Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Kuragehime - Episode 1

Alongside Shiki's continuation for the autumn season, Fuji Television's expanded noitaminA slot also gives us another, brand-new series to look forward to - Kuragehime.  If its name seems a little odd then this is explained in double-quick time by the show's opening episode, as we see our female protagonist in her youth marvelling at a particularly beautiful jellyfish while dreaming of looking like a princess of sorts in the future.

Fast forward to that future and we find that those dreams couldn't be further from the truth about budding illustrator Tsukimi Kurashita, who is a shy female nerd lacking in self-confidence and living with a number of equally geeky female housemates, each of whom have their own unique obsessions and prefer not to venture out into the outside world if they can help it at all.

Jellyfish are, of course, Tsukimi's particular oddball passion, and that combination with her talent as an illustrator means that her room is packed to the rafters with drawings and sketches of said creatures.  Funnily enough, it's this love of jellyfish that starts Kuragehime's ball rolling, as Tsukimi finds herself needing to pluck up the courage to talk to the man behind a pet shop counter to join out that two jellyfish which shouldn't be sharing a tank together and have been lumped into the same living space, with potentially fatal consequences.  Her animated attempts to convey this information to the apathetic store clerk leads her to a meeting with a beautiful "princess", who kindly steps in and helps Tsukimi by buying the endangered jellyfish.  Next thing she knows, this woman is crashing out on the floor of her room back at home, and come the next morning it becomes clear that this princess is anything but....

Although this opening episode of Kuragehime hasn't had the opportunity to set its scenario up entirely, we can pretty clearly see where it's headed and I have to say this was a pretty enjoyable first episode so far.  Tsukimi herself is a fascinating choice of main character - a girl you can like, admire and sympathise with, often all at the same time.  Of course, throwing her together with a very different kind of eccentric as this episode does holds plenty of promise for the rest of the series, especially once you factor in Tsukimi's housemates, and hopefully that potential will be realised.  For now though, this was a fun and nicely paced way to start things off, so I have pretty high hopes for the series from what I've seen so far.

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