With my new-found love of anime, I have discovered that Netflix’s streaming offerings are not quite what I’m looking for. As I am an American who demands instant gratification and since most of the anime series are imported by the same company – FUNimation – I decided to hit their website and see if there were other options.

Behold, I have found the Promised Land.

FUNimation offers quite a lot of content free of charge, (commercials run before the program) mostly subs (subtitled shows) and trailers for series but quite a few dubs (shows with the dialogue re-recorded in English) are available as well. For the reasonable price of about eight dollars a month, you can ditch the commercials and get access to the entire catalogue of shows. It’s awesome.

One of the best parts is that the site recommends other shows that a similar to what you are watching, which is how I found Princess Jellyfish.

It is a very short series, only eleven episodes, and I had never heard of it but the name interested me. It’s quite a funny and cute little program, with some interesting undertones. The cast of characters is … unique.

Pictured: Uniqueness.

There’s an apartment building filled with socially awkward otaku women (obsessive fangirls) who all have different obsessions; one is manic for trains to the point where she listens to recordings of train conductors (bottom row, second from left), one is obsessed with old men, (top row, far right) one talks funny and has a thing for some book called the Records of Three Kingdoms, (top row, second from right) and then there’s Tsukimi (bottom far left), the heroine. Her obsession is jellyfish; her room is decorated with drawings of them, she makes special trips to a jellyfish aquarium, reads and researches the creatures, and she always walks by the same pet store to see a particular spotted jellyfish whom she has nicknamed Clara.(bottom right) Her obsession comes from the time she spent with her ailing mother at an aquarium watching the jellyfish; Tsuki’s mother tells her that one day she will make the little girl a beautiful wedding gown that will look just like a jellyfish. 

One evening as Tsukimi is visiting Clara, she notices that someone has made a mistake and put another jellyfish in Clara’s tank – one that will kill her. Tsukimi attempts to alert the store’s clerk, but her crippling shyness makes her seem like a crazy person and he kicks her into the street – where she lands at the feet of a Stylish (popular person) who joins the argument. The Stylish (top left) demands that the clerk give them the jellyfish, since it would die anyway, and the two return to Tsukimi’s apartment building where they put Clara in the bathtub for the night. Tsukimi then rather meekly asks the Stylish to leave, but the woman instead borrows one of her blankets and falls asleep on the floor. The next morning Tsukimi steps on the Stylish’s discarded wig and tries it on, as she does so she hears a man’s voice from behind her.

The Stylish “woman” is in fact a cross-dressing young man, Kuranosuke.

Tsukimi freaks out at seeing a shirtless man, (the first male she’s voluntarily spoken to since she moved out of her dad’s house) and since the apartment building has a very strick “No boys allowed” policy she gets him out of the house as fast as possible. He mentions that he would like to hang out again and suddenly shows up when they are all sitting down to a meal. The presense of a Stylish “woman” (no one else knows she’s really a he) makes the women extremely uncomfortable, but after “she” goes to his house and retrieves an expensive cut of beef, the women become more relaxed. This does lead one of the women, Banba, (the train otaku) to refer to Kuranosuke as “Meat” for the rest of the series, which makes me giggle every time I hear it.

After the initial “getting to know everyone” episodes, the series develops several interesting plotlines – I could try to list them but things get convoluted and sort of soap-operaish in places. The animation, especially on the jellyfish, is absolutely beautiful. I love the series. In fact, I wish it were longer.

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