Princess Jellyfish (otherwise known as Kuragehime) is about jellyfish otaku Tsukimi, who lives at Amamizukan, which has become a boarding house for female otakus, each with their own special interest. NO BOYS ALLOWED! They all live in fear of “Fab Humans” and social interaction.
That safe world is turned upside down when Tsukimi runs into an ultra fab girl human, who turns out to be an ultra fab boy human, Kuranosuke.
Together, they set out to create dresses that will change the world....
Featured characters include:
The way these characters are played are, at times, overdone. It's not a huge distraction from the film and really, it seems like a standard part of live-action to overplay the parts of NEETS and otakus. But at least they're not treated like scenery for the main story. Their characters, though touched on briefly, are developed enough that it makes you want to know more about them (and pick up the manga and watch the anime, right?!)
Rena Nōnen is quite good in the role as Tsukimi. As the film goes on, the overdramatisation of her character seems to lessen and she's able to properly shine in the role. I won't say much on the final outcome of Tsukimi, but there's little need to worry about her losing her way. Tsukimi is a strong person and it shows.
So pretty it hurts me.
Does he look familiar? He should! Masaki Suda plays Karma in the live-action of Assassination Classroom.
His physicalisation of this character are spot on. When he strikes a pose, it's the way models are drawn in dress designs. It looks completely painful to stand that way, but it's just one of many things that draws you into the world of Princess Jellyfish.
His brother (played by Hiroki Hasegawa) is the polar opposite. Uptight and hoping to follow their father (played by Sei Hiraizumi) into politics, Shu and Kuranosuke have only one thing in common, Tsukimi.
Hiroki Hasegawa does a great job with this character, especially in the more socially painful, cringeworthy moments. I'm glad I've now seen him in this role because it means I can now forget about him in that movie. You know the one, with the giant baby.
And then there's this guy....
The chauffeur for the Koibuchi family played by Mokochimi Hayami. He's a minor character in the movie, but I have a starring role that's available in my heart.
Trust me, you'll end up loving him too.
The Finished Product
Princess Jellyfish has something in it for anyone who's looked at themselves and thought they weren't good enough for other people. It's a reminder that everyone has a place in the world.
It's nice, to see a film that lives by the morals of the story it's telling. There are evolutions, not transformations. Differences aren't treated as anything good or bad, but simply as differences. There is no requirement for the characters to change. Nor is there a demand they stay exactly how they are.
My favourite part of this was the treatment of Kuranosuke's character. I was afraid they might make him into a joke, or novelty, but instead he's treated like everyone else. In other words, boys can be Jellyfish Princesses and that's okay too!
A perfect film for the days when everything is terrible, so if you have the chance while the Japanese Film Festival is on, check it out. You won't be sad afterwards.
8 spotted jellyfish moons out of 10.