The story of a poor girl and prince charming has been used and retold countless of times since the dawn of humanity and it always captured people’s hearts. Kuragehime (or Jellyfish Princess) also tells the same old story of a common girl and her prince. Only this time, she is also a jellyfish geek and a NEET while the prince is a virgin with a childhood psychic trauma, but that’s nothing new, is it?
What sets Kurgehime apart from your typical soap opera is the details and the humor. Tsukimi has been different from others since childhood. She possesses unusual obsession about jellyfish and she spent her childhood studying those sea creatures instead of making friends. Her beloved mother died after a long period of suffering from an unidentified sickness which can be considered a typical scenario of ‘Anime Parents Syndrome’. She is currently a NEET living with her NEET/geek friends in an old apartment own by extremely introvert boy-love mangaka. She and her friends will immediately turn to stone when they encounter hipsters or beautiful people as a self defense mechanism. Her friends are no less special; Banba is a train geek with afro hair, Chieko is a kimono and Japanese doll geek, Mayaya is a Romance of Three Kingdoms geek while Jiji has an ability to blend into the background and has fetish for elderly men.
As if that’s not interesting enough, Shu-shu is a handsome man with childhood psychic trauma after seeing his father, who is a big name politician, having affair with an actress. His uncle is a prime minister who has ambiguous sexual orientation. He is quite naïve and he does not recognize Tsukimi when she is not dressed up. His younger half brother, Kuranosuke, is a straight cross-dresser and his driver is the funniest guy in the show. I think half of the funniest moments in this series come from this driver (What’s his name again?)
Underneath those mentioned details and amidst several subplots lies the unlikely love story between Tsukimi and Shu-Shu. Kuragehime is such a charming and delightful show thanks to the classic and accessible theme and unique details. The story is simple enough and the anime is counting on its characters to carry the show and keep the viewers entertained. And Kuragehime succeeds beautifully. To put thing simply; I love the show. It’s funny. It’s clever. The drama and romance are incorporated into the story in exactly right time and proportion.
Kuragehime has generally decent production value. The character design is not especially appealing or typically shojo-ish at first glance. It is more comedic looking, perhaps. Surreal/Chibi animation sequences are extensively used to satisfactory humorous effect. A credit also goes to the sound crew who makes the ‘geek petrifaction’ sequence so realistic and very funny (I love the sound when the geeks turn to stone).
Despite all the good things I have to say about this show, one problem remains; Kuragehime literally ends in a cliffhanger. The only subplot that gets wrapped up is that the nunnary will not get sold. Other subplots, including the relationship between Tsukimi and Shu-Shu and Tsukimi’s designer career, remains suspended in the air. I am grateful that the producers do not rush the series and ruin all the pacing of the anime. But now I am dying know what will happen next.
In conclusion, Kuragehime is one of the very few anime in recent memories that provide genuine and clean humor. The anime is perfect for anyone looking for some quality laugh and relaxation (in rather geeky way, of course). I would have given this show higher rating if it had ended more conclusively.
Title: Kuragehime (Jellyfish Princess)
Genre: comedy, drama
Released date: October 15, 2010 – December 30, 2010
Director: Takahiro Omori
Animated by: Brain Base