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 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.
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
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.