Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Princess Jellyfish Volume 9 [Kodansha Comics; $19.99] brings to an end the delightful manga series by Akiko Higashimura. I’ve praised this josei - aimed at women in their late teens on into adulthood - series so often my regular readers probably have at least some idea what it’s about. However, for anyone who missed my earlier reviews, here’s the skinny from Wikipedia:

Princess Jellyfish centers on Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo, where the only tenants are otaku women, and where no men are allowed. While each character has her own particular fixation, the protagonist is Tsukimi Kurashita, whose love of jellyfish stems from memories of her deceased mother taking her to an aquarium and linking the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to the dresses of princesses. Tsukimi hopes to become an illustrator and is an awkward girl terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the prospect of formal work.

The other tenants of Amamizukan are the same, being NEETs who refer to themselves as the "Amars" (nuns). Tsukimi meets the stylish Kuranosuke Koibuchi, illegitimate son of a politician. The young man crossdresses to avoid the obligations of politics and to feel closer to his mother. Tsukimi keeps the secret of his masculinity from her man-hating housemates, though, at times, she’s troubled by the intimacy of having a man in her room.

Amamizukan's neighborhood is under threat of redevelopment, as opportunists aim to turn the quaint area into a more cosmopolitan region, with many of the buildings being demolished to make room for hotels and shopping centers. Although Amamizukan's tenants fear and loathe attractive people, they are helped by Kuranosuke who does not want to see Amamizukan destroyed.

Koibuchi and the women of Amamizukan create fashions based on the jellyfish designs created by Tsukimi. It has been a perilous path as they navigate the fashion world and a mega-corparation’s leader who has “designs” on Tsukimi. In this volume, readers get satisfying conclusions to the main and individual stories that still leave a few matters deliciously unsettled. Over a hundred pages of comics and other material fill out the volume.

Princess Jellyfish is one of my all-time favorite manga series. I would be 100% on board if Higashimura continued the series at some point. In the meantime, I’ll be seeking out the various anime and live-action versions of the series.

ISBN 978-1-63236-564-4


I recently reviewed Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs by Tadahiro Miura [Ghost Ship; $12.99] in my “Tony’s Tips” column at Tales of Wonder. Since then, I read the first volume of the non-dissimilar Yokai Girls by Kazuki Funatsu [Ghost Ship; $12.99]. Here’s the back-cover synopsis of the latter:

Nishizuru Yatsuki has always considered himself a fairly normal guy. He's graduated from school, works a part-time job, and has never had a girlfriend. Yet he does have one unusual ability: he can see yokai spirits! He usually copes with these ghostly visions by ignoring them...until he meets a mysterious young woman named Rokka. Now his normal days have taken a notably abnormal turn, as Yakki finds himself the sole defender of some sexy supernatural yokai!

I like Yokai Girls better than Yunna and the Haunted Hot Springs. That back-cover copy doesn’t mention a major surprise element that makes Yatsuki more interesting than Yunna’s Kogarashi. Though Yokai Girl still has many salacious images of beautiful young woman in various states of undress, it has a stronger story than Yunna. I’ll read at least one more volume of each of these series, but I’m thinking Yokai Girls will be the one I keep reading.

ISBN: 978-1-947804-02-9


Unmagical Girl Vol. 1 by writer Ryuichi Yokoyama and artist Manmaru Kamitsuki [Seven Seas; $12.99] is a different take on the classic “magical girl” genre. Here’s the back-cover pitch:

Pretty Angel NirBrave was once the spirited magical girl heroine of a cult TV show. But when an anime director’s computer goes on the fritz, it brings Pretty Angel NirBrave out of the screen and into our world! With bills and bullies to face, it’ll take more than a sparkly transformation and a frilly skirt to get by in “real” life.

Seven Seas needs a better copywriter because the above leaves out some of the more fun elements of the series. For starters, the “on the fritz” computer belongs to the daughter of the guy who created Pretty Angel NirBrave.

Nineteen-year-old Tanahashi Mayuri has been on her own since the death of her dad two years prior. She has no friends and struggles to make ends meet. She has a special connection with NirBrave; the pretty angel’s non-magical form resembles Tanahashi as seen through the loving eyes of her father. They become roommates, which is the only thing that keeps NirBrave alive. NirBrave is not well suited for our world. She can only speak and act as she did on the anime. Her reactions are usually way too big for real-world situations. She’s also not particularly equipped to do anything but fight magical menaces. Not a lot of call for that in the real world.

I enjoyed this first volume. I found the lead characters likeable. There were some funny supporting characters, including some other heroes and villains from the animated series. Since the series was not a success, NirBrave is mostly known to avid fans of her anime. No fame and fortune on the horizon here.

I’m going to continue reading Unmagical Girl. It’s not a classic, but it’s entertaining. That’s good enough for me.

ISBN 978-1-626925-51-9

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2018 Tony Isabella

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