Monday, January 31, 2011

Anime Review: Princess Jellyfish

Initally I was going to post this review before Shiki's (since PJ technically airs before Shiki and I post reviews in the order that I finish the material) but there was some weird delay and Funimation posted the last episode a couple of days late. Actually, if they had taken any longer I was going to go looking for fansubs since you do not deny me my josei, heck, I was going to watch this series fansubbed if it wasn't simulcast at all, that's how excited I was for it. So was it worth the wait?

Princess Jellyfish (a lot of fans refer to it by the Japanese name Kuragehime but since Funimation has translated the title that's the one I'm using)
Summary: Tsukimi is a girl with a deep love of jellyfish (to the point where she could be called a jellyfish otaku) living in a boarding house in Tokyo with a bunch of other introverted, terrified of normal people, otaku (who refer to themselves as "The Nuns"). But her life is about to get more exciting when a stylish young lady helps her save a neglected jellyfish and decides to integrate "herself" into Tsukimi's life

The Good: I was surprised that Kuranosuke (the "young lady" that Tsukimi meets) turned out to be just as important as she was in the series and I really loved the episodes he narrated. He's as cosmopolitan as Tsukimi is navie, a bit sarcastic, cynical, and jaded and just a pretty funny narrator and really holds up the show when Tsukimi gets stuck in a rut. Tsukimi is also a pretty interesting main character but for me Kuranosuke stole the show. As for the Nuns, sometimes they bothered me and sometimes their antics reminded me of my dorm and Kuranosuke's family did the same.

The Bad: Ouch that was a rushed ending (sounds like the manga didn't have a good place to stop at so they combined parts of two volumes plus some original material) and it really would have been better with just one more episode. Normally I would call that horrible planning but since they had to wrap up three different plot lines in just eleven episodes it's understandable (and this is a weakness that almost all noitaminA shows have sadly). Also, the Nuns really didn't grow as characters over the course of the series (they're pretty flat actually) and Tsukimi didn't grow that much either. She does seem to have a revelation at the end but there was a lot of her moping around to get to that point. Some of the other characters were missing some development (I know that Shuu changed suddenly in the last few episodes and some manga readers had to fill in a few details) so the problem with Princess Jellyfish can be summed up as this: It really needed more episodes.

The Art: As odd as it sounds, I really like the character designs in this series. Specifically, the Nuns get a makeover or two throughout the series and, even though they do look prettier, they still look like average girls with a good stylist. It's a small detail but I'm still giggling over that fact that Kuranosuke is the prettiest person on the show most of the time (speaking of which, I want his wardrobe now). Nothing else too special about the art, Clara the narrating jellyfish is adorkable and really, all the jellyfish in this show are really beautiful looking, so the visual work well for the show.

The Music: Alright, I have no idea why the opening is a montage of scenes from famous movies (none of the Nuns are movie fans which would've been my best explanation) but it's pretty awesome none the less*. As odd as it sounds, all the character interactions in the OP match their personalities perfectly and the lyrics match both the story and the movies in the OP so it's a really opening. Likewise, the ending song is perfect for the series (I like the interpretation that the song is Kuranosuke singing to Tsukimi) and the lyrics really fit the theme of the series."I really want you to realize that your gorgeous/Why haven't you realized this before?/....I'll be so happy if you just realize your loveliness." Plus the song starts during the last few seconds of the episode itself by playing the lyrics "LOVE IS COMING BACK, BACK" in the background and it's just hard to hate such an upbeat and positive song. As a final note, I was seriously impressed at Kuranosuke's VA, I honestly couldn't tell if it was a woman or man until I looked it up (it's Mitsuki Saiga so a woman) and she was really able to pull off his voice amazingly well, kudos to her!

I fell in love with this series, despite it's short comings, and would love for it to get a second season. However, since this seems unlikely, I'll probably check out the manga (which is sadly unlicensed) and pray that Funimation gives this a DVD release soon. Until then it can be seen on Funi website/youtube/hulu and I believe on ANN as well. Now, to go show off my darling Clara plushie to my friends....

*So, whoever thought "hey guys, let's make the nerdiest anime opening ever because we can get away with it!" you are pretty darn amazing.