Friday, July 15, 2016

Review: "Princess Jellyfish vol 1"

Princess Jellyfish vol 1 by Akiko Higashimura
4 out of 5 stars

I'm fairly new to manga and I don't know that I will ever read that much of it, but I am so so glad I gave this one a chance. I can't remember where I first heard about it, but when I did, I knew it would be perfect for my youngest sister's birthday this past May. She is a sparkly princess who loves all things Japanese and she's one of the nonreaders, so I always try to get her something she will really like and want to read more of. When I received this book in the mail, I decided to read it first. It just looked so fun and happy. Well, I ended up loving it so much, I bought my own copy and just this week pre-ordered volume 2. :)

The story starts off with Tsukimi, who is 18 years old and lives in Tokyo in an all-female apartment building. Each of the women considers herself an otaku/fujoshi or "an obsessive fan who hoards information and merchandise of their favorite things". So I'd be a book otaku. :) They also live as amars, which is basically a nun-like life and a "life with no use for men".

Tsukimi is obsessed with jellyfish, thanks to her mother, who died when she was little. She tries to go to a special jellyfish photography exhibit in the opening chapter but is overwhelmed by all the princesses or "stylish" people. These people can cause an amar to go catatonic, especially if they are of the male persuasion.

Tsukimi battles against her anxiety to save a jellyfish she has named Clara (I would totally buy Clara merchandise) and is unexpectedly helped by the most stylish of princesses. But this princess has a big secret, one that could ruin Tsukimi's life if it got out to her fellow housemates. Despite that, Tsukimi and Kuranosuke become unlikely friends. Many hijinks follow. There is a secondary story about developers wanting to buy Tsukimi's apartment building, which is owned by Chieko's (the nesting doll) mother. And there is a bit of a love triangle situation but I'm guessing it will be explored more in the next volume.

Overall, this is a really lovely, lighthearted story about friendship and growing into something/one new. It has the potential to be something deeper though and I'm excited to read the next volume. The artwork is wonderful, there is so much detail that you really have to read each page first and then go back again to look at what's going on in the background. There are also some great little side stories about Clara, the jellyfish mascot, and a bit of autobiographical panels about the author's life which are really great. I know this is a sort of short review, but I don't want to give too many of the surprises away. You'll just have to take my word for it. :)

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