow very similar premises, like Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. Stories of this focus have been carried out well and in a way that keeps them interesting with some variety. Just by being a series that carries the term "slice-of-life", it isn't expected that you will be entering a mirror of a slow reality, as series like Haruhi show you can push the bar a bit. Even so, Princess Jellyfish decides to go right ahead and take a dive in that concept.
Princes Jellyfish is a story of a forced, shallow love-triangle and of socially odd people who open themselves slightly to amending their typical ways. That's the story of Princess Jellyfish, and that's as far as it will go. Essentially, watching the first two episodes of the series will give you enough to accurately guesstimate the entire series with this in mind, besides the fates of the love triangle. No plot point in this show ever gets developed or treated as something beyond the strange will it has to continually shift them to goofy, comedic gags. A point like the rationality of NEETs is never explored, while several times being joked at, and by the end it comes to thought that the whole incorporation of it was for the basic intent to be served as a quirk by the characters.
The humor of Princess Jellyfish consists of the quirkiness of its character roster. Many of these character's personalities are literally their quirks, along with the basic principles of being a NEET for the main girls. No character ever feels alive beyond the second episode, which ends up making the show feel like a string of events involving a cross-dresser and a bunch of nameless moochers. Not to mention the "events" that take place are hardly ones that peak interest as issues that arise are so meager that at times you might think more towards the fact that these characters are doing absolutely nothing beyond surviving off their parents allowances.
I'm not degrading Princess Jellyfish with bias in its inclusion of NEETs, but the whole idea is simply inserted half-heatedly, and while the show seems to push to develop the character's self-respect to become more individual people, the story only grows them far enough to barely reach a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. This lack of focus into anything else beyond a basic romance creates a sensation of the show's true goal being the ability to self-insert. The only arguable message the show presents is that anyone can be beautiful if they choose to be so, but this is presented more figuratively than literally with nothing proving such an idea beyond the character being drawn more attractive after having a cartoon makeover. The characters run off quirks and the plot lacks in meaning and depth.
The slightly unique, light romance of Princess Jellyfish is without a doubt the strongest thing it had going for it. The quirkiness presented at the start from both sides, along with the side characters involved, created for a situation where a potentially interesting romance could have begun. Although it continued to be the show's strong-point after the start, things quickly began to damper as the writer decided it would be best for the characters to stick to their roots and have their personalities almost literally be their quirks, letting events and situations lead the way. The main character is brought down in this lack of attention to development, and by the end of the show you're left with the same self-insertable character with just the upgrade of a chance at love. That love, in particular, forming without any sense of the word "natural". Explaining in a way not to make the entire series feel empty by revealing the love triangle plot, both male leading characters in question lead generally purposeful lives in which they would have no reason to feel desperate about their love lives. However, upon their run-down with the main female, things clearly change to her liking.
If you want to watch an anime with some western movie industry influence, only in references, than this show has some of that. If you want a slice-of-life series with quirky comedy and awkward situations, this show has that. If you are looking to be at least somewhat emotionally invested in either plot or characters, wanting something to ponder about or something to surprise you, than this show beyond the first episode is likely not what you'd appreciate watching.
There's nothing taken care of in Princess Jellyfish. The show grabs the term "slice-of-life" and takes it to heart, fueling its uniqueness off of character quirks that are admittedly unique in that they can't all be defined by the most generic of archetypes. The story is devoid of plot goals and development, as the ending feels but a few paces ahead of the beginning. Solutions to problems come at the ding of the microwave, and characters are taken straight out of the fridge to be eaten raw. Does that sound like part of your diet?
I double-dog dare those who are about to click "not-helpful" to discuss first. I'm always open.read more
'Kuragehime' ('Jellyfish Princess') is a modern Cinderella story featuring the unlikeliest cast of a jellyfish-otaku princess and the cross-dressing prince.
The first thing I noticed about the series is the heavy influence of live-action movies.
Episode titles are parody of film titles:
1. 'Sex and the City' (2008)
2. 'Sukiyaki Western Django' (2007)
3. 'Enchanted' (2007)
4. 'Eden' (2006)
5. 'Watashi wa Kai ni Naritai' (1959/2008)
6. 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968)
7. 'Kinyuu Fushoku Rettou: Jubaku' (1999)
8. 'Million Dollar Baby' (2004)
9. 'Midnight Cowboy' (1969)
10. 'The Turning Point' (1977)
11. 'Field of Dreams' (1989)
OP is a parody of a series of famous scenes from Hollywood and Japanese films:
1. 'Sex and the City' (2008)
2. 'Star Wars' (1977~)
3. 'Singin' in the Rain' (1952)
4. 'Mary Poppins' (1964)
5. 'Emperor of the North Pole' (1973)
6. 'Onna Tobakushi' (1967)
7. 'James Bond' (1962~)
8. 'Game of Death' (1978)
9. 'The Graduate' (1967)
10. 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' (1977)
Also, major Japanese film producers and distributors were in production committee (Fuji, Toho, and Asmik Ace actually show their real opening credits in an episode)
"Josei" is a minor subcategory of "shoujo" manga and anime, targeted toward older audiences (18+). 'Kuragehime', despite being published on a josei manga magazine, lacks any mature characters or themes to really categorize it as one (and it won a manga award in shoujo rather than otona (mature/adult) category). This is clearly a shoujo anime.
'Kuragehime' is about a bunch of female otaku in Amamizukan, an apartment complex in Tokyo. These girls are severely repulsed by men and fashionable/successful people, but our heroine Tsukimi one day makes friends with fashionable cross-dresser Kuranosuke and finds out later that not only is he male, he 's also from a rich political family.
