Hilarious and Feminist and Cute All Over: Princess Jellyfish

Stylish people can be scary;

Fear not, the sisterhood is with you!

As a way to kick off Women’s History Month properly, I’m reviewing a relatively new anime called Kuragehime, otherwise known as Princess Jellyfish, which is based on a women’s manga written and illustrated by Akiko Higashimura.

Bubbles of awesomeness

This anime is already one of my absolute favourites because I fell in love with the characters and their stories, and because I literally laughed out loud while I was watching it alone, and that is a rare feat indeed. The basic premise is this: Tsukimi is one of a group of otaku women living in a Tokyo apartment building who call themselves “amars” (nuns) and refer to themselves as “the sisterhood.” Each of the five women has her own particular obsession, and Tsukimi’s is jellyfish.

One day while rescuing a spotted jellyfish, Tsukimi accidentally befriends one of the “stylish,” a woman named Kuranosuke… who is actually a boy who enjoys cross-dressing in order to escape from his political family. Despite her discomfort with having a male around, they become friends. However, Tsukimi has to keep Kuranosuke’s true gender a secret from the rest of the sisterhood, and Kuranosuke in turn works to help the sisterhood save their beloved apartment building from encroaching developers. Things really start to get interesting when Tsukimi develops a crush on Kuranosuke’s older brother Shū, and Kuranosuke, who has had stylish girls fawn over him his entire life, starts to have feelings for shy unstylish Tsukimi…

Feelings are weird!

There are so many reasons to love this excellent anime, but for me, there are three main reasons that this anime is completely made of win:

1.) It’s feminist! I think we’ve all seen enough hugely bosomed, tiny skirted anime girls to last us a lifetime. Even a relative newbie to anime like yours truly can’t help but roll my eyes at some of the over-the-top fan service that finds its way into various storylines. And if that’s your thing, great, enjoy, you’ve got lots and lots and LOTS of options available to you. However, I found this anime refreshing for its realistic portrayal of women. There are women of all shapes and sizes in this anime, shocking! I could actually identify with many of the characters, which is a first. And there are women characters who don’t date, and they don’t feel the need to dress a certain way in order to attract men. Even when they do get makeovers, it’s empowering because they do it for themselves, and at the end of the day they’re still perfectly happy just being themselves without the added glitz and glamor. Plus there’s a male virgin past the age of sixteen! Plus Kuranosuke’s cross-dressing is accepted as just part of who he is, and it doesn’t devolve into a crude stereotype. You know the Bechdel Test? This anime passes with flying colours.

2.) It’s hilarious! Some of the situations that the characters find themselves in are just downright absurd. Not to say that there aren’t real issues being dealt with, or that there isn’t a deeper story at its heart. There are plenty of emotional scenes to go around in this anime. But there are also some gloriously funny parts. I won’t describe any so as not to give anything away, but trust me on this: you will laugh.

3.) It’s deliciously cute! Even though the characters are all old enough to be living on their own and making grown-up decisions, that doesn’t detract from their cuteness. The love triangle is filled with darling moments. The opening montage is ridiculously adorable. And Clara the spotted jellyfish is just precious.

Cute Town: Population Clara

Perhaps best of all, you can watch the entire first season of Princess Jellyfish for free online (at least you can in the US; I’m not sure about other countries). Be warned, it’s subtitles only unless you speak Japanese, but the characters speak slowly enough that you can fully enjoy watching and reading at the same time.     So what are you waiting for? Go watch it right now!

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Moo
    Mar 02, 2011 @ 10:18:27

    I’ve never heard of this anime, but it sounds so good. I might have to bite the bullet and go ahead and watch it. I usually wait for the dubbed versions to come out, but the story is just too enticing to pass up, Thanks!!

    Reply

    • Miss Pink
      Mar 02, 2011 @ 17:55:29

      No probs! It really is so wonderful, you forget that you’re reading subtitles. It’s a good starter anime for getting into subtitled-only anime, imho. 🙂

      Reply

      • kathryn
        Feb 07, 2012 @ 01:45:42

        i agree the subtitled-only anime is amazing and its ALWAYS better than dubbed!! and once you get used to the subtitles you forget your even reading them at all! 😀

  2. kathryn
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 01:43:43

    Just fished season 1 it was amazing!! i loved it although it left alot of unanwserd questions for me it was absurdly cute and so funny…i just hope theres a season 2 that would make my world just…perfect! ❤

    Reply

    • Miss Pink
      Feb 07, 2012 @ 18:20:34

      I agree! I really hope that a season two comes out, or at the very least that the manga becomes available in English. It’s such a great story, with such awesome characters, that I need to find out what happens next! 😉

      Now that I’ve watched quite a bit of anime, I don’t mind subs in the slightest. It’s true, you do forget that you’re reading them! For me personally, a lot of the subbed vs. dubbed question depends on which I see first. I don’t mind dubs if that’s the version I find (unless it’s particularly awful, like Guin Saga) but if I’ve watched the series with subs, the dubs can be odd. I’ve watched a bit of the English dub of Princess Jellyfish, and I’m not crazy about Kuranosuke’s voice, but I’m willing to give it another shot once the DVD comes out. At least the wonderful subbed version comes with it, so no matter what, I can watch Princess Jellyfish over and over again! 😀

      Reply

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