After taking a short break from anime for the past few weeks, I wasn’t exactly sure what I should watch next. I didn’t really have a desire to watch any specific anime, or any particular genre. So I was just looking for anything that was good. While flipping through different anime on trying to find something interesting, I stumbled across Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime). It peaked my interest because this wasn’t the first time that I had come across this series. I had actually considered watching it in the past, but I decided to watch another anime instead. But, after looking at the synopsis and genres, it turned out to be sort of what I was looking for. A short and sweet slice of life series with interesting characters and some comedy sprinkled in. Once I saw how many people had fallen in love with the series in the past, I was sold. Did Princess Jellyfish live up to the high praise of it’s fans, or was I in for a big disappointment?
Tsukimi Kurashita, is a shy otaku girl who moves to Tokyo in order to pursue her dream of becoming an illustrator. Once she arrives, she meets up with some friends that she met online, who invite her to live in there apartment complex, Amamizukan. In Amamizukan, there is one rule that must be observed above all others: there are absolutely no boys allowed in the building. But that’s not a problem for the women living in this apartment; they’d rather indulge in each of their own nerdy hobbies anyway. But, while Tsukimi was trying a save a jellyfish from certain destruction, she was aided by a beautiful young “woman” who suggested that she just buy the jellyfish and take care of it herself. After helping Tsukimi carry the jellyfish, tank, and all of the necessary peripherals, back to Amamizukan, “she” decided to sleep there for the night. The following morning, Tsukimi came to a shocking realization: this beautiful young “woman” that was helping her was actually young man about her age.
Typically, there are two ways that the “slice of life” part of an anime in integrated into a series’ story. The first way is when an anime has an overarching narrative that embraces the other genres of the anime, such as action, mystery or romance, and has slice of life elements mixed into it. The second way is when a series decides to take the slice of life elements, and make those the main focus of the anime while sprinkling in its other genres like comedy. Princess Jellyfish definitely falls closer to the latter style. This series, like many other slice of life shows, is very character driven. Any overarching story elements come in the form of problems for the characters to solve. This allows the series to really focus on the characters, and how they’re living their lives, while still giving the series a sense of progression.
That being said, the story, in and of itself, isn’t all that great. Like I said before, it’s only reason for being here at all is to give the characters something to work for. The quality of the story isn’t helped by the fact that the ending to the major problem presented in the series is…abrupt. Comical, and kind of expected, but abrupt. And I’m specifically saying the ending to the major problem for the series because that was really the only thing that was concluded by the end of the final episode. Several character stories were left totally unfinished. And not just the side characters either; the two main characters still have a lot of things that haven’t really been resolved by the end of the series.
The characters in Princess Jellyfish are one of the best, and most interesting parts of the series. But, like the story, the characters in this series have some shortcomings. Our two main characters, Tsukimi Kurashita and Kuranosuke Koibuchi, are the two characters who we’re given the most background information about and who receive the most development. The problem is that neither of their backstory’s or their development is really complete by the end of the series. Sure, we’re able to get a good sense of who they are by the end of the series, but there were so many unanswered questions. And those were issues that plagued the main characters. The supporting characters receive even less development than main characters, and we’re given little to no background information about most of them.
The relationships between the characters also lack development. The series ended before the relationships between many of the characters could finish developing, which is a shame considering the time that the series spent trying to do just that.
With all of that being said, this cast of characters, for the most part, are all extremely likeable. Each character has a set of quirks that are both charming and humorous. Tsukimi and her roommates also all share some similar quirks and personality traits, and often times will all respond to a situation in the same exact way—which makes for some pretty funny moments. Now there are some moments where the characters may straddle the line between charming and annoying, but that isn’t the case most of the time.
If I had the describe Princess Jellyfish’s animation in one word I would say that it’s…pleasant. Its quaint animation style really fits the general eccentric, and calm tone of the series. There aren’t a whole lot of sharp, vibrant colors in this anime. You’ll see them sometimes, scattered throughout some of the scenes, but, most of the time, the colors are very soft.
The character models were fairly unique and distinct. You certainly won’t have trouble telling characters apart in this series. The background scenery is solidly done, but nothing really stood out to me.
I really enjoyed Princess Jellyfish’s opening and ending songs. I think that the opening and endings are a pretty good representation of the feelings of our two main characters, Tsukimi and Kuranosuke. The opening reminding me a lot of Tsukimi and the ending reminding me a lot of Kuranosuke. I’m not saying why because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did really enjoy both the opening and the ending of this series very much. But, I don’t really have much of an opinion on the rest of the OST. That’s because, other than the opening and ending, nothing really stood out. Usually, during the course of a series, there’s a song or two playing in the background that catches my attention, but that didn’t really happen here. The music served it purpose, I guess. I never heard anything that sounded out of place, but I also didn’t hear anything noteworthy.
However, after I finished watching the series, I listened to a few samples from the OST. And, I must admit, the OST does have some unique, and catchy songs. Some of which are really good. Maybe it was because I was more interested in what was going on, on the screen, but the series’ OST didn’t add a lot to anime for me.
Despite the lackluster ending and character development, I really enjoyed watching Princess Jellyfish. I was really interested in the lives of the characters, and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. One area where I think that this anime’s short episode count helps it is in its re-watch value. While I don’t think that I’ll be returning to this series anytime soon, if I’m looking to watch a comedy slice of life in the future, I know that I can tune in to Princess Jellyfish without making a huge time commitment.
Verdict & Breakdown:
While Princess Jellyfish doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, its likeable characters and solid animation help to make this into a pretty entertaining anime.