I was hoping to be able to report something new for the people who have only watched the anime, but I took a quick scan of Wikipedia’s episode synopses for the Princess Jellyfish anime, and it actually looks like my Volume 3 ends a little ahead of where the series ends. (I accidentally gave myself a tiny bit of a spoiler, but that’s not a big deal to me. I’m one of those odd folks who don’t really care if I’m spoiled for a thing.)
I have put in a request for volume 4 which the Ramsey County Library has listed as ‘in cataloguing’ and for volume 5 which is ‘on order.’ Even though I work at the library, I have no sense of how long it takes for something ‘in cataloguing’ to get processed and put on the shelves, alas.
On the other hand, a quick perusal of the fan sites makes it pretty clear that there likely isn’t going to be a second season of the anime. So, anything I have for you once I get the next volumes should be useful to my anime-only readers.
To that end, I did find an online source for the manga: http://mangakakalot.com/manga/kuragehime that appears to be up-to-date. The last chapter in the my volume 3 is #34, “Party Girl,” (which is listed on Mangakakalot as volume 6: chapter 34. I seem to have 2-in-1 volumes.) Looks like these scanlators seem to be uploading on a regular basis so I may hit that site up after I finish volume 4.
For both volumes the thee-way romance is mostly on hold (with a only few developments, which I’ll get to,) while the ladies of Amars try out a number of different fundraising ideas to save their home from demolition. The big break-through comes in the form of a flea market. Kuranosuke decides to dig through the commune for stuff to sell. Among the things he gathers up are a couple of the hand-sewn jellyfish dolls that Tsukimi made for herself. Turns out, these sell like hotcakes. All the ‘stylish’ find them deeply kaiwaii.
Between this and watching a badly-costumed college theatre production, Kuranosuke hatches a wild plan to launch a jellyfish-inspired dress label.
Meanwhile, elder brother gets caught up in a faked sex scandal with ‘land-shark’ lady. She got him drunk, poured him into bed half-naked, and then slipped in beside him to take selfies. She’s using this as leverage to get him to use his influence as the PM’s son to broker her land deal. This mostly works, except for Chieko’s mom, who actually owns the Amars. She’s been off in Korea being a fan-girl to Bae Yong-joon. But, the crisis comes when evil land-shark lady bribes Chieo’s mom with tickets to one of Bae Yon-joon’s events and it seems as if she might sell up after all.
The romance developments are: elder brother finally twigs to the fact that Tsukimi’s nerd self and her made-up self are the same person (and that he likes her), the blackmailing real estate agent discovers she finds the elder brother’s spontaneous violence against her (he slaps her around when she fakes her suicide), and, probably most significantly, Kuranosuke does the big lean-in for a kiss with Tsukimi. He also calls Tsukimi out on her attraction to his elder brother, and that sends Tsukimi’s otaku self into a kind of tailspin because, I guess, nerds never get lovin’ where she’s from.
I continue to LOVE the slice-of-life moments in this and the ensemble cast. I’m less thrilled with the continued emphasis on the fact that for these nerdy women, performing femininity is more powerful in society than one’s authentic self. However, some of that is being mitigated by the fact that Kuranosuke begins to recognize the talents that the otaku commune posses both collectively and in community. There’s several lovely scenes highlighting Chieko’s own sewing talents as well as her connections in the community of doll-makers/collectors. Tsukimi, too, has found a bridge between the world of ‘stylish’ fashion and her fannish obsession with jellyfish, since all the dresses she ends up designing are based on various types of jellies.
So, yeah, still giving this a cautious thumbs up. I will be very interesting to see where this goes from here… and whether I will have the patience to wait for the manga tankōban to come out or if I’ll break and read the rest on-line.
I will say that these two volumes went down fast. Plus, I had a couple of those classic moments when I realized my family was trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t hear them because I was so deep into the story.