First off, for those who celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy the holidays. Just like last year, I have decided to participate in a Secret Santa Anime project hosted by Reverse Thieves. In this project, you give a list of what you watched to a person, which is randomly selected. Then, they suggest three shows to watch. After receiving suggestions, you pick one or more to review. In this review, I will focus on a 2010 Josei Anime called Kuragehime (海月姫, lit Jellyfish Princess). (Image Source)
Believe it or not, this is my first time watching a show directed at an older female demographic. Considering that there isn’t that many compared to shows directed at a young female audience, I don’t really notice it until it’s too late. Normally, many of these shows tend to get aired in the noitaminA block, which is something I haven’t touched until early of this year.
When I started watching Kuragehime, the show is similar to what Ore no Imouto focused on with the Otaku subculture and societal implications. The only big difference is that this show focuses mostly on the latter and it involves a group of female Otaku illustrators that lives in Amamizukan. It’s an apartment that doesn’t allow males and only virgin women. Each woman holds a different Otaku interest ranging from traditional Japanese Dolls to trains.
The show primarily involves an 18-year-old girl named Tsukimi who moves to Tokyo to become an illustrator. She has a strong fondness for jellyfish from the memories she had with her deceased mother during her childhood. One day, she sees a Jellyfish named “Clara” in a shop, which got placed in the wrong tank. As a result, she has to save it. With a help of a mysterious woman, she was able to save her and find a new home at the apartment. Underneath it all, that woman she met was actually a rich boy named Kuranosuke, who has a strong interest in fashion and enjoys crossdressing. After he gave some high quality cut of meats to the residents there, he begins to get along with them.
In my previous editorial discussing how society looks down towards Otakus during my watching of Ore no Imouto, the message is the same here, but taken a bit further. In the former, Kirino doesn’t gather negative attention from others (except for that one instance) since she dresses normally, thus blends in society. On the other hand, the girls of Amamizukan don’t have that luxury since Fujoshi (婦女子, lit rotten girl) tends to get looked down even further in comparison because of the negative connotations surrounding those people and the word. As shown in Episode 5, all the residents of Amamizukan went to the presentation to protest the urban renewal project. During the meeting, they get stared at by everyone else, causing them to flee. To solve this, Kuranosuke does a makeover to mostly everyone so that they won’t receive that treatment, thus allowing them to gain self-confidence. Although there was some initial resistance, it ultimately saves the place from getting torn down. Not only that, they looked more attractive, especially Tsukimi who eventually catches Shuu’s attention throughout the story.
As for the story, it was a very pleasant experience as it mixed a lot of humor with some dramatic scenes. I felt that the characters contributed a great deal of it because most of the characters had enjoyable personalities that it’s hard not to like them. Also, the male characters have obsessions like the other women as shown with Hanamori’s obsession for Benzes and Negishi’s wanting to live a life of a teenaged girl. However, I really hated Shouko Inari’s guts not because she was an unpleasant woman, but she shamelessly dugs and molests Shuu, which inflicts psychological damages for a short period of time. Thankfully, he slapped that woman in the face towards the end of the series and it was satisfying. Additionally, the resolution of Tsukimi’s problems of her inability to become a princess brought a touching feeling in the last episode. Although she was nervous at the end, she was able to achieve her dream and prevented Amamizukan from being sold through the support of everyone.
Overall, Kuragehime is an excellent show for its very enjoyable premise and characters. While I got disappointed over the lack of resolution over Tsukimi’s love triangle between Shuu and Kuranosuke, it was a very minor flaw. Despite that, I kind of wished that the show were a bit longer so they could flesh out more on the fashion line and stuff they couldn’t fit in the 11 episodes. Still, it’s a show I would definitely recommend and perhaps, you should try it out. Who knows, you might even enjoy it.
Overall Series Rating: 9.0/10, Very Good, A ¶