Amamizukan is an apartment complex where no boys are allowed. Kurashita Tsukimi, a girl who adores jellyfish, lives there happily with her friends who all have nerdy obsessions of their own. Their peaceful lives gradually start to change when a beautiful woman helps Tsukimi out of a pinch… but it turns out “she” is really a “he.”
Everything in Kuragehime tells me this – things that you see is not necessarily things that you thought you see.
The most beautiful girl in the series is actually a boy. When he walked the runway and won the competition, I wonder if how other competitors feel if they found out that Kurako is actually a boy whose real name is Kuranosuke. Or maybe they already knew? Everything is unpredictable in the fashion world. And then the designer behind those adorable, lovely jellyfish dresses is actually a girl who knows nothing about fashion. The only reason why Tsukimi is able to make such beautiful dresses is cuz she’s a jellyfish otaku. Yeaps, that’s right – she’s completely obsessed with jellyfish to the point she wants everything and anything relating to the sea creature to be perfect. In the strictest sense, Tsukimi doesn’t belong to the glamorous fashion world.
Life is interesting, isn’t it?
It’s a bit hard to get pass the first few minutes of Kuragehime due to its character designs. It’s rare to see main characters who are downright ugly while the side characters are exceptionally cute and pretty. But then again, Kuragehime centers around Tsukimi whose life revolves around a group of friends who have their own unique obsessions. When I say unique, I really mean unique. Her friends and herself couldn’t care less about their appearance, and their life is all about jellyfish, old men, Records of Three Kingdoms, trains, kimino and Japanese dolls. Oh, and having delicious afternoon tea.
However, the fun begins once I got pass that. It’s surprisingly addictive and easy to watch. Its jokes hit all the right buttons, and I found myself laughing away. If it wasn’t for the limited time I have for hobbies, I would have completed the series in one sitting.
Usually, anime associates the term otaku with anime/manga/game. In Kuragehime, the characters obsessions are those beyond my comprehension. For one, I cannot understand the extreme obsession with old men. But that’s what made the series so much more fun to watch. It’s uncommon and sets itself apart from a lot of anime I saw. It has a similar underlying storyline if compared to other shōjo series but the delivery and presentation is not. It’s something I appreciate cuz otherwise I feel like I’m watching the same old thing over and over again and that gets boring after a while.
It’s also interesting to see how otaku carry about their everyday activities. I’m not saying that ALL otaku live like how Tsukumi and her friends lived. That’d be stereotyping. Kuragehime perhaps showed glimpses of a minority of those. While their lives seem mostly disoriented, they’re having fun along the way. Everyday is a fun day to those girls. I must admit – I envy the carefree life they’re living. All they have to worry is about is their objects of obsession.
Kuragehime. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Or should I say don’t judge an anime by its character design. It can be real good if you’ll just try it. =)