This is anime review 4
Princess Jellyfish is a comedy style Josei anime that aired in 2010. It came out from Brain’s Base, the studio that did Baccano! and Durarara!! The anime has only 11 episodes and can be completed in about 4.5 hours.
I’ve got to be honest with you all, I have a soft spot for Josei shows. There’s just something about the drama that sucks me in. However, I don’t actually think many Josei shows are all that great from a critical standpoint. This begs the question, how does Princess Jellyfish fair?
There are only two main characters in Princess Jellyfish, Kuranosuke and Tsukimi. However, the supporting cast gets quite a lot of screen time and are all interesting in their own way.
Kuranosuke is the lead male of the series. He may not appear to be when you first meet him, but he is. His character is just as broken as anyone else’s, but ironically, he fails to actually see this throughout the show. This makes for some nice moments of tension and occasional comedy. Kuranosuke also felt realistic, this was hugely helped by his English voice actor, Josh Grelle. Kuranosuke drives most of the plot in the series, but it was done in a way that felt organic. It just worked well.
Tsukimi is a shy girl obsessed with jellyfish. The story is told from her perspective and largely focuses on her interactions with the various girls she lives with, as well as Kuranosuke. She too felt realistic. Her thoughts and feelings made sense to me and I could actually think of real life people who were similar to this character. I was very impressed overall with both her and Kuranosuke.
As for the supporting cast, the ones that are worth mentioning are the girls who live with Tsukimi, and Shuu. Though supporting, these characters get a lot of screen time and play a large roll in the actual plot progression.
First off, there is Chieko who is the apartment supervisor for Tsukimi and the other girls. She has an obsession with traditional Japanese dress and dolls. She is by far the most collected of the group which is a good balance to some of the more wacky antics of the other members.
Banba, a girl obsessed with trains, is one of the quitter members of the group. She reminded me a lot of Garnet from Steven Universe for some reason. She’s not nearly as awesome as Garnet, but I still got the vibe. I liked her character design probably the most of the supporting female characters.
Next is Jiji. I have no idea why I liked Jiji, considering she has the smallest role out of everybody. I wish that she would have had some more development, since most of the other supporting cast got quite a lot. She’s into old men and is generally shy and quite.
Lastly for the females, we have Mayaya. She is loud and loves making reference to The Three Kingdoms whenever possible. She’s a big source of some of the comedy and I’ve got to commend Monica Rial for such a high energy performance.
That leaves Shuu. He is Kuranosuke‘s older brother. While Kuranosuke is out having fun, he works hard with their father on political matters. He serves as a love interest for Tsukimi and has his own, and interesting, subplot that runs most the length of the show.
Each of the characters, supporting or otherwise, had their own unique look and body type. Coupled with each character’s personality, it allowed for the feeling that these characters could be real people. Albeit, the show slightly exaggerates certain aspects, but it gets a lot closer to the real deal than most. This added to the narrative along with my enjoyment.
One evening Tsukimi runs into problems while trying save a jellyfish. She attempts to explain the issue concerning how two jellyfish are stored at a pet shop. As she attempts to speak to the shop keep, things quickly don’t go as planned. That is, until a mysterious girl, who is considered “stylish” to Tsukimi, comes to her aid.
After saving the jellyfish, Tsukimi and the stylish girl go back to Tsukimi’s home. Her home is an apartment complex called the Amamizukan. Here she lives with 4 (technically 5)other girls who all have their own unique obsessions. Due to a threat on their home, the group, with the aid of the stylish girl, must get out of their comfort zones to save it.
The setup for this show is pretty interesting. Granted, I find it slightly unrealistic that all of these otaku girls live in the same place, but it works fairly well. It didn’t feel forced, just abstracted to highlight the various obsessions.
I was surprised though, since this is billed as a comedy, to find that a good chunk of this anime was actually sort of depressing. These parts were really engaging and realistic. They explained why some of the characters were broken and why they acted the way they did. These moments felt balanced and were welcome breaks to the more silly comedy moments.
This is hugely important because of the nature of the show. The anime is actually trying to take itself seriously, which for a comedy, is not always something that plays out well. However, in Princess Jellyfish it not only adds to the overall message, but to the development of both story and characters.
Animation & Sound
The animation for Princess Jellyfish was unique. It would occasionally bounce between moments of low quality, to moments of extreme quality. This contrast was often done for either comedy or dramatic purposes.
To some, this might be mildly distracting, but found it worked in the anime’s favor more often than not. Overall, the animation is fairly consistent. The opening is a good example of what the animation quality is like on average. This brings us to the topic of sound.
I really enjoy both the opening and closing song. The opening is catchy and filled with multiple pop culture references (kudos if you can name them all). It sets the tone of the show well both lyrically and musically. It does this by focusing primarily on the comedy with visuals and the serious undertones with the lyrics. Let’s take a look:
I don’t own the music or the video
As for the closing theme, it’s a lot simpler in its visual presentation. However, it does a great job of tying in elements of the show. The real strength of the closing is in its lyrics and sound. It feels appropriate at the end of the episode and express the message of the show: self-worth and self-acceptance. Check it out:
Again, don’t own the video or music
The background music in Princess Jellyfish wasn’t anything too special. It all fit in well and did its job but I didn’t find anything that really popped out at me as a lone piece. Just how it is with some shows.
I watched Princess Jellyfish dubbed. The voice work was excellent. Some of these characters must have been tough performances to really nail like they did. As mentioned, there were some standouts such as, Josh Grelle (Kuranosuke) and Monica Rial (Mayaya).
Princess Jellyfish as a whole was an enjoyable show. My only real gripe was with its ending. Seeing that it’s only 11 episodes, it definitely ends too soon. It ends in a way that it could still continue, but manages to offer a feeling of conclusion and satisfaction. A sequel would be welcomed, but it’s been 5 years since it’s debut. If it ever got one though, I’d be all over it.
Score & Extra Info
I give Princess Jellyfish an 8/10 with the recommendation to buy it. I considered only giving it a “try it” recommendation due to its ending. However, I enjoyed the show a lot and even though the ending doesn’t wrap everything up, it was still good. This is saying something since the ending is usually a make-it-or-break-it for me, so I bumped it up.
This anime can be found on Funimation’s website. You can try the first two episodes free there or on Youtube. If you check it out, I’m sure you’ll be hooked. If you want to buy it you can do so on Funimation’s site or over at righstufanime.com for $22.49.
What did you think of Princess Jellyfish? Let myself and others know in the comments below. If you liked what you read, give this a like. Consider following me here, via email subscription, or over on Facebook.