Princess Jellyfish | Manga Review

Thursday 17 December 2020

Written by: Akiko Higashimura
Published by: Kodansha & Kodansha USA
Genre: coming of age, slice of life, romantic comedy
Published in 2008

This idea has been a long time coming since I blog about all things gaming and under the category "geeky" as much as I don't consider myself as one I wanted to branch out and include comics, manga as well as other books I've read for a while but it's hard to implement this when people just think I write about all things gaming. As a kid when it came to reading I would always pick the fantasy books, I loved escaping to a world of all thing mythical and that love has never gone away which you can see from the types of games I play and movies and TV shows I watch. I think that's why Princess Jellyfish stood out to me as it was so outlandish and cute, I always read the back of books to get the jist and flick through a few pages as buying a book based off its cover could leave me disappointed. 

Luckily the storyline stood out for me and I could relate to the main character and her housemates as I have never really fit in, from the start it's clear Princess Jellyfish celebrates being yourself and this is something I have always lived by, if I wasn't me than I would just be a shell of myself and that's a sad feeling. The main character, Kurashita Tsukimi has had a lot to deal with and the death of her mother is still very raw and fresh to her, her mother impacted her life a lot and she seems to shy away from the world due to her uncertainty towards everyday life. She lives in a woman only communal house where men and boys are strictly shunned and not allowed, she lives with five other women who are equally just as cautious as her. They call themselves the Amars (Japanese for Nun) they come across at rude at times due to their awkward nature towards others and aren't fans of anything that is on trend or those who are fashionable.

Things take a turn when Tsukimi befriends a very beautiful "stylish" who came to her rescue even though she was adamant she never needed it, you see Tsukimi has an obsession with jellyfish that started many years ago thanks to her mum, it's something she holds on dearly too and has carried a love for into adulthood, everyday she visits a pet store where a Jellyfish she has named Clara resides on it's own normally but on this day, the day the store is closed we find out that Clara has been paired with a moon jellyfish and because Clara is a little spotted jellyfish this spells disaster and could kill her. Tsukimi begs the shop assistant to open the door and let her explain why they can't be paired together and he refuses to listen pushing her out the door, just as he did this the "stylish" appears and comes to her rescue convincing the shop assistant to just let her have the jellyfish and say it died and so he does knowing full well he could have harmed Tsukimi.

You could tell that in this instance there would be a big change in the story what with Tsukimi impression of the "stylish" changing thanks to the help of a stranger, this made room to show readers that it's not best to judge a book by it's cover and that not everything is as intimidating as it seems. On top of this the stylish stranger stays the night at the house in Tsukimi bed and we discover that the stylish stranger who dresses as female is infact a male and identifies as a male called Kuranosuke, they just enjoy dressing up and having fun which leaves Tsukimi conflicted as she thought she had made a friend, she panics and wants him to leave so her housemates don't see. Of course he does just that but we learn his life isn't rainbows and sunshine either, his family don't agree with his choice of fashion, he doesn't want to follow in their steps and become a politician like them, being serious is no fun right? 

Kuranosuke and Tsukimi have formed such a random friendship that it was too late to stop now, it may be one sided at first because Tsukimi doesn't want her housemates to find out about who Kuranosuke really is but it's clear that this friendship will open their eyes to new possibilities. This is something that doesn't seem possible at first, the Amar' are so set in their ways and angry young women but they also find it hard to express themselves to the outside world and let others know their thoughts on matters. Tsukimi doesn't want to risk the others knowing that Kuranosuke isn't female so she comes off as stressed throughout a lot of the book. Kuranosuke on the other hand feels safer around the Amars and doesn't seem want to take the hint he isn't welcome there, he wants to be himself and can do just that around them so obviously doesn't listen, he seems to want to help the girls more out more than anything.

The house they live in is in danger of being sold off and knocked down to make room for other developments, they needed to save where they live or try and convince the landlord not to sell. You think this would be easy considering one of the Amars is the daughter of the landlord but unfortunately not, her mother wants to experience life and life it now while she can but this doesn't deter the girls from wanting to fight. It turns out that Kuranosuke' brother, Shuu Koibuchi is the one of the people on the planning development who want to buy and knock down where the girls live and unfortunately for Tsukimi she has fallen for him! This happens pretty early on in the book but as we get towards the end their paths were bound to cross, he seems so much more mature than she is but they melt around one another, the sad thing is he only recognises her when Kuranosuke gives her a makeover and can't see her beauty without all the makeup. 

I found myself willing him to notice her without makeup and stop being so superficial but it's just like life, some people only care for something that is beautiful and could possibly benefit them in one way or another. Kuranosuke and Shuu Koibuchi are so different from one another, they are half siblings yes but there isn't one thing about them that I could come across that was remotely the same. There is a huge age gap too as kuranosuke is 18 and his brother is 30 so I guess they do find it hard to be able to connect, Tsukimi is also 18 so the big age gap is quite big between her and Shuu Koibuchi but she is over the legal age of consent, I just would never imagine the two to like each other. 

There is a lot of arrogance and judgement that takes place in this book so over the period of time I continued reading it I got the feeling that the characters begin to find themselves and who they really are they become more accepting. As far as storylines go this one was easy to follow and the most relatable, the author also added a section in the book to explain any words her readers may not understand and what they mean along with any references made which was a big help for me. What stood out the most was that Princess Jellyfish' plot focuses on more than just Tsukimi life, it becomes entangled in things she never dreamed of happening. Over the course of the book her look changes and she starts to think about what she really wants instead of shying away from the world, it opens up new possibilities for the next volumes which I'm excited to read.

Princess Jellyfish is also an Anime and a live action movie, I want to see both just to see how they live up to the manga and what they cut out, I have a feeling I will love the Anime more than the movie though! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Princess Jellyfish, the illustrations are stunning and captivating, if you want something easy to follow that leaves you wanting more this is a must read. I got the impression that this first book is merely just an introduction to the next volumes (17 in all) and doesn't want to give too much away, it's a great introduction to those who want to start reading Manga. 

I give it 5 stars ★.


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