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Princess Jellyfish 1 Paperback – March 22, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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About the Author
One of Japan's most popular authors of manga for women, Akiko Higashimura has created more than a dozen series, including Kakukaku Shikajika and Mama's A Temparist. After its adaptation into a popular anime and live-action film, Princess Jellyfish is her first work to be released in English, making her one of the Japanese manga world's best-kept secrets.
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The volume itself is a 2-in-1 omnibus, clocking in at close to 400 pages, which makes it a great deal for the price. In addition to page count, the volume is also slightly larger than regular-sized manga (see my comparison photo with a volume of Sailor Moon). The design is cute and eye-catching, and there are several color pages inside as well. The paper quality is about the same as regular manga, and the translation is well-done. There are also a few pages of translation notes at the end, which are very helpful (I always appreciate it when publishers take the time to add such notes). Overall, a fantastic product!
As for the story, I have always loved Princess Jellyfish for its clever humor and relatable characters (I personally can relate quite well to a bunch of nerdy girls with little to no social skills!) The humor is probably my favorite of any manga I've ever read. If you're unsure about whether you'd like the manga, I suggest watching an episode or two of the anime--if you like that, then you'll definitely love the manga.
For those on the fence about buying this volume, I would recommend that you please do! Kodansha has licensed the first 12 volumes of the manga (to be published in 6 omnibus volumes), and they have stated that they will decide whether or not to publish the rest of the volumes after that based on sales figures. So if you don't support the series now, we might not get all the volumes! Show Princess Jellyfish the love it deserves!
For those unfamiliar with the story of Princess Jellyfish, the manga tells the story of a jellyfish otaku (or hardcore fan/nerd) who lives in Tokyo in an all-women's apartment building populated entirely by other otaku, who call themselves "amars" or nuns. Their motto is "a life without need for men." All of this changes when a fashionable stranger, Kuranosuke, arrives, and their beloved apartment building is slated for demolition in a community redevelopment project. The clothes-loving Kuranosuke suggests that the amars create a fashion line to make enough money to save their building, but the world of fashion is more complicated than they could imagine.
I was a little disappointed in the print quality, it's a bit more mass-market paperback than softcover, with a shiny cover that scratches easily and paper a little cheaper than most josei and seinen I have purchased before (shonen and shoujo manga seem more likely to get this kind of printing). After just one read through it no longer looked new. Since it is a two-volume omnibus, affordability seems to be the key factor rather than quality. It does have eight color pages, which was a nice touch--four at the beginning of the first volume and four at the beginning of the second.
This translation keeps many Japanese terms and honorifics untranslated, which I like, but others may not. The translators use of "fujoshi" seemed a little off until I read the translation notes at the end, though.These notes should assist anyone unfamiliar with many of the terms used.
I have been wanting to read this for a while now. I watched the anime and was immediately obsessed. I knew it was only a matter of time, and was super excited when Kodansha announced they would be releasing it in two-in-ones. Firstly, it’s a very pretty, big volume. I wouldn’t have minded single volumes, but these are nice as well, and about the same price it would be otherwise, if a couple dollars cheaper. There are also five color pages, and they are gorgeous.
I will say that the anime follows the manga very closely, at least so far. But I don’t mind a bit, and it made me want to re-watch it after reading. The artwork is a little rough at times, but mostly I didn’t mind it at all. It was very pretty in some places as well. The humor was the same as in the anime, exaggerated and adorable and funny.
Tsukimi lives in a house with a group of otaku girls, all of them terrified of other people and going outside and men and stylish women. They call themselves nuns, or amars. When Tsukimi runs into Kuranosuke, who is crossdressing as a stylish woman at the time, he kind of barges into her life. This then proceeds to freak out her roommates, when they don’t even know he’s a guy. But Kuranosuke helps them when they find out their house is trying to be bought and demolished, and he also introduces Tsukimi to his political, extremely shy around women, older brother. We also meet their driver, Hanamori, who is pretty much an otaku for cars, and I like him a lot.
I love how this series deals with insecurities and individuality. All of the characters are insecure about something—the women are pretty much insecure about everything—but they’re also completely themselves. They don’t shy from their obsessions, or their fear of other people. They look how they look and don’t want to change that, are even afraid to. They are how they are, and they don’t know how to be any different, and might not even care to change that, either. On the other side of it, Kuranosuke dresses like a woman all the time, tells people about it and uses it to bother his family. He doesn’t hide who he is or what he wants to do. He’s proud of it, even.
I am just in love with this series. I think it’s hilarious and adorable, quirky in the best possible way, impressive. It reminds me of Ouran High School Host Club, only with college-aged otaku women. If you’re even a little curious, I would recommend picking it up. I would recommend it to anyone, actually. I am eagerly awaiting the next one.
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]