Comic Books Magazine

The Fujoshi Evaluation: Princess Jellyfish Vol. 1-4

Posted on the 23 July 2015 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG


Title: Princess Jellyfish
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Publisher: Kodansha, Crunchyroll
Artist/Writer: Akiko Higashimura
Serialized in: Kiss
Original Release Date: Nov 10, 2008

Fans of the Princess Jellyfish anime can now rejoice! If there was one thing the outstanding adaptation from 2010 was lacked was a proper ending, but Crunchyroll will now deliver that with their newest simulpub of the manga. The four volumes currently available to read manage to cover the story in the anime, but also open doors to several more stories that the anime never had time to cover in its short run. It also expands on the themes of beauty as it questions whether the world of fashion and the world of fujoshi women can truly coexist. 

At a glance, some of the themes present in Princess Jellyfish may seem to be recognizable from other manga of its kind. There are strong messages about learning to accept yourself and the importance of beauty that is more than skin deep. Don’t be fooled though, this series expands on much more than that surface message. It is a josei series, and the more mature audience allows the author to have more room to question the ideas of beauty in society instead of simply trying to fight against it.

So how do we see this in the manga? Well, we have two contrasting characters in the series: Tsukimi and Kuranosuke. Though they may appear to come from different planets, as they literally joke about throughout, they also manage to blend ideas together as their “friendship” (or perhaps something more) grows. What is unique to this relationship is that Kuranosuke is a cross-dressing college student who does it partially in order to escape the world of politics, but also because he has a love of fashion. Meanwhile, Tsukimi prefers to wear tracksuits every day while drawing pictures of jellyfish. What makes this manga refreshing is that the author is not pointing fingers to say one is better than the other. In fact, by having these two worlds being mutually explored, the author instead allows us to reflect and question both as the story moves towards having them convolve.

Princess Jellyfish Volume 1
We do get some typical examples of a celebration for inner beauty with Tsukimi who unknowingly causes Kuronasuke to develop a crush by simply being her passionate jellyfish-loving self, but that shouldn’t be seen as a hit on the fashion world. For Kuranosuke, fashion is part of his identity and as he tries to give makeovers to the women of the apartment complex (self proclaimed as “Amars” or “The Nuns”) to help them plead their case to keep their home; he claims they need fashion as armor in order to face the critical world. Kuranosuke is not wrong because no matter how much we may celebrate inner beauty and passion, society is still critical of those who do not fit a mold. Simply put, the series has thus far done a fantastic job at creating this space where we can simultaneously enjoy the story while also questioning some of the larger themes at play. I could probably go on considering even Kuranosuke does not necessarily fit this mold either, but with over ten volumes that are soon to be published it’ll be interesting how they further delve into these ideas.

So where does that leave us? These four volumes have no doubt covered the entire arc of the anime, but these same stories in the manga remain mostly unresolved. Shu is still being blackmailed, the apartment complex remains under threat, and Kuranosuke seems no closer to his dream of creating a name for himself in the fashion world. Not to mention the romantic aspects may leave readers frustrated as poor Tsukimi gets hit with one misunderstanding after another as she begins to really sort out how she feels for the men who have only recently made their way into her life.

What I hope to see in the upcoming volume is for the women of the apartment complex to hopefully all find out Kuranosuke’s gender, so that they can finally learn to accept him for it and perhaps open their world up to accepting others. Though some of the jokes in his attempt to hide from them have been hilarious, the same gag can only go so far. Also, I hope Shu gets some relief by discovering that he didn’t actually sleep with Inari. His innocence is nothing short of adorable!

Princess Jellyfish Volume 1 2
Ultimately, these four volumes of Princess Jellyfish have done a wonderful job at beginning to delve into several ideas and stories. They really serve well as an introduction to the charming world that Higashimura has created. Whether you’re familiar to the story or not, Princess Jellyfish is not to be missed, as it’s a genuinely funny and unique josei manga with detailed art that gives a good spin on the “beautiful all along” trope.

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