Cornelia Tzana ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Shoujo manga are manga marketed to a female audience roughly between the ages of ten and eighteen. The name is a romanized version of the Japanese 少女 (shōjo), which literally translates to “little girl.” Shoujo manga may strongly focus on romantic relationships but they do so in the context of many different subjects and styles, from historical drama to science fiction. Another similar category is josei manga, which is geared towards an older female audience.
Story & Art: Higashimura Akiko
Categories: Comedy, Romance, Josei, Slice of Life
Anime Adaptation: Yes (Licensed by FUNimation Entertainment)
Kuragehime is an ongoing manga that follows the lives of six otaku girls, each one nerdy in her own way, who are terrified of social interaction and attractive people (among other things). They all live together in Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo where men are not allowed. Tsukimi, the main character, has moved to the city to become an illustrator. Inspired by her late mother, she has learned a lot about – and developed a love for – jellyfish. The lives of these characters change unexpectedly when Tsukimi meets a beautiful young woman who represents everything the residents of Amamizukan try to stay away from.
The art of the manga is very well done. It is very clean and some of the character drawings are quite striking. The storyline moves along quickly and it has some interesting and unexpected twists. The characters are all very different and have very diverse personalities that are developed in a very natural way throughout the story. It is great to see figures that don’t fall into the typical manga and anime tropes. The love interest that is characteristic of shoujo manga is established gradually, and the nature of each of the characters creates interesting dynamics and brings up some intriguing questions. Princess Jellyfish has a great balance of comedy, drama, and romance that makes the story interesting to follow. The Amamizukan otaku can get pretty intense with their references and existential crises sometimes, but Kuragehime is nonetheless enjoyable.
All in all, Princess Jellyfish is a rather light-hearted and pleasant manga. That, however, doesn’t prevent it from bringing up many current issues such as inner beauty, gender stereotypes, and consumerism. It will be exciting to see where the story will go from here!