Sometimes, you just wish you could stop being a functioning member of society and live in a cave surrounded only by our nerdy hobbies. We all do. With this show, you almost can. Turn on Princess Jellyfish and you dive into the world of ‘The Sisterhood’, a place where adult women can be as socially awkward as they like, and no-one may enter to disrupt the peace. Until now.
Princess Jellyfish, or ‘Kuragehime’, is a quirky, fun little show that came out in fall 2010, and, unfortunately, was the underdog of the season. Other titles like Oreimo dominated the popularity charts with their universal appeal to teenage anime fans, but the young adults among us will definitely find something appealing with Princess Jellyfish. This show is just so relatable.
18-year-old illustrator Tsukimi loves jellyfish to the point of obsession. She lives with a few other obsessive young ladies in an apartment building they like to call ‘The Sisterhood’, where one rule stands unbroken: No men allowed. Not that they let anyone else in either. When Tsukimi sees a jellyfish being mistreated at a pet shop, she is too shy to speak out. Instead, a beautiful woman approaches and helps Tsukimi, saving the jellyfish. This young woman is flawless, thin, confident – everything Tsukimi is not. She also hides a huge secret, one that ‘The Sisterhood’ would not accept.
Despite this secret, Tsukimi introduces her new friend, called Kuranosuke, to the group. Slowly, Kuranosuke helps them to gain enough confidence to stand up for themselves and be counted.
Upon first glance of Kuranosuke, Tsukimi thinks ‘ugh, what a hipster!’, which would probably be some our reactions too. We nerds can be pretty insecure and can sometimes hinder ourselves by hiding away. Maybe we’re happy like that, but having a bit of perspective is sometime a good thing. Kuranosuke is gorgeous and seems confident, but the fancy clothes and wigs hide a person who is a little different too. Tsukimi is quick to judge, but learns through Kuranosuke to be just that bit more accepting, the way she’d like to be accepted as a person.
Princess Jellyfish is not as flashy as other shows, but even that one underlying message could be enough pique your interest. Maybe it’s a tad cliché, but no more cliché that Oreimo and its tsundere little sister with a creepy brother complex. The subtleties are the beauty of this show, but the melodrama is just as great. The comedy is to be found in the characters’ quirks and hilarious overreactions to the smallest of things. On the other hand, the big, glaring issues are overlooked, forcing the viewer to find humour in things that they would normally ignore. This ‘big secret’ of Kuranosuke’s is played on in little gags, and is a tiny part of the show when normally we’d expect it to be a serious plotline. It teaches us to prioritise the lighter things in life, and not concentrate on our own flaws.
Even if you don’t look into it that deeply, you’ll find something good in Princess Jellyfish. Our heroine is not the typically doe-eyed doll we usually see. She has bad eyebrows, pock-marked skin, messy hair, and walks around in sweatpants almost all the time. All her friends are weird-looking and nerdy. And we love them like that. The show is loveable because it is driven by its characters, and not by a plotline that gets recycled into every generic shoujo show of the season.
If you’re looking for a down-to-earth, relatable show, this is definitely one to watch. It isn’t flashy. It’s not the best show in the world. But it can make you giggle while reminding you of some important things in life. Plus, Tsukimi’s jellyfish drawings are the cutest thing ever.