Thursday, August 11, 2011

Anime review: Princess Jellyfish

Few days ago I finished "Princess Jellyfish", a short (11 episodes) josei anime. I decided to watch it precisely because it is josei, and even better, a comedy based on manga. Minus was the image on AniDB that was a bit off-putting. I almost stopped watching it when I saw the design and colors (which are the same aforementioned image). But I am very glad I didn't; this anime only strengthen my liking of josei anime.

In few ways it reminded me to "Paradise Kiss": it's a comedy, it has fashion and it josei. But on the other hand it's quite different. The premise looks quite ridiculous: Tsukimi is a young girl living in Tokio with several other girls and women in Amamizukan, an apartment complex. Except that they live together, girls are connected by fact that they are all nerds, NEET, otakus, afraid of society... Tsukimi likes jellyfish; Banba is obsessed with trains, Mayaya with some martial-fighting/fantasy/China franchise, Chieko with dolls and Jiji with old men. They are all quite unbelievable and exaggerated, but likable. Most important rule of Amamizukan is "No boys allowed". Their routine will be broken when Tsikimi accidentally meets Kuranosuke, a son of important politician, who lives in neighborhood and likes to cross-dress as fashionable girl.

There is not much to say about plot without revealing spoilers, since this series has only 11 episodes. First few use as introduction to characters; surprisingly, later episodes start an actual plot, dealing with fight against redevelopment plans of their neighborhood. I was surprised with this, especially after watching, because the plot, and series itself, gets abruptly ended. But after checking Wikipedia, I saw that anime is based on ongoing manga, so it's probable that there will be sequels further developing this plot. All in all, much more than I expected in this department: an actual plot with reasoning.

As I said, characters are at first caricatures of people, but on the other hand, they are likable and get more solid after. This especially stands for Tsukimi, Kuranosuke and characters that get introduced later. Kuranosuke's cross-dressing actually gets a reasonable explanation.

This anime is mostly comedy, with just right amounts of drama and romance. It is not ambitious like "Nana" or "Hachimitsu to Clover", but it delivers what it promises. Only flaw that I can state is a poor visual quality. Better design and brighter colors would probably help much, but this is of secondary importance to me. Audio side of it is much better; I especially liked Chieko's voice.

I don't think "Princess Jellyfish" will be a popular show, but all josei-fans should be happy with this little finding. Even if you don't like it much at the end, you won't regret it since it relatively short. I definitely liked it and will watch its sequel if it ever gets out.

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