Princess Jellyfish Episode #01 (of 11) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Release Date: Friday, October 15, 2010

Take a group of socially awkward young women living together and throw a Stylish woman into the mix and things could get very ugly, very quickly.

What They Say:
Tsukimi and her friends are a bunch of nerds plagued by crippling social anxieties, but a late night jellyfish rescue mission and the arrival of a mysterious 'Stylish Girl' are about turn their lives upside down!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Known as Kuragehim in Japan, Princess Jellyfish is a new eleven episode series from Brain's Base based on the very popular manga series by Akiko Higashimura. The manga version is pretty recent as it only started back in 2008 but it has five volumes of the josei series out and it's still coming out regularly in the Kiss magazine. The show is eye-catching from the start, especially with the opening sequence that does a number of movie parodies from James Bond to Star Wars and more. A good culturally aware series is hard to come by, especially one that plays with Western film references so openly.

The series revolves around Tsukimi, a young woman who has not achieved what she wanted out of life. She opens part of her narration by apologizing to her mother about not becoming a princess of sorts as an adult and instead having become something that doesn't exactly fit in with the social culture of the day. While she may not have achieved that, she is somewhat happy with her life as she lives in a woman's only apartment building with a group of rather likeminded individuals. They're all basic archetypes of social issues that keep them from interacting with society normally and without any problems. The setup and scenario is fairly standard, but it's very rare that we see this with a group of women. Occasionally you might find one NEET oriented girl in a show, at best, but even that is exceedingly rare and hard to come by.

While the show could be extremely interesting to watch just from this perspective, akin to the Welcome to the NHK series, Princess Jellyfish intends to go a different way. Jellyfish have been important to Tsukimi since her younger days as the show opens with her visiting them with her mother, there's story books about them and even as a young adult she spends some time drawing about them. She's so infatuated with them, in a completely no creepy and normal way, that she has a name for the one at the local pet store she visits. What causes it to go beyond the norm is that when she visits it one night, there's another jellyfish in the tank with her Ciara jellyfish, one that will threaten Ciara's life if it's left in there.

Tsukimi can't actually talk to the guy there since she's so introverted, but what saves her is the arrival of a very stylish woman who purchases the jellyfish for her and walks home with her. The arrival of this stylish woman throws a kink into the apartments since the others can't handle someone like her there and even Tsukimi has a difficult time with it as well as knowing how it will impact the others. Never mind putting a jellyfish in the bathtub. When the woman stays overnight, it only adds to the bizarre nature of things when her true nature is revealed and we see how someone stylish gets introduced into the mix, which is about to upset the balance of the casts lives.

In Summary:
The opening episode of this series has a lot to offer and reminds me again of why I enjoy josei manga so much, especially in the rare transition to anime form since it doesn't play the same way as other shows and manga. Princess Jellyfish offers us up a fairly straightforward cast here that doesn't have much time to get expanded on for obvious reasons, but Tsukimi is a very cute character and having a group of socially difficult women who don't fit in is a welcome change from the norm. The stylish woman that's introduced that is set to shake things up is a cute surprise that I hope holds up in the following episodes. Right now, this series has a lot of potential for good real world comedy and situations but it depends on how far it intends to go. If it doesn't go over the top, it could be a whole lot of fun and very memorable.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 23
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Princess Jellyfish