I have been wanting to write this post for so long. Finally I have the chance to write about Kuragehime, and I have no idea how to start. I just have so many things I want to say. So I will begin with this statement: I adore Kuragehime and it is now officially my second favorite Romance Manga (kicking out Iroha in my Top Ten*). We found the manga by mistake. TheBetterCup found the first manga cover on pinterest and then we watched the anime. I loved it so much that I read the first 57 Chapters of the manga in about 4 days. The story is fantastic, and I love the characters. The entire thing is unique, mostly because the author is weird. She writes about these characters with obsessions (that make them Otaku) and how they struggle to fit in society. She understands how these character feel about the obsessions because she is like this. The truth is, anyone who is part of a fandom is like this and can relate to the characters (I am like this and so is TheBetterCup). That is why the characters are so likable. On top of that, how often is there a story where you root for a crossdressing university student to end up in a romantic relationship with dorky NEET that is obsessed with jellyfish. But let me not get to far ahead of myself, let me explain the plot line first.
Kuragehime (Jellyfish Princess) is a story that focuses on these otaku women that live in an all girls apartment building. They are all super obsessed with ‘nerdy’ hobbies, and all of them struggle to fit into society. They even have anxiety being around so called ‘normal’ and ‘fashionable’ people (I feel for them. Anyone who is into something that is not a typical hobby that fits gender or age or cultural norms). Anyways, the main character accidentally befriends a young boy who is the illegitimate son of a politician, fashion enthusiast, and cross-dresser. Together they struggle to keep Amamizukan (the apartment of the women NEETS) from being demolished in a redevelopment plan while keeping the other girls from learning that he is actually a guy and not a girl. There is a distinguishable plot, and yet it also succeeds at being lighthearted. It can venture off that main problem to the characters’s personal problems very smoothly. It also shows that most people have obsessions (like the boy has one with fashion), and they tend to be very important to the characters (many of them have strong feelings about these obsessions because of their bonds with their mothers).
Tsukimi Kurashita is the protagonist of the manga. She is an 18 year old otaku (youngest one of the girls in Amamizukan), who moved to Tokyo to become an illustrator. She is obsessed with jellyfish, and that obsession was influenced by her deep love for her deceased mother. She is awkward, nerdy, and shy. Social interactions scare her and she struggles to break out of her comfort zone when it comes to how she dresses (she just feels like she could never be as beautiful as other girls). I love her. She is super petite, but with a figure that is more akin to the average 18 year old. She is not tall, super thin, with angular features and all leg. Instead she is short, slightly boxy, and with a relatively rounder face. (As a 19 year old, I felt like I could relate with her in body type, and social anxieties, and nerdy obsessions). Sometimes I wished she could be more open minded to fashionable people (I feel like the Amars or Otaku ladies treated fashionable people badly when they should understand how that is wrong), but she is still lovable. When she dresses in clothing other than sweatpants, she is actually really cute.
Kuranosuke Koibushi is the male love interest to Tsukimi, and second protagonist. He is a university student and illegitimate son of a politician. He enjoys cross dressing (so as to avoid his obligations of becoming a politician) and has an obsession with fashion that is also rooted in his love for his mother (who is not deceased but is no longer part of his life). He finds Tsukimi interesting and begins to befriend her and the Amars. He tries the hardest to save Amamizukan. He is very popular with women both as a handsome male and a fashionista, and comes from a very rich household.
So the manga and the anime are very similar in the art style. At first I was not sure how I felt, but when I read the manga I actually fell in love with the drawing style. It is unique and beautiful. The characters are varied in body shape and looks, and I love the lips being drawn on (instead of straight lines for mouths). The best part is how reactive the expressions are.
Over all this is one of the nicest manga I have read. I feel it is well balanced in humor, drama, love, and development. I find the author to be very talented and natural. The idea of the plot is super unique and the story is enjoyable. Like Say I Love You, this is more realistic and focuses on actual anxieties and problems of young people (virginity is a major theme). The difference is that Say I Love You is more serious, while Kuragehime uses humor while showing all these problems. It tells a lot about society by showing that the obsessive nerd characters can be just as judgmental as the ‘normal’ characters, and that the judgmental ‘normal’ characters can be just as obsessive as the nerds. I recommend this josei manga so very much and it has won a new place in my heart. The anime is good too. It only has 11 episodes, and for about 7-8 of those episodes, it follows manga exactly.