The Jellyfish Princess – 03

So I’m having some difficulty with Kuranosuke at the moment. On the one hand, he is someone who sees the good in others, even when they might act a little outside of society’s rules. He certainly doesn’t judge on first look. These are all good points about his varied and flamboyant character. Oh, and he’s a giant dick.

Yep, truly. Let’s take a look at his actions, shall we? From what we know so far, Kuranosuke’s been cross-dressing to shift responsibility away from himself and on to his brother, who seems to be wrapped around his little finger. Sure, perhaps the responsibility of the family “business” is a little great, but I don’t think he’s dealing with it in the best way. Being a hipster, he has other hipster friends, but look – he seems to have been ignoring them recently, even going as far as telling one of them, over the phone…

WHAT A GUY

I’m not going to say that he’s completely at fault, given how the caller in question wasn’t exactly selfless about her reasons for phoning, but even at that, it seems a little harsh to throw out all of your friends.

Not to mention his constant intrusions at the Nunnery. The girls seem to have accepted the fact that he’s going to keep doing this, yet still he persists. Despite this, the culture clash that inevitably happens every time he’s there is always fun and exciting to watch, especially his interactions with Tsukimi.

And on Tsukimi, she seems to be setting herself up for a fall awfully early. I think we know that this will probably end in tears sooner or later, but I’m hoping that Kuragehime puts a better spin on the unrequited love trope. It certainly seems the type of show that could do that.

The redevelopment plans certainly sound foreboding, though it sets up an interesting dynamic with Kuranosuke at the centre of everything. It just might be a chance to redeem himself.

Princess Jellyfish is available to stream in North America on Funimation’s video site and Youtube channel. Fansubs available from the usual channels for everyone else.

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.

The Jellyfish Princess – 01

So we’ve got a few weeks in to this much touted new season of anime. While it would be unwise to draw any lasting conclusions from the first few episodes of everything, there’s certainly lots of potential not yet tapped. A prime example of such in my view would be Kuragehime, translated as The Jellyfish Princess.

The Jellyfish Princess

The first thing that grabbed me about this show is the opening, unsurprisingly. In this case it’s certainly done it’s job. It features the show’s characters appearing in lots of famous movie scenes, like Gene Kelly’s famous romp through the rain in Singin’ In The Rain, scenes from Star Wars, the James Bond opening sequence, and others. The references to mostly western films are especially fun for us to spot – I was particularly fond of the nod to Mary Poppins. It sets up Kuragehime as a fun show full of character.

More than the animation of the opening, I very much enjoyed the opening song by chatmonchy “Koko Dake no Hanashi”. Not only did it fit very well with the pace of the opening animation sequence, it’s an absolute earworm. I couldn’t get it out of my head today. Chatmonchy are very good at doing that – they love their syncopated rhythms and catchy lead guitar riffs, and I love them for it. In fact, one of my favourite ending songs is also by them: “Shangri-La”, which was used as the ending song for Working Man (you may know it as Hataraki Man). The ending song is also sounding pretty good too.

The Jellyfish Princess is adapted from a josei manga by Akiko Higashimura. The josei demographic mostly consists of adult women, giving us a hint of what we can expect from the rest of this noitaminA show. Takahiro Omori directs, after directing such shows as Baccano! and Dullalala! It doesn’t look likely that this show will share quite the same pace as either of his former shows, but what it does have in common is that feeling that what you’re watching is high quality. It’s hard to describe this, but it made me think that Kuragehime was good despite a number of factors.

One of these factors are the characters as a whole. While we’ve only just been introduced to them, they’re big walking one-dimensional stereotypes at the moment, with the possible exception of Tsukimi (voiced by the dulcet tones of Kana Hanazawa) and our Shibuya “princess”. I do have every hope that these fujoshi will be fleshed out in the coming weeks, though. The trap was also a bit obvious, but it’ll be interesting to see how this situation develops.

Who knows how we got here, but it seems that anime with seafood in the title are faring the best at the moment. Apart from Kuragehime, I’m also very much enjoying Squid Girl (Shinryaku! Ika Musume) for it’s main character’s refreshing demeanour, almost like a dictatorial Yotsuba from the sea. Blog post incoming on that, hopefully.

The Jellyfish Princess currently isn’t available to legally stream, but it’s available from the usual fansub outlets.

Autumn 2010: A Small Preview

So Summer is well and truly over. It’s started to get colder again and the nights are getting longer, but who cares about that when we’ve got a fairly nice season of anime coming up? After many believed that the Summer line-up wasn’t as good as it could have been (which is par for the course for the Summer season, generally), there’s a lot of onus on the new shows that will be gracing our screens over the next few months.

I’m not going to do a full preview, mostly because it’s been covered by other blogs and websites very well. Andy over at the UK Anime Network did a very nice summary of the season, and Chartfag (not forgetting Scamp at the Cart Driver) continues to be a nice aggregator of knowledge on what is actually airing. What I want to do is narrow the focus on a few select titles of note, as well as titles I am personally interested in.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt

Quite possibly the most “in your face” title this season, especially with those of us who can understand English, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is the latest project from Gainax, the jiggle-meisters themselves. The story revolves around Panty (the blonde one) and Stocking (the Goth lolita one), as they battle ghosts on Earth.

The trailer (which is highly NSFW) rushes at breakneck speed through some of the action, leaving the viewer with little doubt that PanSto won’t be a conventional anime. The art style, in a departure for Gainax, is a very western affair, evoking many comparisons to Genndy Tartakovsky’s hit Cartoon Network show Powerpuff Girls, what with its thick, simple lines and saturated colours. The trailer also shows hints of Dead Leaves, which makes sense given the two share a director.

From what I’ve seen of the source material, this is going to be pretty raunchy. Especially if it turns out to be true that the production team were promised not to be censored by the TV networks. Certainly one to watch for those who like extreme innovation and/or smutty anime. Can’t wait.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt will be streaming on Crunchyroll from 1st October.

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