Friday, July 27, 2012

Anime Review: Princess Jellyfish

There are some series that really, really defy conventions. Something that you really can't "explain" what it is without sounding like a complete gibbering moron repeating the phrase "No, it's good, I swear!" Case in point is Princess Jellyfish, a series about a bunch of unattractive otaku and their beautiful cross-dressing friend as they deal with the circumstances that surround the real world. No, it's good, I swear!

"I wish I was brainless like you."
Meet Tsukimi. When she was a kid, her mother always took her to the aquarium to look at the jellyfish display. Her mother always telling her that when she grows up, she will be a beautiful princess, and that her mother will make her a dress that looks like a jellyfish. Fast forward a few years and Tsukimi realizes that at some point in her life things went terribly wrong. She didn't grow up to be a princess, but rather a hopeless, socially maladjusted otaku obsessed with jellyfish. Fortunately, she found a place in an apartment building with other female otakus, each obsessed with a different thing ranging from public transportation to Three Kingdoms. The apartment building only has two rules 1) No "Stylish" only otaku, and 2) ABSOLUTELY NO BOYS! And thus they call themselves the Sisterhood. Tsukimi's life was uneventful for the most part, until while saving a jellyfish she named Clara from certain doom at the hands of an ignorant pet store clerk, she meets a very beautiful Stylish who is kind, caring, bold and is actually willing to talk to the hopeless otaku. However, after forcefully crashing at the apartment building, Tsukimi realizes something about this "Princess"... that "she" is actually a boy named Kuranosuke who likes dressing in drag. Now Tsukimi's life is turned upside down by this walking embodiment of everything that the sisterhood rejects, AND HE WON'T LEAVE! If only she was a jellyfish, then maybe she wouldn't have to deal with life.

Kuranosuke: Version Male

The series is HILARIOUS! Nearly everything in the series is over-the-top, from scenarios to the reactions to the obsessions. It does help that even the "normal" people in the series are just as insane as the otakus (with the only difference being how they interact with "normal" society). It's really hard to consider one person "normal" and another a complete otaku when the former would tell you the launch codes of the entire US nuclear arsenal without a second's hesitation if you threaten to put your hands on his recently waxed car. Calm, diligent, and respectful members of the Diet (the Japanese Government) suddenly have mental breakdowns when faced with situations they are completely unfamiliar with. Just who are suppose to be the socially awkward ones here? That isn't to say that it's all fun and games in the series. One of Princess Jellyfish's strong points is its focus on relationships and the respect it has for all people regardless of whether they're "Stylish" or otaku. Both groups are given respect and both receive equal portions of gags directed at them. It's like the series is saying that we are all crazy and awkward around each other, the only difference between the "Stylish" and otakus is just how they present themselves to others.

Extreme make-over: Otaku edition.
There really isn't any major negatives I can point out about the series outside of the usual complain I have with really good series, which is that it's just too damn short. It's only 11 episodes long, and as of writing this review there isn't a second season planned, which is a shame considering there is so much room left for the series to continue. Not that the series as is ended with a complete non-ending (Like Pumpkin Scissors or His and Her Circumstances). Not quite at least, there is a sense of closure as the main conflict that serves as the driving point for most of the series is more or less resolved, and all of the characters are at a nice resting point in terms of development, but there is so much left open and unresolved that it really feels like if we don't get a second season we got royally robbed.

I had a hard time trying to decide whether this is a "Highly Recommended" or a "Must Watch!" given the fact that I'm not sure the general public is ready for such high levels of insanity and Japanese culture, but then I realize that sometimes it's better to screw all that in favor of well developed characters and ridiculously hilarious moments. Princess Jellyfish is a show that really does everything different from its cast of characters to it's brand of high energy antics. It's full of cross dressers, otakus, and jellyfish and it should not be missed. Must Watch!

Until Next time
-Crescent, There are five different levels of crazy right here.

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