Princess Jellyfish (vol 05) by Ahiho Higashimura


This volume contains chapters 45 to 54.  Considering that MangaHere has 81 chapters, we’re only at about the halfway point.





I keep waiting for the plot to progress beyond what I skimmed in the Wikipedia’s entry for the anime, and it’s really not rushing to get there.

Mostly, this is becoming a romance.

Tsukimi and Shuu (with the help of the smooth-operator chauffeur, Hanamori,) go out on a bunch of dates which culminate in an awkward proposal.  They end up on a rooftop restaurant during a blustery evening and their hands touch while both reaching for a falling candelabra:


She says ‘yes,’ but, of course, she’s not sure how to deal with all this romance being a geek girl.  I do like that for the majority of their ‘dates,’ Tsukimi dresses like her authentic  self, glasses and all. I have no particular ship in this armada, and I like Shuu well enough. I was fairly charmed when he decided he needed to buy ‘cute’ stationary upon which to write his letter of marriage proposal.

Kuranosuke is trying his best not to feel sidelined. Instead, he focuses on the fashion plot, in so much as there is one.  A lot of the ‘plot’ in this installment involves how expensive it is to launch a fashion line, how much money they’ve already lost, and thinking up ways to circumvent this problem.  ….Something involving a casual line? Knock-offs? I’m really not invested enough to follow that closely.   The thing that’s interesting about that for me is how Kuranosuke is desperately trying to find out how to give the Amars a fashion that they would actually enjoy, since what he really wants to to spread the love of his fandom (being stylish) to the rest of the world (like any fan.)

I also thought the self-talk Kuranosuke gives himself about how, in this story, he’s the wizard and the wizards never get to run off with the princesses and he should comfort himself that at least he has his fashion magic was clever… if….

…Very josei.

Which is to say sort of settle-y and depressing.

Meanwhile, the eviction plot also moves at a snail’s pace.  The land-shark lady (Inari) continues to woo the kimono nerd’s (Chieko) mom who owns the place into selling. There is a rather hilarious protest that the Amars stage that involves cosplay. I kind of adore that all of the resident nerds have “always wanted to protest.” This was me, in the 1980s. (Now, it is my life.)

For whatever reason, the humorous asides worked a bit better for me in this volume (maybe I’m getting used to Higashimura-sensei’s stye… or it’s Stockholm Syndrome.)  The playboy chauffeur, Hanamori, is fast becoming my favorite.

The romance is really the only plot moving at speeds.  It jumps leaps and bounds in these chapters and it seems to be heading in a very straight line, one without any unexpected curveballs. The only surprise is that, so far, Kuranosuke isn’t deciding to fight for the princess, too.  Given that there are a lot more chapters to go, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t eventually make a play and possibly win her hand, but I don’t know. Josei, being what it is, could be heading for just what it looks like: Kuranosuke sidelined and okay with it.

Honestly? I would actually be quite happy if that were the outcome. There’s nothing wrong with the Shuu/Tsukimi romance. If they just followed along the usual path and got married, that’d be fine with me. There seems to be mutual, genuine affection between them, even if Tsukimi’s side is filled with princess fairytale fantasies.  *shrugs*  I mean it’s alien to me, but common enough a trope.

I _do_ love that when the Amars finally tell the resident recluse mangaka about the romance, she writes back a bunch of ‘bloodthirsty’ replies outlining how Tsukimi could be used to their advantage in the eviction fight and against the politician (Shuu is the PM’s eldest son). So, there’s room in the plot to go that direction, if Higashimura-sensei eschews the traditional battle royale between the two rivals for the princess’s hand in marriage.

I kind of hope she does, because, frankly, the other has been done to death.

So, it retains my interest. I will read the next volume as soon as the library has it.


Princess Jellyfish vols. 2 & 3

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:  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.


Classic otaku.

Princess Jellyfish/Kuragehime (Volume 1) by Akiko Higashimura

I picked up Princess Jellyfish because a friend recommended it to me and I saw that the library had it.


The premise of this is kind of fun. Tsukimi Kurasita, 18, lives in a commune of self-proclaimed fujoshi and otaku. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘fujoshi,‘ it means ‘rotten woman’ and is usually a designation specifically given to otaku/fannish/geek women who are obsessed with BL or yaoi.  The translator’s notes in the back of Princess Jellyfish also implies that in the case of the women in this manga, it’s more that they are generally geeks, but that there’s specifically an element of defying patriarchal expectations of what makes a ‘good girl’ for anyone who self-defines as fujoshi.)

