Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 4

By Akiko Higashimura. Released in Japan in two separate volumes as “Kuragehime” by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Kiss. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics. Translated by Sarah Alys Lindholm.

I’ve mentioned before that I read this book more for Kuranosuke than Tsukimi, mostly as I keep waiting for everything to come crashing down on him and it just hasn’t yet. Kuranosuke is a giant whirling ball of poor impulse control, and while most of the time this is channeled in a good direction, and I do like that he’s helping the others in his own way, I always grit my teeth a bit when the moral seems to be “consequences are for other people!”. We get a bit of backstory as to how he came to the mansion as a child, and a bit more insight into the relationship he has with his older brother. I liked this, it makes sense for the character. Best of all, though, we have several moments, especially in the second half of the book, where Kuranosuke is thrown off his game, and forced to actually deal with unplanned things. He really shines then.

Speaking of the second half of the book, Nisha is a highly welcome breath of fresh air, and provides a dose of reality to the series that is desperately needed, as Kuranosuke has his head in the clouds just as much as Amars seems to. In particular, they are reminded that if they expect to make any money at all, Tsukimi’s jellyfish dresses need to be priced as haute couture, which is to say way, way above anything that the Amars crew could ever afford. We get a visit to an outlet store for expensive clothing, and while Tsukimi remains horrified, it really is a good object lesson in how the other half lives. She is not the target market for her dresses – people like the rick old ladies who came to the fashion show are. It will be interesting to see how well the dresses succeed in future books.

As you’d expect, there’s also lots of other things going on in these two volumes. Tsukimi and Shu get closer, even as she still has tremendous trouble dealing with a man AS a man (Kuranosuke dressing as a woman helps), and the residence is still very much on the chopping block, which gives Inari a chance to give a magnificently villainous speech tearing down Tsukimi – it’s cliched by design, and after all, if it does what it intended, why not use the cliche? That said, I think Tsukimi will be fighting back soon thanks to her fellow neighbors, who now that they know the strength of their resolve are prepared to bring them in to the protest fold.

There’s more tiny little character moments – I loved Jiji agreeing to run operations for the newly minted Jellyfish fashion business, if only as it gave her something to do for the first time in the entire series. Essentially, Princess Jellyfish’s fourth volumes shows the work of an assured manga artist continuing to draw us into the world of fashion and introverts, and you eagerly read on to see what happens next.

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