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Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 3, 2012 by  



“Princess Jellyfish” is a crazy, fun but also captivating anime series that I enjoyed from beginning to end.  You rarely see an anime with an odd storyline like this but that’s what makes “Princess Jellyfish” so enjoyable and addictive.  It’s definitely one of the better anime series to be released on Blu-ray in America in 2012 and an anime series I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © Akiko Higashimura/Kodansha/Kuragihime Production. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Collection

DURATION: 11 Episodes (275 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (4:3), English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: February 28, 2012

Originally created by Akiko Higashimura

Directed by Takahiro Omori

Series Composition by Jukki Hanada

Music by Makoto Yoshimori

Character Design by Kenji Hayama

Art Director: Mio Isshiki

Anime Production: Brains Base

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Hanazawa/Maxey Whitehead as Tsukimi Kurashita

Mitsuki Saiga/Josh Grelle as Kuranosuke Koibuchi

Akemi Okamura/Monica Rial as Mayaya

Junichi Suwabe/Ian Sinclair as Shū Koibuchi

Junko Kitanishi/Jamie Marchi as Shōko Inari

Kentarou Itou/Cris George as Sugimotchan

Kimiko Saito/Cynthia Cranz as Chieko

Mamiko Noto/Leah Clark as Jiji-sama

Motoko Kumai/Mariela Ortiz as Banba-san

Mugihito/Charles Campbell as Keiichirō Koibuchi

Shigeru Chiba/Jerry Russell as Prime Minister Saburōta Negishi

Sumire Morohoshi/Lara Woodhull as Kurara (Clara)

Takehito Koyasu/Christopher Bevins as Hanamori-san

Yasuhiko Kawazu/Christopher R. Sabat as Mr. Popo

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 the 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?

In Nov. 2008, Akiko Higashimura’s josei manga “Princess Jellyfish” was serialized in Kodansha manga magazine “Kiss”.  Two years later, an 11-episode anime TV series was produced by Brain’s Base and aired on television as part of Fuji TV’s “Noitamina” programming block.

To test the market in the United States, FUNimation Entertainment simulcast the series online as part of a deal with Fuji TV and received positive feedback from viewers on Facebook and sure enough, “Princess Jellyfish: The  Complete Collection”, the Blu-ray/DVD collection was released in Feb. 2012.

The series was directed by Takahiro Omori (“Gakuen Alice”, “Fancy Lala”, “Hell Girl”), screenplay by Jukki Hanada (“CODE-E”, “Chobits”, “Gakuen Alice”, “K-ON!”), music by Makoto Yoshimori (“Baccano!”, “Durara!!”, “Gakuen Alice”), character designs by Kenji Hayama (“MazinKaiser”, “Nghtmare Campus”, “Getter Robo: Armageddon”) and art direction by Mio Isshiki (“Death Note”, “Dragon Ball Z”, “Kaze no Yojimbo”).

“Princess Jellyfish” is a series that revolves around an otaku 18-year-old girl named Tsukimi Kurashita who moved to Tokyo to become an illustrator.

When she was younger, her late mother would take her to see jellyfish at an aquarium and tell her that when she gets older, she will blossom and become beautiful like the jellyfish.

But Tsukimi didn’t blossom into a beautiful young woman, she’s just an otaku girl, who knows nothing about style, constantly wearing sweats and not wearing any makeup.

Tsukimi lives with four other women otaku at the Amamizukan:

  • Chieko – Chieko is the manager and an otaku obsessed with dolls dressed in traditional Japanese clothes.  She runs Amamizukan in place of her mother who owns the building and is a groupie of Korean actor Bae Yong Joon.
  • Mayaya – A woman always wearing track clothes and is obsessed with the “Record of Three Kingdoms”.
  • Banba – A young woman with a large natural afro who is obsessed with trains and has the ability to spot good meat at the grocery store.
  • Jiji – A woman who is obsessed with mature, old men.

Together these five women form the Sisterhood of Amamizukan and they are currently looking for a roommate.  But no matter who applies, the women vote against applicants because they are too pretty or cool and wouldn’t blend with the otaku women.

One day while walking to the pet store, Tsukimi spots two different kind of jellyfish that are not supposed to be put in the tank together.  Unfortunately, because Tsukimi is not used to talking to men, part of her is too shy to tell the manager the problem but another side tells her that if she doesn’t do anything, the jelly fish will die.

So, Tsukimi tries to talk to the store employee during closing hours and thinking that she is a weirdo, the store employee pushes her down.  And out of nowhere, a beautiful and stylish woman comes to defend her and goes as far as to save the jellyfish and buy it as a present for Tsukimi.  Tsukimi names the jellyfish, “Clara”.

The woman walks with Tsukimi to her home at Amamizukan but Tsukimi knows bringing in a “beautiful woman” is something her roommate will not allow.  So, she tries to kick the woman out but instead, the woman crashes in Tsukimi’s bedroom.

The following morning Tsukimi finds out the stylish woman is actually a guy named Kuranosuke Koibuchi and from that moment, the two develop a friendship and Tsukimi tries to hide his secret that he is a crossdresser.