The first half of the story is mostly about Kuranosuke extending his influence over "Ama~s" ("Nun~s"), the girls in Amamizukan. It should be noted that while literal meaning of "ama" is "nun", which suits their virgin and hikikomori status in their house, it is also a derogatory slang for "women" (much like how "nun" is a slang for "prostitutes" in English). These girls are basically calling themselves "bitche~s"" and "whore~s".
The "Ama~s" consists of otaku girls with extremely bizarre hobbies. Tsukimi is into jellyfish, Ichimatsu Dolls for Chieko, 'Romance of Three Kingdoms' for Mayaya, and senile men for Jiji. The only ones with relatively common interests are Jyuon, the nocturnal fujoshi BL manga writer, and Bamba, as railfans existed way before the word "otaku" became a slang. Other than our heroine Tsukimi and acting-landlord Chieko, all the other "Ama~s" girls exist almost solely for comedy.
The second half of the story is about saving Amamizukan from a land development project. This is mostly attempted to be done by fund raising, in which the challenge for introverted girls to go out into the world and forced to interact with people is depicted, as well as Kousuke's attempt to transform Tsukimi's introvert personality by building up her confidence. Unfortunately, "Ama~s" are almost always forced to do these things they detest, and their fear of outsiders have not eased at all, freezing up in uncomfortable situations to the very end.
As expected of a shoujo anime, there is also a lot of romantic concerns for the heroine, and the typical love triangle, predicaments etc. that confuses individuals of their own feelings and prevent love confessions.
The character development between Tsukimi and Kuranosuke are rather good, though they are put into one random predicament after another, and saved in the last minute by fairytale successes, whether it's extreme makeover, profitable sales, or crowd-pleasing dress designs. Kuranosuke is practically a prince who tries to save Tsukimi from isolation and turn her into a fashionable and popular chick. Of course, she turns into a gorgeous Yamato Nadeshiko simply by taking off her glasses and putting on some makeup. The story develops into a cliché Cinderella fantasy. To make it worse, everything gets solved by predictable deus ex machina in the end.
Art quality for 'Kuragehime' is very high. Lots of variety with backgrounds, as the characters travel around Tokyo. I recognized almost every single location in Shibuya during the first episode, the staff completely animated real sites. Maybe because I'm way more familiar with Shibuya than Akibahara etc, but it seemed like they put far more attention into detail than the typical series. I can tell you that this is a very faithful reproduction of the city down to individual stores and signs. Other places like Amamizukan (actually a male-only lodge in West Waseda), parks, and streets seem to be modeled after real places as well.
Character designs deviate from the ordinary, with memorable style and traits for most characters. None of the "Ama~s" members are beautified. Fluidity is rather good, and all the characters were drawn with extremely high consistency. The comedic special effects (petrification, shock etc) were done very well.
The cast is dominated by seasoned veteran seiyuu in 30s and 40s with wide range of voices that fit characters pretty well. However, none of their voicing jobs were particularly memorable.
BGM were extremely strong, wide range of instruments playing music of different style, often setting/enhancing the mood for comedy. OP as mentioned earlier, is parody of famous scenes from movies with surprisingly good flow and audio-visual synchronization. Chatmonchy is known for their distinct rock songs, and they don't disappoint with the off-beat OP song 'Kokodake no Hanashi (Just Between Us)'. As usual of their songs, there's something about it that really moves you, and it fits the series very well with its quirkiness and optimism. And who better to sing the ED than Sambomaster, who came to popularity after their song was featured as theme song for 2005 'Densha Otoko' live-action drama, which still remains to be the most watched and arguably most influential otaku story in history? Their song "Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure (Realize How Beautiful You Are)" is a poignant rock song that really captures this anime's theme, and the ED animation comes in long shot of 1 cut. Very impressive.
With all its originality in premise, character setting, art style, and sounds, 'Kuragehime' still failed to separate itself from cliché shoujo story development.
As per typical shoujo anime, there's a lot of inner monologue explaining characters' thoughts and emotions. While this is a typical trait of shoujo manga/anime series and theoretically improve empathy and emotional attachment, I consider this to be a very poor storytelling technique as it takes away the joy of thinking and imagining their state of mind. It gets tiresome when they explain the obvious every single time, and slows down the pace of the story. The comedy was hilarious at first, but gets repetitive after a while with identical 'Olé' cover ups, shock face, petrification, girly prime minister etc. that gets predictable and tiresome after a while. Repetition can be funny, but it needs to be executed with intelligence and variety.
In addition, I found it hard to connect with the characters simply because their interests are too "maniac" (bizarre/weird), as the Japanese call it. I don't think I'll ever understand a girl's unhealthy fascination with jellyfish or creepy dolls or senile men moe... and I was completely lost when Mayaya spew out bunch of 'Romance of Three Kingdoms' references. I also had no idea why the author would portray girl otaku as nothing more than simple creepy freaks. "Ama~s" may be a group of girl otaku with uncommon interests, but they all behaved like a cookie cutter male otaku from general public's perception of otaku culture other than their androphobia, and didn't explore further into the views and motivations from girl otaku's perspective.
It is still an enjoyable show, but 'Kuragehime' could've easily been so much more. However, I am very impressed at how 'noitaminA' series continue to reject the trend in the industry with uncommon premise and low on moe/ecchi. Any series aired in this time slot continues to be a must-watch for serious anime fans. read more
The term otaku is often used in the West to refer to anyone interested in anime. But is that what it really means? Learn about the history behind the otaku phenomenon and how different anime have reacted to it, as well as anime fandom in general.
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