The Jellyfish Princess – 02

From the first episode, I thought that Kuragehime was going to be a good anime. What I didn’t realise was also how annoying it was going to be. Despite this, I thought episode two was good at laying more groundwork of the story.

First of all, the sisterhood’s interactions and their daily life really makes the whole thing seem genuine. While a house full of female nerds isn’t the most farfetched idea in the world, it still takes some set up to make it believable. Which I think they’ve done very well. They all take an interest in each others likes too, which is nice. Their strangeness is also well presented when Kuranosuke drops in to their weekly hot pot party.

Which leads nicely on to annoyance number one. It’s him. I lost count of the number of times Tsukimi told him to “leave”, “get out” and/or “please don’t come back”. The point was made sufficiently and impressively clear over two days by someone who is self-professedly bad around men. And yet, he smiles, nicely asks why, and proceeds to not listen. Either he’s mentally retarded, or he knows exactly what he’s doing and has a larger plan (probably, and hopefully, the latter from Tsukimi’s deductions). Either way, he’s still an arsehole who either can’t or won’t respect other people’s wishes. Made even clearer by the manipulative power he has over his brother.

And while I’m on the topic of annoyances, the sisterhood doesn’t escape either. Fair enough, Kuranosuke did just barge in on their party, so I’m not surprised they’re giving him the cold shoulder. But you can’t even put their complete lack of social skills down to androphobia, because they still haven’t realised he’s a guy yet! As far as they’re concerned, she’s some female hipster, and that’s damn well enough to kick her out. While the Sisterhood does get teased unfairly by others in general, they’re just as bad as one of the “hipsters” they assume their unwelcome guest is. However, it’s immediately clear that this is a clash of two worlds that don’t understand each other.

Hmm. After rereading, it seems I’ve been spurred on to annoyance. Maybe this show is genuinely good after all.

I talked a bit about the opening song by chatmonchy last time, so it’s only fair the ending song gets a bit of love too – it certainly deserves it. It’s called “”Kimi ni Kirei no Kizuite Okure” (translated, “Realize How Beautiful You Are”) by Sambomaster, a three-piece rock band who’ve also done some music for Bleach. Much like chatmonchy, Sambomaster seem to have a signature sound, mostly defined by Takashi Yamaguchi’s tendency to sing from the throat. That guy really loves his screaming notes – you can’t get through a line of the song without them. Despite this, I thought it was quite memorable, which is usually a feat compared to other anime ending song fayre.

Finally, as predicted, Funimation just announced they’ve licenced this as Princess Jellyfish, which is nice. That of course means that it’s now available legally to stream in North America from their website and Youtube channel. For the rest of us, the usual channels are still open.

London Expo 2010

It’s almost been a week since this year’s October outing of the MCM Expo, and the dust has just about settled around the ExCeL Centre. Once again, nerds of all shapes and sizes took to the DLR to buy lots of merchandise and/or dress up as their characters of choice. It was self-evident from the massive overcrowding on the platforms of Custom House station that this year’s Expo was as popular as ever, and to prove it, the organisers have stated the attendance was the largest ever – 46,400 over the weekend.

My excursion started dark and early pre-sunrise at Cambridge train station. Though even from this point one could tell fellow Expo-ers apart from the normal people. As we all navigated the Tube’s scattershot service, the nerd density increased to a massive level. The queue for the Expo, now very organised (as opposed to a few years ago), was as jovial as ever. Despite outward appearances and stereotypes, the majority of people at Expo are a very friendly bunch, and much high-fiving was taking place as the queue moved steadily forward.

Expo wouldn’t be Expo without the provided goodie bag, right? The DVD spoils this year were the usual, with a few old titles that many passed over at the time, and some bargain bin live action flicks. S-Cry-Ed, a 2001 action series, was present, though only the luckiest would have got volume 1, if at all. I ended up with volume 6. There was also an OVA called Submarine 707R, an action-ish story from 2003.

The format and layout of the show has remained mostly static throughout the years, though there was also a Friday afternoon opening this time around. Though I didn’t go, I heard it was nice to walk around the stands without the usual maul of people. The format on the Saturday was the same at least, open around 9am, browse the stalls, take in the anime industry panel, browse some more, go home. While this is the usual path for many, veer off slightly and there’ll be lots happening. While previously lots of unofficial gatherings took place outside, they were semi-formalised this year as the MCM Fringe Festival. Though still having that chaotic nature they’ve always had.

The industry panel for this year had more announcements that usual, with a more upbeat tone than normal. All of MVM, Manga Ent. and Beez Ent. were throwing new licences out left, right and centre. Beez have licensed the two noitaminA shows from Spring 2010, House of Five Leaves and The Tatami Galaxy, with more in the pipeline. I am very glad Tatami Galaxy has been licensed, as it actually manages to be quirky and refreshing. MVM have licensed Tower of Druaga, a sort of action-ey, comedy show with some great characters that would be well worth the watch. Manga have licenced both the second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and the movie sequel, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Not only that, the also have the Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san shorts, which are likely to be bundled in with the second season as a sweetener to help you survive. Manga are really riding high right now, what with also licensing the first season of K-On! (after fierce competiton from Beez) and Birdy the Mighty Decode. These will all be available next year some time, barring any complications. And as Manga sub-licenses from Funimation, Jerome made it clear that the flow of licences is as obvious as it looks, and that it doesn’t take a lot of thinking to discover what they have lined up in the future.

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