Saturday, April 10, 2021

Princess Jellyfish 2-in-1 Omnibus, Volume 3 by Akiko Higashimura


This series is currently free on Kindle Unlimited so I have been bingeing it all day. The premise revolves around a bunch of otaku girls who end up banding together to save their home from a group of developers. Also, there's a romance between the main girl and two brothers: the son of a politician and a spoiled young heir who enjoys cross-dressing. It sounds ridiculous-- and it is-- but somehow it manages to be fun and "out there" in a way that never makes me suspend my disbelief too far. Plus, good josei manga in English are so hard to find. I guess because maybe there isn't a big market for it.

In this issue, the characters have taken their respective talents to create a Jellyfish-themed fashion brand called "Jellyfish" (but in English, so it sounds trendy). They're planning a big runway show and one of the girls, Mayaya, gets a makeover as one of the models. Surprise, surprise! She's secretly gorgeous (just like the main girl, Tsukimi). I normally don't really like makeover-themed stories-- or if I do, it's with a kind of sinking feeling of guilt, like I need to fork over my feminist card-- but I actually really like the way that Higashimura handles the trope.

All of the girls in this story start out as very antisocial personalities. And I mean antisocial, not asocial-- they're judgemental, set in their ways, selfish, and not very nice. After years of being judged for their personalities and weird hobbies, they've developed an intricate network of defense mechanism, whether it's turning to stone or being prickly and weird. What I like about Princess Jellyfish is that their external makeovers are accompanied by internal ones and reflect a growing comfort with the outside world and socializing with others and letting go of some of their own prejudices.

This one was a bit more slow-paced than the two previous but I'm still really enjoying it.

On to the next!

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

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