From the director of Durarara!! comes a thoughtful comedy on learning to look below the surface and finding the courage to rock the status quo.
Plain, timid and obsessed with jellyfish, Tsukimi is a far cry from her idea of a princess. Her tepid life as a jobless illustrator comes complete with roommates who harbor diehard hobbies that solidify their status as hopeless social rejects. These wallflowers run a tight nun-like ship, but their no-men-allowed-not-no-one-not-no-how bubble is unwittingly burst after Tsukimi brings home a rescued sea jelly and a beauty queen—who’s actually a guy. When threat of losing their cozy convent inspires this glamour boy to turn the neurotic entourage into a portrait of success, will Tsukimi take her chance to bloom or will she end up a hot mess?
Based on a manga by Akiko Higashimura, the shojo
(girls') broadcast series Princess Jellyfish
focuses on a dysfunctional group of young women in Tokyo. Tsukimi arrived six months earlier to become an illustrator, but she's so shy--if not agoraphobic--that she's accomplished little. She joins five other women in a broken-down apartment house; they describe themselves as otaku
, but they're more like hikikomori
(shut-ins). They "turn to stone" when they encounter anyone more successful or attractive, which is almost anyone. Into this frowsy milieu bursts a stunning creature with a figure and a wardrobe Barbie might envy: Keiichiro, the son of a wealthy and powerful politician. Although he's heterosexual, Keiichiro has a penchant for drag. Predictably, he turns diamond-in-the-grunge Tsukimi into a polished jewel. Tsukimi's fascination with jellyfish runs through the series. Her mother once took her to an aquarium and promised to make her a gown inspired by the shimmering tentacles of an exotic jellyfish (a look even Project Runway
has yet to explore). Director Takahiro Omori tries to infuse this off-kilter Pygmalion story with some energy, but he too often mistakes frantic action for comedy, and it feels like the characters are grabbing the viewers' lapels and insisting they're being funny. The audience for Princess Jellyfish
is clearly teenage girls. (Rated TV 14: brief nudity, cartoon violence, risqué humor, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
(1. Sex and the Sisterhood, 2. Sukiyaki Western Matsusaka, 3. Enchanted, 4. I'll See You in My Aquarium, 5. I Want to Be a Jellyfish, 6. Night of the Living Sisterhood, 7. Jubaku--Spellbound and Stone Broke, 8. Million Dollar Babies, 9. Midnight Pureboy, 10. Days of Love and Lukewarm Water, 11. Jellyfish of Dreams)