Monday, July 22, 2013

Princess Jellyfish

Princess Jellyfish (also known as Kuragehime) is an 11-episode series that aired in the Fall of 2010. It follows around Kurashita Tsukimi and her band of socially-awkward female friends in their attempts to save their beloved home. Helping them along the way is the flashy and fabulous Koibuchi Kuranosuke (known as Kurako to the other girls), a handsome/sexy crossdressing politician's son. All of the girls are massive nerds, each obsessing over a particular thing. None are good around men or "Hipsters" (referring to trendy people, who actually look a lot like America's Hipsters), serving as a massive roadblock in saving their building from the likes of nasty developers who want to turn it into a high-rise hotel. Unable to bear the thought of parting with their building, however, the girls do everything they can, even pretending to be something else to fit in better.
Extreme Makeover: Anime Edition.
While this might seem like a bad message for an anime to have, Kuragehime is a very progressive anime in that regard. Each of the girls is prized for her unique abilities, and though they are often called "weird" or "freak", they never let it get them down. In the end, it even helps them. The ending theme (which is just an amazing song on its own, by the way) by Sambomaster (you may know them as the artists from the 5th Naruto opening, "Seishun Kyousoukyoku") is called "Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure", translating to "Realize You Are Beautiful". It, along with the series, presents a very pro-self message, saying that it's okay to be as you are. As such, the series squarely plants itself in Josei territory, which isn't surprising given that it's such a female-centric series.
Though the girls are up front, Kuranosuke isn't without his own problems, too.
As previously mentioned, all the girls have a very specific interest unique to themselves (even the fictional Kurako). Given their social awkwardness, their intrapersonal relationships can be a bit crazy at times, but this just serves to make them more interesting. Mayaya may be obsessed with a warrior series and come across as a tomboy, but in the presence of a hipster girl she petrifies faster than a weeping angel. Eventually the girls learn to interact with the outside world more (though not always by choice), but they are most comfortable among themselves, which helps to create a cozy atmosphere in their sweet little home.
The girls don't really take to "Kurako" at first.
The animation style is close to the manga, and very girlish (without being too overbearing). It's very pretty, but not in the way a typical Shojo series is, which helps given that this is VERY comedy. All of the characters are well-designed and distinct, which only adds to the comedy since it helps show that there are many, MANY kinds of nerds out there. The musical score is well-suited to the series, being touching and sweet (and sometimes sad) when it needs to be and going at a frenetic pace when things are getting hectic. The opening is cute and fun, much like the show, and contains more pop culture references than you can shake a light saber at. The ending, as mentioned before, is beautiful and in fact made me cry the first time I saw it due to the sincerity of the words. Every woman needs to be told she's beautiful at least once in her life.
Tsukimi in particular needs that even more given her past.
Princess Jellyfish is licensed by Funimation (and in fact recieved a dub, which I have yet to hear), and can also be found from umee, REVO, and Horrible Subs. Outside of mild sexual references, the series is quite clean, and in fact is the first anime my mother has expressed interest in watching. While this might sound biased, my mum has always been encouraging of my hobbies but has never really gotten into any series herself. I show her one episode of this show and she asks to see more. Ergo, show this to your moms and grandmas--they'll probably like it, I know we did.
Be aware that if they dislike crossdressers the way the Girls dislike men, there's gonna be a problem.

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