We learn that Kuranosuke Koibuchi (aka “Kurako”) enjoys cross-dressing despite being a son of a rich and popular political family. We learn that Kuranosuke’s mother had introduce him to fashion at a young age and his life long dream is to work in the fashion industry.  And despite having many girlfriends and any girl that he has wanted, he is drawn by challenges and his current challenge in life is to make Tsukimi (and her roommates) into beautiful princesses.

But while hanging out with the odd otaku’s, Kuranosuke finds himself possibly attracted to Tsukimi, who is unlike the beautiful women he has already been with.  What is it about Tsukimi that makes him care about her?

VIDEO:

“Princess Jellyfish” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1).  The anime series is vibrant and what I enjoyed the most about this series is that despite it being a TV anime series, there are a lot of scenery as we see Tsukimi and others entering various stylish parts of Tokyo.  So, we get to see various shops and locations, something that most anime series tend to stay away from for TV series.  Also, the character designs tend to showcase a lot of emotion, may it be Tsukimi’s various emotional moods to the wild and crazy faces that her roommates tend to give.

If anything, there is a beautiful look that “Princess Jellyfish” has and it’s a series that does look gorgeous on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Princess Jellyfish” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 with English subtitles.    As one would expect, the English 5.1 lossless track has a bit more of a dynamic range than the 2.0 Japanese lossless track.  But with that being said, there was something about the voice acting of the Japanese version that I enjoyed more.  Perhaps mainly because I understood the Japanese jokes for example, when Tsukimi reacts and sings when Mayaya refers himself to a boy.  But the English 5.1 lossless track does have better dynamic range but whichever version you prefer, I can easily say that both soundtracks are well-done.    The English version for the most part is very good but it does try to add some jokes that may go over the heads of younger audiences such as a reference made by Mayaya about a situation being like the women of “Facts of Life” (an ’80s TV series).

It’s important to note that I couldn’t select audio or subtitles on my Blu-ray remote, I would have to bring up the menu and select Japanese with English subtitles.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • EPISODE 1 – Audio Commentary:  Featuring voice director Christopher Bevins (voice of Hanamori) with Maxey Whtiehead (Tsukimi) and Josh Grelle (Kuranosuke).
  • EPISODE 11 – Audio Commentary: Featuring voice director Christopher Bevins with Cynthia Cranz (voice of Chieko), Monica Rial (vice of Mayaya), Leah Clark (voice of Jiji) and Mariela Ortiz (voice of Banba).
  • Princess Jellyfish Heroes  – Featuring the following shorts: Part 1: Mayaya Chapter (5:05), Part 2: Banba and Jiji Chapter (6:01), Part 3: Chieko Chapter (5:21) and Part 4: Shu-Shu and Mr. Hanamori Chapter (6:01).
  • Go, Sisterhood Explorers! – More six shorts (about thirty seconds each) featuring the Sisterhood Expeditionary Party.
  • Tsukimi and Jiji’s Jellyfish Tour – (21:33) Voice actresses Kana Hanazawa (voice of Tsukimi) and Mamiko Noto (voice of Jiji) go to the Enoshima Aquarium for the jellyfish tour.
  • The Princess Jellyfish Field Guide – A text based feature about jellyfish and the characters of the series.
  • Promotional Video – (:34) The Japanese promotional video for “Princess Jellyfish”.
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:47) The FUNimation Entertainment “Princess Jellyfish” trailer.
  • Textless Opening Song “Kokodake no Hanashi” by CHATMONCHY
  • Textless Closing Song “Kimino Kireini Kizuiteokure” by SAMBOMASTER.
  • FUNimation Entertainment Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Collection” comes with a slipcase plus a DVD version of the series.

Once in awhile, you encounter anime series that are unique and unlike any other anime series that you have watched before.    Anime series that when you watch one episode, you can’t help but watch all of them in a row.

That’s how I feel about “Princess Jellyfish”, an anime series that contains a lot of humor but also a lot of heart.

Afterall, who doesn’t enjoy a storyline about underdogs.  In this case, a young woman who never knew her true beauty until she meets the son of a wealth and popular politician who happens to be a cross-dresser.

It’s definitely an odd storyline but it works!  You can’t help but laugh and enjoy “Princess Jellyfish” because of it’s otaku characters but also root for them because they are usually seen as outsiders and fear the “pretty people”.  But when they are befriended by one (and aren’t aware that “she” is actually a “he”), and the main protagonist Tsukimi trying to keep Kuranosuke’s secret is fun!

“Princess Jellyfish” has a lot going for it, despite it only being an 11-episode series.  Fun characters, enjoyable storyline but also a storyline that may lead to a possible love triangle?  Needless to say, after the series ended, I went online and hoping to see that there was a second season in the works.    I enjoyed this series that much!

As for the Blu-ray release, the animation and art backgrounds for “Princess Jellyfish” is artistic, creative and just beautiful too look at.  I love the character designs and the emotional expressions on the character’s faces, especially the use of colors.  The voice acting was also well-done for both Japanese and English soundtracks.  And fortunately, this is a series that does contain a good amount of special features as well.

Overall, “Princess Jellyfish” is a crazy, fun but also captivating anime series that I enjoyed from beginning to end.  You rarely see an anime with an odd storyline like this but that’s what makes “Princess Jellyfish” so enjoyable and addictive.  It’s definitely one of the better anime series to be released on Blu-ray in America in 2012 and an anime series I highly recommend!






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