The main character of Kuragehime (海月姫 – Jellyfish Princess), Tsukimi, is a young, nerdy woman who is obsessed with jellyfish, her fellow dormmates with equally esoteric obsessions. It follows Tsukimi’s relationship with two brothers in a neighboring rich famil: Kuranosuke, a popular high school transvestite, and Shuu, thirty year-old virgin, on a course to follow his father and uncle’s footsteps into politics. Tsukimi’s house is going to be shut down for redevelopment, and loosely follows their attempts to prevent their eviction.
With this setup, I was expecting lots of drama / romance combined with crude crossdressing humor and a supporting cast of single joke caricatures (Tsukimi’s nerdy doormmates). I held out some hope since the show was in the noitanimA timeslot and and was pleasantly surprised. The romance is nice and subtle, eschewing the usual over-the-top confessions and misunderstandings for a slow, understated development between the three characters. There’s sufficient drama to keep the show going (I especially enjoyed Shuu’s “affair”). There’s no real conclusion, since the creators only had ten episodes to work with, but I considered the ending satisfying, aside from the romance angle. Kuranosuke’s cross-dressing is done quite nicely and actually didn’t bother me- it is well explained and the reactions by the other characters are quite believable (well, except for the prime minister).
Some of the shoujo / josei cliches which annoy me the most did make their way into the show though. Namely the Cinderella effect, where Tsukimi changes clothes and puts on makeup and is suddenly the most beautiful woman in the city. It is believable; since she literally puts no effort whatsoever into her appearance most of the time, and Kuranosuke is an expert in dressing up. It still annoys me though. Actually the entire subplot about dresses and making the jellyfish dress bored me. But, I suppose I’m not the target audience. Also, the supporting characters are not well developed, especially Tsukimi’s dormmates and the prime minister. Every time the prime minister showed up I just hit myself on the head. But these single jokes were used quite well, especially the girl who liked old men and the one with the afro. And I think I probably would have appreciated Maya more if I actually knew anything about the Three Kingdoms.
- Plot / Script – 8 / 10 – Simple and to the point story with good use of humor.
- Characters – 9 / 10 – The main characters are well flushed out along with a few side characters (the redeveloper who tricks Shuu, Shuu’s driver).
- Production – Visual – 6 / 10 – Consistent and acceptable, but nothing special.
- Production – Auditory – 7 / 10 – Nice OP.
- Overall – B
Voice Actor of the Show Award – Takehito Koyasu (武人子安) – Yoshio Hanamori (Shuu’s driver). I just can’t get enough of his deep, full, indifferent voice.
How it would be Worse Better if I Were the Director – Less Maya, more of the afro train girl and the old men girl. Less dresses and tragic flashbacks about mothers.
Recommendations – Nodame Cantabile, Honey and Clover