So this is one of the most frustrating of anime, oh it is good, but well to give it an analogy it’s like eating a beautiful steak dinner. Everything is cooked to perfection, the waiter asks you if you want dessert, of course you do after such an exquisite meal! Then a dead cat is placed in front of you in an ice cream dish and the whole evening is ruined… This is what I call the ongoing manga effect.
Princess Jellyfish is still being written as we speak, so the anime wanting to probably start while the series was at peak popularity just charged on ahead leaving it to end in a most unsatisfactory manner. It had to end somehow but also leave it open enough so that people would go view the manga. It is only 11 episodes so it could also have been made purely to sell the manga but still I’m raging about it. Anyway all this preamble and I haven’t told you a thing about it, all you know is there is a jellyfish of high stature at this point.
Basically Princess Jellyfish is very similar at its base to The Wallflower except reversed, this time we have a house filled with otaku women and one beautiful girl (boy in drag) comes in to help them. To give it more detail we have Tsukimi as the main character, she is 18 years old and has moved to Tokyo to become an illustrator. She managed to find a place at Amamizukan and lives there with other otaku women, with absolutely no men allowed. Tsukimi’s thing is jellyfish (which I totally empathise with cause jellyfish are arguably the best thing ever) since her late mother inspired her with trips to aquariums. One night while trying to save a jellyfish having been placed in the wrong tank, with the most awkward of social skills, she is rescued by the beautiful Kuranosuke.
The two strike up an uneasy friendship, with Tsukimi first being intimidated by Kuranosuke’s beauty then by his gender. The plot basically meanders around for a bit; we have Kuranosuke’s brother Shu who becomes a love interest for Tsukimi but only when she has been dressed up, he then gets blackmailed by seductive lady, breaking Tsukimi’s heart. Kuranosuke develops feelings for her, seductive lady is trying to close down the building where they live and so the tenants with Kuranosuke have to save the building and somehow fix things with Shu and jeez calm down! We only have 11 episodes guys.
The characters in this anime are exceptional and downright crazy, they also cover things in a very believable way, apart from Tsukimi all the tenants are over 30 years old and are basically the product of an economic boon in Japan in the 70’s, after this came economic fall so they claim they couldn’t get work etc and now literally live off their parents money while indulging in their obsessions.
Tsukimi is our sweet heroine and, despite some crazy outbursts that seem rife in these types of anime, is the most level-headed of the tenants. She really loves jellyfish, like if she could be a jellyfish, she would! She was very close to her mother who passed away when she was young and often talks to her throughout the series about her feelings and goals. She is very shy and has little self-worth but gradually grows feelings for Kuranosuke’s brother.
Kuranosuke is the unsung hero of this anime. He comes from a rich political family but doesn’t want anything to do with it, so he dresses in drag not only to piss off his dad but to feel closer to his mother (who his dad had an affair with) as they shared a love of fashion. He is a little insensitive when it comes to dealing with the tenants but he genuinely cares for them and sticks around despite their weirdness and initial rudeness. He also is the driving force behind them saving their home.
Then we have the tenants and oh boy are they kooky:
Chieko is the most normal, being the manager and a lover of all things traditionally Japanese especially clothing and dolls.
Banba is your classic train otaku except with an afro that covers her eyes, she also has magic food vision.
Mayaya is my personal favourite, imagine having someone act like an over the top thespian with you all the time, that’s Mayaya. She’s an otaku of Records of Three Kingdoms, which is a Chinese historical text so all her dialogue refers to battle and historical figures.
Jiji is well… she loves old guys, like seriously the older the better, she perves on old men!
Shu is Kuranosuke’s adorable older brother, he is very serious and shy but softens quite a bit after meeting Tsukimi and falls for her quite fast, but is always held back by the fact that when Kuranosuke hasn’t dressed her up he can’t recognise her. Come on Shu! She isn’t super secret Sailor Moon here. He is also interesting for other spoilery reasons and I actually found myself rooting for the guy after seeing his childhood trauma and then him being blackmailed by some stupid asshat who really deserved to be arrested.
Princess Jellyfish is interesting on a number of levels, it covers some quite serious issues but very light-heartedly, you won’t be breaking down sobbing despite some of the stuff that happens. This may annoy some viewers especially one scene which is played down for less than what it actually is. I however enjoyed it anyway, this anime has its heart set on comedy so to bog down with too much sadness would really have soured things quite quickly. The anime is entertaining throughout, there were some points where I would say I hope this happens it would be hilarious, then boom it does and it still would shock me.
The characters aren’t given much development aside from Tsukimi but they are hilariously flawed yet funny in their own ways. Princess Jellyfish is clever as well in making the characters believable as they are all older women and despite their social failings they have seen a bit of the world and won’t accept a lot of bullshit xD
As I said in the beginning this anime doesn’t end well, now it doesn’t end badly either but it’s just meh. They also needlessly changed a few things that didn’t need to be changed and twisted some of the characters which made me pretty peeved when I found out. It felt like it needed maybe 3-5 more episodes longer to really wrap things up but it got to the eleventh episode and went “whatever that’ll do, it’s mostly resolved”. No your highness! No it isn’t 😡 #justiceforshu T^T
I would still recommend it as it’s so sweet and funny with really endearing characters but maybe expect to be picking up the manga afterwards for a real conclusion.