Home > Episode Reviews, Princess Jellyfish > Princess Jellyfish Episodes 5 and 6 – Make up/out/over

Princess Jellyfish Episodes 5 and 6 – Make up/out/over

Last episode left the girls of the Sisterhood in a bit of a predicament, with the redevelopment threatening to leave them without their sanctuary, and Tsukimi beginning to have feelings for a boy—a taboo in the cloister of nerdiness she lives in—for the first time in her life.

These episodes just throw more fuel on the fire, introducing Shouko Inari, employee of the property development company trying to redevelop the Sisterhood’s neighborhood as a villain to both stories. She uses her seductive charm to woo the mostly male landowners into selling, and she’s set her sights on Kuranosuke’s brother (and Tsukimi’s crush), since he’s the son of the area’s Diet member.

First dates and GHB should never mix

Inari is a great villain for this show. A show about frumpy, awkward, nerdy girls needs an attractive, aggressive man-eating lady as the bad guy. To get her way, she uses her looks to either seduce men or, in the case of the gynophobic Shuu, pretend to seduce them and fake a one-night stand via massive quantities of GHB.

Her beauty is also her Achilles’ Heel, of course, because it makes her incredibly vain, which the show plays for comedy as deftly as it does any of its characters flaws. Watching her scrambling around, trying to get the best lighting in a darkened room to take blackmail photos of her with Shuu is one of the highlights of episode 6.

Inari as obsessive cell phone amateur photographer is very funny

With an obvious enemy and danger looming, Kuranosuke steps up for some reason, trying to rally the Sisterhood into fighting the redevelopment despite their crippling social phobias. He doesn’t have a plan, though, and not even he knows why he’s going to such great lengths to help them, so he ends up falling back on what he does best: make girls look pretty.

Under the guise of building their confidence, he dresses the Sisterhood up and takes them out for a night on the town, which at the very least gives them an excuse to dress the entire cast up and have some fish out of water gags. It’s kind of a throwaway scene from a narrative standpoint, but it helps to set up how important the notion of beauty is to the show.

Here's the Sisterhood after Kuranosuke has had his way with them

As a male, I’m not as qualified to talk about how societal conceptions of beauty affect a woman’s behavior, but if I want to write about Princess Jellyfish (and I do, because it’s an excellent show), it’s something I need to address. At the core of the show is the idea that how you look (or how you think you look) affects how you feel about yourself, and how others treat you.

The idea behind the first part is, if you think you look good, or at least normal, you’re more likely to be confident in your behavior and less prone to crippling social phobias. This is actually true, in my experience: it’s one of the things I used to get over some of the social problems that plagued my youth. It even works to some extent on the Sisterhood, although it says something that even Kuranosuke’s makeover doesn’t do much more than allow them to enjoy themselves around other people.

I really like Kuranosuke's Jackie O hat, for some reason

The big thing with the second part is Shuu, who is a love-struck gentleman to Tsukimi when she’s been dressed up by Kuranosuke, but cannot tell she’s the same person when dressed normally.

I mean, Shuu is portrayed as being particularly dense, especially where women are concerned, but that’s still pretty messed-up.

I'd have been completely confused about this allusion to Japanese folklore if it hadn't been for that Decemberists album

His inability to differentiate between her different forms is causing havoc for poor Tsukimi, whose heart is being wrenched back and forth due to the mixed signals he’s giving her. For a pretty goofy show with a tendency to go super-deformed and cartoony for comic effect at a moment’s notice, Princess Jellyfish is good at bringing the romantic tension, even at its most cartoony.

In fact, that’s how most of the romantic tension between Tsukimi and Kuranosuke plays out: in over the top scenes usually related to Kuranosuke’s utter immodesty and Tsukimi’s discomfort with Kuranosuke’s maleness. It’s a testament to the skill of Brain’s Base that they manage to make it endearing and funny at the same time.

The condescension of the anthropomorphic Clara towards the Sisterhood never ceases to amuse me

Princess Jellyfish just keeps getting better. What I originally wrote off as simply lighthearted comedy has grown a plot that’s actually interesting, novel and an excellent fit for the comedy elements. As a result, it’s the only new show this season I can recommend unequivocally.

You can watch it here.

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