Tsukimi’s geekery is jellyfish. She’s been obsessed with them since she was a little girl.  She reads about jellyfish, she draws them…. everything. She even has a tragic backstory involving jellyfish and a dead mother.



The inciting incident of this story happens when Tsukimi happens by a fish store and discovers that someone has mistakenly put a moon jellyfish in the same tank as a spotted jellyfish. They are incompatible in way that’s deadly to the spotted jellyfish and Tsukimi tries to get over her social awkwardness/anxiety to tell the clerk this, but is unable to until a brash ‘stylish’ shows up and bullies the clerk into giving Tsukimi the spotted jellyfish in order to save its life.





Tsukimi is pretty horrified to discover that after their big rescue of the jellyfish, the ‘stylish’ has stayed over.

Worse, this super-cute girl turns out to be a boy–a beautiful boy named Kuranosuki.  Bringing home one of the cool girls would have been bad enough, but boys are strictly verboten in their commune, which they jokingly call the ‘Amamizukan’ the Nunnery.


Tsukimi accidentally pulled off his wig and was trying it on in the mirror.

Kuranosuki insists that he is not okama, but cross dresses as a ‘hobby’ and as an easy way to get away from his high-powered political family. (Sure, honey.)

Kuranosuki, who usually hangs out with the cool girls, suddenly discovers the joy of nerds.  Like, they talk about more than sex and clothes! What are these wonderful creatures? I must pet them and hug them and call them my own!

Yes, it’s true. Nerds make much better friends than the clubbing sort. However, the Amars (nuns) as they call themselves, do NOT want men in the commune, so Tsukimi is the only one who knows Kuranosuki is a boy.

But, even as a lady Kuranosuki rubs the Amars the wrong way. They tell Kuranosuki to get lost.  Repeatedly. They have a quiet life. Go home; you’re too friendly.


But like every privileged rich dude everywhere, Kuranosuki ignores their request and worms his way into their hearts by being persistent AF and buying them stuff. (Niku! The answer to unlocking nerd girls’ hearts, apparently? ‘Niku,’ aka meat. Seriously. Bring fancy meat to hotpot night is apparently the ticket.)

Then, Kuranosuki decides that what Tsukimi needs is a makeover.

And, let’s face it, ladies, makeovers are magic, am I right?

I mean I saw Grease. I know how this works. You get the big dance number at the end and the Happily Ever After if you ‘dress to impress.’

And, sure enough, when Tsukimi is all dressed up, that’s when she stumbles into Kuranosuki’s older brother and she finally feels chemistry for a guy.  Of course, he’s only hot for her when she’s dolled up. In fact, he doesn’t even recognize her when she’s in her natural otaku form.

There’s a subplot that involves the house being bought by a corporation, but mostly, in the first volume (the one I have might be a two-in-one because I have 380+ pages–12 chapters) is about the little three-way that’s forming:  Kuranosuki developing feelings for Tsukimi, Tsukimi’s interest in Kuranosuki’s nii-san, and Nii-san’s attraction for made-up Tsukimi.

I’m not sure how I feel about this aspect of the story.  It will depend on how it ends. I have a very bad feeling that Kuranosuki’s influence is going to end with all the nerd girls dolled-up.  He already has them convinced at the end of this volume that make-up is their “armor” and a weapon they can use as an advantage in the world.

He seems to be right about this.

This depresses me.

But, I’m hopeful that maybe that’s not going to be the point. I’m hopeful, given this is a josei, that maybe we’ll get something more out of it. Although, maybe not, maybe like Kids on the Slope, the whole point will end up being that the nail that sticks up will be hammered down and settling for less-than-your-dream is just fine.

So far, I’m in it for the side characters. I like Tsukimi okay enough to keep reading, and I would like Kuranosuki much more if he WERE an okame or trans, but he’s very NO HOMO, so whatever. I have only so much patience for pretty rich boys.

Currently, my favorite character is Mejiro-sensei, a mangaka shut-in that we never see. She lives behind a door that never opens, and apparently she’s only been seen a few times. She communicates via notes slipped under her door, and sometimes also solicits help finishing her BL manga close to deadline.

I also like Mayaya, who is a Records of Three Kingdoms nerd. I think I like her because she reads the most like a anime fan, plus she’s drawn very non-binary/gender non-conforming.

So, you know, I’m kind of in it for the ensemble cast; I could take or leave the romance.  I’ll definitely get the other two volumes from the library, though. I like the somewhat unconventional art style quite a bit, and I kind of want to see if this whole thing is going to be about the magical GIRL power of make-up and a good hairstyle. (If so, expect angry rant when I finish this series.)