First Impressions: Kuragehime/Jellyfish Princess


This show is NOT about a jellyfish princess. Protagonist Tsukimi makes this clear: even though her mother told her as a child that all girls grow up into princesses, something has gone wrong and she’s just a nerdy girl. A charming nerd, who is adorable to watch as she geeks out about her favorite subject, jellyfish, and hides her pretty eyes behind glasses.

I know, I should really cut the crap already.

It’s wildly predictable that painfully shy Tsukimi is going to end up a beautiful princess, despite being a nerd. (Who decided that nerds can’t be princesses anyway?) Like in American teen comedies, Tsukimi is the otherwise pretty girl with glasses, bushy eyebrows, and braided hair who is bound to get a Pretty Princess Makeover™ any episode now.

Moving on to plot, there’s no surprises here. As soon as Tsukimi began narrating the story to her mother at the start of the episode, we realize she’s passed away. What does TV Tokyo think -- like we haven’t seen Fruits Basket before?

Tsukimi’s problems will feel familiar to any one of us who has suffered from social anxiety. Trying to navigate crowded Shibuya to a jellyfish exhibit, Tsukimi becomes overwhelmed with the crowds and the noise and hurries home in tears. She returns home to her boarding house, which she shares with her sweet and endearing friends, the Amars. The Amars take their name after female buddhist monks (one translation refers to them as “Nunz,” which I will not use since it reminds me too much of “Bratz.”)


Each lively personality is an otaku herself; while Tsukimi loves jellyfish, her friends in turn are a train otaku, a traditional doll otaku, an elderly man otaku (!!!) and a samurai otaku -- this last girl, with her dramatic Edo era speech, is an especially fantastic character. They also live with a hikikomori whom, for obvious reasons, has not yet been introduced.

After thinking about her mother, Tsukimi decides to cheer up by visiting Kulala, a spotted jellyfish at the local pet store. Why doesn’t MY local pet store keep jellyfish -- is that a Japanese thing? Tsukimi notices that Kulala has been placed in a tank with a Moon jellyfish, which will surely kill the former! (I am still trying to find out if this is a true fact.) She rushes to tell the store clerk, before realizing -- horrors -- he is a HIPSTER, something Tsukimi has a rightful fear of. She gathers her courage to save Kulala and babbles on to the clerk about the situation, before he gets concerned and tries to kick her out. That’s when Tsukimi’s princess in shining armor comes to the rescue. She helps Tsukimi buy Kulala from the store, effectively saving her.


Despite being a jellyfish, Kulala is the character that really shines in this episode. Sure, jellyfish don't talk, but in Tsukimi's imaginary interludes, Kulala is a doe-eyed pink puffy thing who speaks with a babyish lisp. She also gives helpful advice to viewers like you!


But back to the princess. Even though she is also a hipster (or chic person, depending on your translation,) Tsukimi is relaxed by the beauty’s kindness toward her. However, she is sure to hide her from her roommates while they make Kulala comfortable in the bathtub. The princess decides to crash overnight, leading to an exciting and/or predictable surprise -- she’s a MAN! Come on TV Tokyo, do you think I’ve never seen a shoujo anime before? The glamorous chick is ALWAYS the crossdresser. Now it’s morning and the Amars are bound to find out there’s a hipster -- a male hipster no less -- in their “nunnery.” Cut to the credits!!

As first episodes go, this one was especially entertaining and left me wanting to watch more. Let’s see if my predictions about that Pretty Princess Makeover™ come true sooner rather than later.

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Lauren Rae Orsini
Lauren Rae OrsiniAlumni   gamer profile



Filed under... #anime #Fall 10 season #shoujo #TV Tokyo



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