Kuragehime 1

One blurb for Kuragehime says:

The story centers around Kurashita Tsukimi, a huge fan of jellyfish and a girl who moves to Tokyo to become an illustrator. She moves into an apartment complex that is full of fujoshi with a no-men-allowed rule. However, one day, Tsukimi invites a stylishly fashionable woman to stay at her room at Amamizukan — only to discover that the guest is not who she seems to be.

Reading this blurb, the first thought that came to my mind was “A jellyfish fan doesn’t sound real.” Episode 1 of Kuragehime, “Sex and the Amars” (セックス・アンド・ザ・アマーズ), whose title is obviously a reference to “Sex and the City”, opens with a scene that makes the jellyfish otaku thing sensible: When proganotist Tsukimi was young, one of the last things that she did outside with her mother was to visit an aquarium, where they saw a jellyfish exhibit at which the mother pointed out beautiful jellyfish and compared them with a wedding dress.

Obviously, the jellyfish thing has stuck with Tsukimi ever since. In the present day, Tsukimi is going through the horrible ordeal of wading through Shibuya in order to get to a jellyfish exhibition. It’s horrible for her because of all the “princesses”, women who she deems to have a far higher level of willingness and skill to maintain a fashionable appearance. Apparently it stimulates an inferiority complex too much or something. In fact, it’s too tough for her that she gives up and returns to her residence, the Amamizukan.

The eighteen year old Tsukimi has been in Tokyo for just half a year, and she has lived at the Amamizukan for three months after having been invited by a friend on an Internet community site. The residents of the Amamizukan are all female otaku like Tsukimi, albeit having different areas of interest, and they also all lack boyfriends. In fact, this is apparently is the reason they call themselves “Amars” (尼ーず), which seems to be a bastardized English plural of the Japanese word meaning a buddhist nun. And they all know too well the horrible ordeal that Tsukimi must have went through at Shibuya. There’s also one other resident who Tsukimi has yet to see with her own eyes.

When Tsukimi feels depressed, especially when she thinks of her mother, she cheers herself up by basking in the presence of a jellyfish at a nearby pet shop. This is exactly what she does that night, except this time she finds a lethal threat to her jellyfish friend (in her mind) Kurara in the form of another species of jellyfish. Despite her encyclopedic knowledge of jellyfish and managing to overcome her terror at talking to a man (especially one who wears bling), she fails to convince the employee at the pet shop to separate the two species of jellyfish. In fact, she gets bodily kicked by the employee, which is how she ends up in front of a princess.

This new “princess” gets what Tsukimi is saying quickly, in contrast to the dimwitted employee, and by force of personality, manages to convince the employee to just give Kurara to Tsukimi for free. After all, the jellyfish would die anyway if nothing was done. As for the princess, the voice is not quite what I would have expected to hear from such a character. It’s somewhat deep, although still consistent with what I might hear from a woman. Tsukimi doesn’t notice anything amiss, though, only being blinded by the “princess”ness.

At the Amamizukan, Tsukimi has arrived with the princess and has put the jellyfish temporarily in the bathtub, but Tsukimi is nervous about the others finding out the presence of the princess, considering the weakness all the residents have against such people. But after we get to see the residents enjoying their obsessions, Tsukimi’s hope of getting the princess out unseen is dashed, and the princess ends up sleeping in Tsukimi’s room.

Banba, the train otaku
Jiji, the older men otaku
Chieko, the kimono otaku
Mayaya, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms otaku

The next morning, Tsukimi gets the shock of her life when it turns out that the “princess” is actually a guy. He’s not gay, but he apparently crossdresses for fun. If this were manga, I probably wouldn’t have had a clue. It still would have been perfectly OK if you didn’t have a clue that he was a guy until you reached near the end of this anime episode, though, considering that the voice actor is actually female. Anyways, considering the other residents’ attitude towards young men, especially pretty men, Tsukimi might be really worried whether she gets to have a roof over her head starting from the next night.

I liked this first episode of Kuragehime, with it being pretty amusing. I also expect to see a lot of movie references from Tsukimi, considering how the opening credits is basically one movie reference after another. She certainly has an active imagination from the way she imagined her interaction with Kurara. Finally, “Kuragehime” basically means “jellyfish princess”: is the story somehow going to be like Tsukimi becoming a “princess” she had wanted to be, or is it just a fun title for the show?

By Shounen A

伝説の少年A. The Legendary Boy A. The counterpart of Konata Izumi from Lucky Star, he is an otaku of legendary reputation whose tastes foretell the rise and fall of anime series. Or not.