Japanese Title: Kuragehime
Related: Princess Jellyfish Specials (side story)
Similar: Paradise Kiss
The Seven Metamorphoses of Yamato Nadeshiko
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Watched in: Japanese & English
Length: 11 episodes
- An eclectic bunch of characters.
- Consistently funny.
- Very enjoyable.
- Conflict doesn’t escalate far enough.
I fell in love with Princess Jellyfish when Tsukimi’s friends warn of the dangers in visiting Shibuya to the sounds of gunfire and strafing artillery, before the first opening sequence even rolled. These thirty-something women, NEETs living in the same complex, are a joy to hang out with.
The upheaval to their shut-in life all started because of Tsukimi’s obsession with jellyfish. While out one night (when no one was around of course), she happens across two incompatible jellyfish in the same tank at the pet shop. She must tell the shopkeeper of the mistake. But oh no, it’s a boy and he’s stylish! The horror! Timid Tsukimi cannot get through to him. All seems lost…until the most stylish of the “Stylish” (what the NEETs call fashionable people) appears and she offers to buy the poor jellyfish. They return to headquarters and the beautiful woman sleeps the night. The next morning, however, the she turns out to be a he. Gasp! If Stylish are barred from Headquarters, boys are shot on sight.
And so Kuranosuke starts helping Tsukimi come out of her shell and become the queen her mother had always envisioned.
The housemates are a weird bunch, to say the least. One is obsessed with The Three Kingdoms, another can sense the best tasting meat by sight alone, and the mangaka (only one with a real job) communicates through notes under the door. None of them can handle the idea of a Stylish in their house, literally petrifying at the sight.
I wondered why I liked these characters despite them seeming to be “lol so quirky” gimmicks – how often have I criticised those? The secret lies in them feeling like real people when they participate in story events. Sure, they’re really weird people, but real nonetheless.
The heart of Princess Jellyfish is in the dynamic between Tsukimi and Kuranosuke. While Kuranosuke has it all on the surface – looks, money, women, time to do whatever he wants – he can learn a thing or two from frumpy but sweet Tsukimi. Kuranosuke brings flamboyance and confidence, Tsukimi the grounding. Their growth off each other is great to witness.
Princess Jellyfish is one of the few stories that treats an “alt” character as a person. They’re often either a token, a one-dimensional villain, or a flawless saint because “alts” must be protected. Here, Kuranosuke is the butt of jokes, the givers of jokes, part of the fun and conflict, with problems of his own, strengths and flaws. In short, he’s a proper character.
The first area Kuranosuke insists on improving is Tsukimi’s fashion sense. He gives her a makeover, making use of her design skills (she dreams of being a designer), and sends her out for some confidence training. During one such excursion, she meets his brother, an uptight man who, like the rest of the family, is ashamed of the cross dresser. It’s his job to keep this scandalous behaviour away from their father’s politic work. He’s so uptight that he’s still a virgin. He falls for remodelled Tsukimi at first sight. However, he’s in charge of a development project that involves demolishing NEET HQ.
He fails to mention this on their first date (of sorts) together. “Maybe he will finally punch his V-card,” say his parents. “Did you get to last base?” they ask after he has some time alone with her. The parents are hilarious, as is the uncle who likes the cross-dressing.
This romance is Princess Jellyfish’s greatest failing, not because the relationship was a bad idea – it’s good, plenty of humour between an uptight, successful rich man and a NEET – but because the story doesn’t do enough with it. All we receive is the start of the relationship. The conflict inherent in their disparate situations in life, as well as his job demolishing her residence, has so little exploration that I feel it needs at least three more episodes for justice. The manga is ongoing and surely delves deeper.
Even so, the fun times with Tsukimi and her friends more than make up for the light drama.
Art – High
Nice art – very girly despite the frumpy protagonist. The “Stylish” look like women from 80s shoujo and josei manga. The perfect art style for this premise.
Sound – Very High
Great acting brings this eccentric cast to life, more so in English. I didn’t recognise several voices at first, even though I have extensive experience with their folios, so different were their roles. Princess Jellyfish also makes good use of comedic sound effects.
Story – High
A band of wacky women has their shut-in world shattered when a stylish (shock!) woman, carrying a little more beneath, steps inside their NEETdom. Funny, heartfelt, and eccentric, Princess Jellyfish is a fun ride even with some neglected conflicts.
Overall Quality – High
Recommendation: A must for fans of the eccentric and comedy. Princess Jellyfish defies expectations and its risky premise earns your attention.
Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)