Kuragehime 5


Episode 5 of Kuragehime, “I Want to be a Jellyfish” (私はクラゲになりたい), begins with Tsukimi sighing over her time with Shuu the previous day. Especially the last bit where she was exposed in her underwear, recalled in the form of a movie trailer, which prompts her to bash her head in an attempt to expunge the terribly embarrassing memory. Meanwhile, Shuu is sighing the same way during breakfast, prompting Kuranosuke to have all manners of thoughts about how yucky it is to watch the virgin Shuu pine over Tsukimi.

This is also an important day since Chieko gets a call about the proposed redevelopment project that threatens the existence of the Amamizukan. A public hearing about the redevelopment project is going to be held, which would be an opportunity for the Amamizukan residents to voice their opposition. There is just a teeny little problem, though: the residents are all scared of showing up among a public avenue with “upstanding” citizens. But given the threat, they all manage to enter the room where the hearing is being held together for mutual moral support.

Shuu is also part of the audience at the hearing, since the Kuboichi family is still undecided about whether to support it or oppose it. This is enough to make the anxious Tsukimi even more anxious, especially since she ends up sitting right next to him. Tsukimi goes through further emotional turmoil because Shuu acts completely different from the other day. In fact, Shuu still has no idea that the Tsukimi he has a crush on is the same girl sitting right next to him, but Tsukimi can only come to the conclusion that Shuu is ignoring her.

While the presenter at the hearing, Inari Shouko, is starting to make the case for the redevelopment project, it doesn’t take long for the Amamizukan gang to run away from the hearing. This is because everyone’s attention was drawn to them due to Mayaya’s running commentary, and with their utter fear of public attention (in fact it’s their number one fear at the time, although no doubt their number one fear changes with the situation), they couldn’t stand the stares. Only Chieko remained, because she was too frozen to run off, not to mention that kimono are not the best sort of attire to run in.

Inari Shouko

Noticing the missing Chieko, Tsukimi volunteers to head back to get her. It’s raining, and Tsukimi is still bothered by Shuu ignoring her, so she is not in a great mood. It gets even worse when she walks by Shuu walking with Inari Shouko under the same umbrella, especially since Shuu completely ignores Tsukimi. It’s not such a good experience considering Tsukimi’s nascent love for Shuu, who finds Chieko already gone when she returns to the hearing. In reality, Shouko is trying to apply her feminine wiles to Shuu in order to win the Kuboichi family over to the redevelopment project, while Shuu is simply providing cover for the rain because Shouko “forgot” to bring along an umbrella of her own.

A dejected Tsukimi is the first one of the Amars to return to the Amamizukan, where Kuranosuke is waiting in anticipation of the weekly hot pot dinner. While Tsukimi sulks in her room, Kuranosuke has to wait until the other Amars return, whereupon he learns that there will be no hot pot dinner. In fact, he learns that none of the Amars were able to voice any opposition to the redevelopment plan threatening their home at the hearing. He believes this is why Tsukimi is so depressed, having no idea that Shuu ignoring Tsukimi is the reason for her sulking.

This is enough to fire up Kuranosuke (not to mention that he himself might be losing a place he finds joyful), and he returns home to pick up feminine supplies after hearing the Amars’ dejected lament that they can’t fight back because they can’t be as “upstanding” as others. Back at his home while he’s packing the supplies, a subdued Shuu approaches and asks if his “Tsukimi” really does live at the Amamizukan, having been unable to see her along the other Amamizukan residents who arrived at the hearing and not realizing that she was sitting right next to him. Kuranosuke is in no mood to explain things to Shuu, however, and returns to the Amamizukan. By the way, it was a nice touch of realism when Kuranosuke tried to kick down a door to get a sulking Tsukimi out of her room, only to painfully fail, something I’ve experienced myself …

Back at the Amamizukan, Kuranosuke begins his quest to shape up the Amars in preparation for battle against the redevelopment project. The first step is to make them presentable so that they would not be looked down upon (and to get rid of one reason for their inferiority complexes that are so crippling to any semi-public action they want to attempt). Mayaya is the first to be transformed by Kuranosuke’s formidable feminine skills, and she actually seems to like it (or she’s so catatonic that she is just standing like she’s posing), while Bamba is “cutified” with a wig to tame her otherwise untamable afro hair. And the Amars seem to like the changes. Meanwhile, Shouko calls for a date with Shuu under the pretext of returning the umbrella she borrowed. And the episode ends with the reclusive Mejiro wondering what happened to the expected hot pot dinner.

Neo-Mayaya

Neo-Bamba

At the beginning of the episode when the Kuboichi family was having breakfast, we get to see all the faces of the family clearly except for the mother (who is not Kuranosuke’s biological mother, of course, and in fact calls him formally by name). It was pretty clear that the mother’s face was deliberately not being shown. And so far, it has been very heavily implied that Tsukimi’s mother had died years ago, but for some reason this has not been stated outright yet. These give me the crazy idea that Kuranosuke’s father’s wife is actually Tsukimi’s mother, whose sickness forced her into a long-term hospital stay, somehow met Kuranosuke’s father, and fell in love with him.

That’s just too overdramatic and crazy, probably arising from my penchant for crazy ideas. After all, I did idly wonder if Shouko is actually Kuranosuke’s mother, which would be even more melodramatic, but at least I can dismiss this craziness with certainty since they don’t really seem to look much like each other, not to mention that Kuranosuke’s mother doesn’t have the mole that Shouko does. They probably don’t show Kuranosuke’s father’s wife’s face clearly because they didn’t want to create a new character design. Despite the insane ideas that pop into my head, I don’t think you’ll have to worry that I’m not prescribed any antipsychotic medication …

What’s not so crazy is that the interest Kuranosuke and Shuu shows towards Tsukimi might be enough for the them to steer the Kuboichi family away from the redevelopment plan. Kuranosuke’s opinion probably doesn’t matter much, but Shuu’s opinion most probably does. While Shuu does not seem to be at all the sort of person to go against a clearcut deal just because of a romantic interest, this might not be an issue because the redevelopment project is almost certainly not a clearcut deal that is definitely advantageous to the Kuboichi family (or even the “greater good”). Otherwise, they would already be throwing their support behind the project. Likewise for being potential opposition. In fact, there is the possibility that Shuu might end up supporting the project in a misguided attempt to free Tsukimi from a culture of “NEETness”.

Finally, I am hazarding that this episode’s title, “I Want to be a Jellyfish” (私はクラゲになりたい), is a reference to the reality television show I Want to Be a Hilton.

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