Totoro-san

Explorations in Japanese Culture

Princess Jellyfish

2010

Number of Episodes: 11

Synopsis

Amamizukan is an apartment complex where no boys are allowed. Kurashita Tsukimi, a girl who adores jellyfish, lives there happily with her friends who all have nerdy obsessions of their own. Their peaceful lives gradually start to change when a beautiful woman helps Tsukimi out of a pinch. She stays overnight at the apartments — but it turns out “she” is really a “he.”- Anime News Network

What I Love

When a friend first suggested that I watch “Princess Jellyfish,” I honestly thought that it was just going to be some sort of magical girl anime. Princess Jellyfish is a real jewel in the world of anime, because it defies so many different aspects of the genre that have become commonplace. For one, all the female characters are realistically proportioned. In fact, princess jellyfish is all about girls who are not the prettiest or most attractive, but posses an otaku’s passion for their own hobbies. That is where the real charm of Princess Jellyfish lies. The series is all about a group of misfits who just don’t know how to handle the world outside their own interests. In fact, one of my favorite scenes happens the very first episode, when Tsukimi struggles with talking to a pet store clerk because he is a “hipster.” This inability to deal with the “hipsters” and “princesses” that around them leads to some of my favorite moments in the show. Also, how could you not fall in love with a show that features a cross dressing male love interest?

Favorite Character

My favorite character in the show is not even one of the otaku girls, but the male character Koibuchi. He comes from a very traditional Japanese family who is involved in politics, but Koibuchi is not interested in the family profession. In an attempt to rebel against his father and assert his own individuality, he begins cross dressing as soon as he starts college. Koibuchi has a love of women’s clothes and fashion after he was introduced to them by his mother at a young age. I really feel like he is another way that Princess Jellyfish just go against the gender stereotypes and shows the charm in just being who you are regardless. To me, Koibuchi represents them even better than the other characters.

While each of the otaku girls in the show have their own charm, Koibuchi’s feeling of alienation from his family makes him even more likable. He is energetic and does his best to help out all the otaku girls. He is driven to help all the girls to feel special and help them out with their problems. Sure, call me a sucker for a good natured character, but his cross dressing and family problems really made me fall in love with him.

What You Should Know

Ok, before you hate me let me warn you now. The ending to Princess Jellyfish just sucks. It is a rather short series at only 11 total episodes and the plot really just kind of stops rather abruptly. This warning was given to me by my friend and I have since made sure to pass it on to all the people that I recommend the anime too.

There is a dubbed version of the show produced, but I really have to recommend against it. Some of the otaku girls are a bit eccentric and the voice acting in the Japanese version does a far better job at conveying this. Also, I think they fit the characters much well. There are few times that I will suggest a viewer to pick the dubbed version over the sub, but this is definitely not one of those times.

 

Pros/Cons

Pro
+ Unique way at looking at gender roles in anime
+ Nice art & sound
+ Pokes fun at Otaku

Cons
– Abrupt ending
– Some might not like the side plot line

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