Kuragehime – 01

Meet the Amars and this Fall’s TRAP~

I have been waiting for this as this was one of my top 5 titles that I was really looking forward to. Not to mention, the fall title releases end with Kuragehime (excluding some kiddie ones). We come to a full circle and after watching the extended trailers and observing the animation was a bit weird, I was pretty sure that the first episode would not follow the same pattern and I was right.

The episode started with a very sweet reminisce of Tsukimi’s childhood visit to an aquarium with her mother. It was clear that her mother’s fascination with the white, floating and beautiful lace-like creatures rubbed off on the little girl, very close to her mother. The same girl grew up to be an illustrator, moved to Tokyo and started living in an apartment complex named “Amamizukan”. The inhabitants of which are very unique in a sense that every one of them is a hardcore female otaku (I won’t use the term fujoshi because it’s mostly misconstrued as BL-lovers only).

Before getting into the storyline and characters, I loved both the OP and EDs; especially the OP with references of Star Wars, Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, 007 and Dragon. Very appropriate for Brain Base and Takahiro Omori because they usually have awesome music in their anime. Not to mention, my ears piqued on Chatmonchy’s ‘Koko Dake no Hanashi’ because I knew I had heard them before; after some research I finally came up with Dai Dai, 12th OP of Bleach. Though, Kuragehime’s OP is much better than the aforementioned with its upbeat music and lyrics:

The first installment pretty much sets the mood of the series, being of moderate pacing with the right amount of cutesieness and traps. Expect Omori to add a mystery around a Josei storyline with an array of characters that are interesting enough to make you want to know more about them. Tsukimi for one is very much fascinated with jellyfishes, yet couldn’t attend a photo exhibition on the same in Shibuya for which she had perked up her courage. She returns hanging her head low with the trinkets her housemates have been waiting for: picture of a bus for Banba-san, flowery patterned handkerchief for Cheiko-san, three figurine collectibles for Mayaya-san and a poster for Jiji-sama.

Kurara will be saved…

by the hime-chan~

During her night time stroll to the nearest marine shop to see her favourite jellyfishes, she notices that an Aurelia was floating in the same tank as spotted jellyfish; the secretion of the former is deadly to the latter. Ho hum, our jellyfish-lover goes against her fear of chic-people and tries to convince the new guy to change Kurara’s (the cute jellyfish in question) habitat. Also, how can you ignore that “Thukimi-tan, thasukete~!”? However, being the nerd that Tsukimi is, only her shiny specs and serious aura is registered by the shopkeeper, making him fear her. However, our maiden is rescued by a pink-haired princess, who convinces the aho-shopkeeper to give her Kurara and tell the owner that it died. The two hit it off instantly, Tsukimi ignores the chic-aura too overwhelmed by the current events and rescued by the princess, who is too nice for words.

They buy the required supplies needed to create an aquarium environment and sneak into the Amars abode. The princess in question is fascinated by Tsukimi’s drawings of different jellyfishes and crashes in her room without much warning. The next day, to Tsukimi’s shock and horror the princess’s true identity is revealed to be of a prince in disguise. The episode ends with Tsukimi completely flustered to be in the presence of a guy in their apartment, not only forbidden by the rules but totally out of the ordinary.

A hella interesting first episode? I think so! Before the end thoughts though, some character profiles:

Meet the Amars: Named after Buddhist Nuns… It’s a shame; none of them have any social life whatsoever.

Tsukimi Kurashita: Our main protagonist, who moved to Tokyo to get a step further in becoming an illustrator. She is highly fascinated by jellyfishes because of a memorable visit to the aquarium with her mother; not to mention her mother’s wish of her becoming a princess when she grows up. Her mother’s early death due to an illness became her childhood trauma because of which it’s difficult for her to socialize or even communicate with the ‘chic-people’ as she puts it. She’s completely at home with the Amars because all of them share more than some anti-social characteristics. Even going out of their apartment complex is like waging a war with the outside world and translates to always being on guard and wary of people they don’t know. Voiced brilliantly by Kana Hanazawa, I’m becoming her fan the more I hear her perform. Not to mention, meganekko is so her thing. To me, she can easily become Noto Mamiko’s protégé.

Cheiko-san: She is the chubby, happy-go-lucky daughter of the apartment complex’s owner. She is the caretaker and nurturer of the lot. From cooking, consolidating the list of hopefuls who want to live in their apartment complex to finalizing the rules of engagement; she is there throughout. Her obsession is dolls as she likes to dress them in beautiful dresses, ensembles and generally take care of them. She’s basically the mother of the house, voiced by Kimiko Saitou.

Banba-san: You don’t really see much of her except for those afro tresses. Until you know, you can actually mistake her for a short man going about his business. She’s obsessed with everything transport related, from trains to buses. She has a whole collection of working miniatures, is a woman of few words and is voiced by Motoko Kumai.

Mayaya-san: The most energetic of the lot, who seems to love Karate more than anything. She’s overly obsessed with samurais and period action heroes, from manga and anime both and the reason of her collection of figurines. I can bet she watches Sengoku Basara and the many action-based period doramas. She takes everything heads-on except for sharing the trait of being unable to communicate with the chic-people like the rest of the Amars. Voiced by Akemi Okamura, a la Nami from One Piece.

Jiji-sama: I still wonder why Noto Mamiko is voicing her but the nerdy-ness of this woman is interesting as hell. Most probably she swoons over old idols and celebrities, collecting their press releases and photographs. I can bet the reason of her visit to Shibuya is stalking her favourite butlers and fangirling over them. Her little laugh is definitely creepy.

