If you are interested in fangirls, and are looking for something fun and different, you may want to try Princess Jellyfish, a lively Japanese drama about extreme fangirls.
Our main fangirl is Tsukimi, who loves, loves, loves jellyfish. She has been obsessed with them ever since she was a child and her mom took her to an aquarium. Her room is covered in drawings of jellies, photos of jellies, stuffed animal jellies, and is otherwise decorated with jellies. Oh, and her mom told her that all little girls grow up to be princesses.
Kuranosuke meets Tsukimi when she tries to tell a pet shop clerk not to put two kinds of jellyfish together but is too shy and can’t quite spit it out. Kuranosuke, who doesn’t know the meaning of the word shy, steps in to help and finds Tsukimi’s enthusiasm very endearing and fascinating.
Tsukimi lives in a share house with several other extreme fangirls, who are obsessed with different things such as mangas, kimonos, or trains. They are all painfully shy and awkward in public, to the point that they can hardly talk to anyone else. It’s hilarious to watch the fashionista Kuranosuke try to make friends with them since they abhor outsiders and what they call “stylish people.” They are stuck between a rock and a hard place, but trust Kuranosuke to find a way!
Ms. Inari is not a fangirl, but she is obsessed with something: buying the house the fangirls live in and knocking it down. This is where our conflict comes from. Ms. Inari feels that she has to be very pushy in order to keep her position in her family company, and they are planning a big new development in that area.
Kuranosuke’s brother Shu works as a secretary to their father, who is a wealthy politician. The dad is after money and therefore favors Ms. Inari and her project. Shu is kind of a nerd who usually has difficulty dealing with women and Ms. Inari in particular. But when he meets Tsukimi, his protective side cuts in, and he reacts completely differently. He finds himself stuck in the middle between Dad and Tsukimi.
The dad’s chauffeur is one of my favorite characters. He is obsessed with cars, and you can bribe him to do just about anything by giving him a chance to drive one of his favorite deluxe models. On the other hand, you can get him to do just about anything by threatening to smear fingerprints on Dad’s Lexus when he is waxing it. Just watch him change sides without breaking a sweat.
Style is the main charm of this drama. It is based on a manga, and that style of exaggeration and silliness shows through. The characters look like they are lifted right off the page, hunching over or flinging their arms about. I didn’t really like that, but then I realized they couldn’t play it straight because the story is basically unbelievable, and if you can’t swallow it whole, you can’t swallow it at all. The approach is light, and nothing is taken seriously, from the business deals to the crossdresser to the jellyfish fashion line.
Because there is a Jellyfish fashion line. Tsukimi designs a dress inspired by her favorite jellyfish and the idea of being a princess, which she has never quite forgotten. Kuranosuke immediately sees the possibilities of making more dresses and selling them so they can buy the house and save it from the bulldozer. A fashion show being put on by a crossdresser and nerds who hate going out in public is something you don’t see every day.
Should you watch?
If you can live with the exaggerated manga style, the show is pretty cute and fun. I enjoyed the main characters and was pulled in to see what would happen next. The story has a lot to say about being afraid and about going forward and doing your best. The characters change and develop, and everyone learns something by the end. It is quite unrealistic though, and there are a lot of logic holes, especially in the last episode. Which is part of the style too, come to think about it. It can be found on Viki. I hope you enjoy it.
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi
2 thoughts on “A Fangirl’s Japanese Drama Review: Princess Jellyfish”
Read the manga, saw the anime – love them. I’ve seen a couple episodes of this so far – it keeps the flavor of the original 😀
That’s great you’ve seen the other versions. My understanding is that the anime and movie were made before the manga finished. The drama was made later, and has more of the story from the manga in it. Good to know they kept true to the original.