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|Average Rating: 9.00|
Reevothemusefan scored this with 9/10. Disagree?
2011 was a great but short year for the so-called Noitamina line-up of DVD releases; both House of Five Leaves and The Tatami Galaxy were terrific series that were a bit different from the usual anime fare we are used to seeing released in the UK. Since then we haven't had that kind of release for a long time but Princess Jellyfish is the first of many other Noitamina shows that are planned for this year, so will this be another excellent release?
The animation studio and director should be familiar to you if you have watched the excellent Baccano and Durarara!! anime series. Brains Base and director Takahiro Omori work together again, this time on a romantic comedy aimed more at the other demographic compared to those who enjoyed the gritty action of the other two.
Princess Jellyfish introduces us to the Amamizukan apartment building with its exclusively female occupants. All the women who live there are otaku with different obsessions: trains, Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, traditional Japanese clothes... They name themselves the Sisterhood, due to their inability to socialize with men and fashionable women. However, the series focuses on Tsukimi, a jellyfish otaku, who wants to become an illustrator. In the first episode we see her visiting a spotted jellyfish at night (whom she's named Clara) at a local store, something she does whenever she gets lonely. Suddenly she calls out to the male store clerk - even though she's scared of him - telling him that a different jellyfish he's placed in the same tank could kill Clara. The clerk doesn't care and since it's closing time, he asks her to leave. It's then that a gorgeous girl interrupts the situation and decides to buy the spotted jellyfish from the store for Tsukimi.
While scared of her at first, Tsukimi thanks the stylish young woman and both sneak back into the Amamizukan apartment and put the spotted jellyfish Clara in a bathtub for the time being. Since it's night time, the stylish woman stays in Tsukimi's room - but in the morning, Tsukimi wakes up to find that the perfect princess (as she's recently called her) is actually a cross-dressing guy named Kuranosuke. It's then that many things start to happen around the Amamizukan apartment building.
I'll just come out and say that I love this series; although it's centred in the Josei genre, I still found it so engaging and fun that the flaws never affected my enjoyment. While I'm not female, I can certainly relate to the social awkwardness and obsessions that all of the female otaku characters have. I've been playing video games ever since I was three years old and have had an obsession with them all my life. While I've not been a total shut-in (especially nowadays), I do still get nervous when I meet people outside my comfort zone.
However, it's not all about that. Princess Jellyfish introduces some plot points to make the show more interesting: the risk of Amamizukan being demolished to make room for hotels and shopping centres, some surprising romantic moments, and a blackmail scandal. Kuranosuke was born into a rich and political family with his uncle being the The Prime Minister of Japan, so you're introduced to his side of the family, including his brother Shu, who develops feelings for Tsukimi when he sees her in make-up.
One of the most refreshing things about Princess Jellyfish is that, bar Tsukimi and Kuranosuke, most of the characters in the show are over thirty years old and while you might think this could be boring, it's very far from it, they can be very funny, so funny that I sometimes wish that the minor cast of characters were developed more. For example, the political family's chauffeur Yoshio Hanamori is obsessed with Mercedes-Benz cars, so much that he cleans them every day; all the scenes he's involved in are golden. Add to that some mature themes that are rarely dealt with in anime and you realize that this sets Princess Jellyfish apart from most other UK releases.
Both English and Japanese dubs are very strong and have great scripts, and although I sometimes questioned the use of random memes used in the English dub, in terms of performance, I really liked it. The animation and musical score are also well detailed for most of the scenes, and well executed in the more comical scenes.
Gripes do pop up near the end however. The plot points I mentioned earlier never really left me all that satisfied, sadly, and the ending tried to wrap everything up. With only 11 episodes, I can see why it was difficult to do so, but it didn't change the fact that I really liked this series.
The OP of Princess Jellyfish will be a treat for western audiences since it's filled with popular movie references with the characters being a part of it, ranging from Star Wars to James Bond, and with the catchy J-rock track (Koko Dake no Hanashi by Chatmonchy) behind it, it's one of the best I've heard and seen this year. The ED takes a more simple route with its animation and the quieter track (Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure by Sambomaster) is a song I like to sing along to.
The Extras contain two items: the first is Princess Jellyfish Heroes - four 6 minute shorts that go into more detail on the otaku characters of the series which were entertaining for the most part. However the Jellyfish Safari are six 30 second shorts that are too random for me and aren't really worth your time.
Lastly, the Princess Jellyfish Deluxe Collector's Edition comes with a cute Clara plushie.
Princess Jellyfish may not be for everyone but it's a refreshing and very fun experience; even with its flaws, it's a definite must own from me!
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||9 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Wed, 19 Sep 2012|
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