Mejiro-sensei: The very famous BL Mangaka, whose sightings are as rare as of Iriomote wildcat. She would remain to be the silent voice of reason and one of respect for every

Amars denizen. For the sake of roles, she can easily be the father-figure, who is watching over the children and her word is the rule.

Kurara: Pun on Durarara!!? Shame on you Omori/Brain Base, for not announcing the second season still! T__T Such a tease! Anyway, Kurara is Tsukimi’s virtual image of the spotted jellyfish she has recently acquired. She is awesomely cute and voiced by Sumire Morohoshi, a la Nina from FMA: Brotherhood.

The TRAP: He’s not a drag queen and so he says. I’m unable to understand how can it be normal to dress like a girl for a guy but I guess, whatever floats his boat. He’s definitely beautiful when he dresses up. I would love to know more about this trap and laugh at his antics. He’s a pure eccentric and voiced well by Mitsuki Saiga. There’s not enough information but I’m dying to know more about him.

PIC SPAM!

Don’t make me destroy you! Also, Jellyfish helmet FTW? Lawl!

Somehow, this still looks appropriate! 0_0

Luke Skywalker FTW~

Can’t help but to show some KnK love

Rabu triangle, yo?

Some make over, woman! XD

Complimentary DAWWWWWWWW~

Shizu-chan without superhuman strength

You think so? 0__0

End Thoughts: I’m somehow reminded of Ugly Betty (based on Yo soy Betty, la fea) with the whole concept of the nerdy looking main girl. You can easily say, this is not a mere shōjo and interestingly enough, Brain Base has removed this particular genre and has only struck up the Josei sign. However, anybody who will search for source material would find Akiko Higashimura’s manga version, which is still ongoing and has even received the Best Shōjo Manga Award from Kodansha this year.

Does that mean, there’s an identity crisis? No, I don’t think so. Knowing Brain Base and Omari, the collaboration of whom has resulted in brilliant series like Baccano!, Zoku/ Natsume Yuujinchou and Durarara!!, give them the benefit of the doubt of sticking to the source material and presenting it in the most dazzling way. The first episode is an example of a well-knit storyline and enough surprises to keep your mind busy. The trap was really not that surprising for people who had read the summary before release yet Tsukimi’s reaction and the many comic moments heightened the whole experience.

Looking at it, this would be another contemporary title like Soredemo Machi, which would pleasantly surprise the viewer and make them instantly like not only the main characters but supporting as well. Remember the fact that it’s a Josei-Shoujo, which pretty much means there would be romance. If it’s not your thing, I will say run away now BUT WAIT! Aren’t you an otaku if you are reading this anyway? Wouldn’t you like to know more about these women who seem bland as hell at first glance but with a closer look interesting with not a square root but cube of power-two on them?

Also, isn’t Tsukimi as kawai as Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke? Wouldn’t you like to see her story and how she would bloom into the princess her mother wished for? You must have noticed all those clues in the OP, right? Like that unnamed guy spazzing over the wedding of Tsukimi with Kuranosuke (the trap). Of course, she looks different from her current self but beautiful as always. High-handed predictions aside, this has a sweet and cute anime written all over it. And doesn’t every one need a little smile and aspiration in one’s life? ^^

Preview: We finally see the cleaned up version of the princess after he’s bathed. It would be interesting to see more chagrin of Tsukimi and the possibility if the other residents Amar find out the truth. However, I can go on a limb here and say that Kuranosuke’s secret would remain till a few more episodes (it’s an eleven episode series after all). Also, this preview was so Shiki style that I gaped for a bit! Little box between the ED, which was pleasant to the ear and the animation very Natsume Yuujichou-ish; which I leave you with, Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure by Sambomaster. Ja ne~

Note: The series will take a break next week, so episode 2 would air on 28th Oct, 2010. T_T

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21 Responses to “Kuragehime – 01”

  1. Zenbaka says:

    I LOVE THIS SERIES ALREADY ♥

    The OP/ED are both AMAZING. I love all the references and they catchyness in the OP and the ED is adorable with it’s message of finding the beauty in yourself ♥♥♥♥ /totally swooning

    That whole Kulala/Kurara part had me bawling. IT WAS SO RANDOMLY HILARIOUS.

    And Tsukimi IS ADORABLE LIKE SAWAKOOOO ;3; I seriously can’t wait for the next episode. And is it any wonder that Brain Base picked this up? They always pick up my favourite series ;u; butgimmeDRRRseason2dammit

    Awesome post~

    • Kyokai says:

      Thanks, Zenbaka-chan~

      Same here! If this keeps the pace, it might just as well become my top fall title~ ♥♥♥

      This is like an otaku’s dream. Filled with amazing references and loads of stuff we can relate to. No wonder the manga was awarded and acclaimed.

      Kurara was kawai as hell and Tsukimi too. Can’t wait for the next episode! Also, for Drrr!S02!

  2. Hoshi says:

    ~Oh gosh, I love this first episode to pieces<3 It was a seriously interesting episode! These people remind me of my friends and myself: we all are nerdy over something! xD
    I was really confused on the opening at first with all these references to different movies. I was like, "Umm what? XD" I loved it though, as well the ending song, which was just sooooo adorable<3.
    I love the fact the main…ruler? (Is that what I should call her?) is a BL manga artist! I couldn't stop laughing, I feel that is so perfect x'D

    I can't wait to see more of this!<3 *A*

    • Kyokai says:

      I agree, Hoshi-chan~ This has love written all over it. Especially for us otakus, who are a different breed altogether. If you have similar friends, I think that is awesomely FTW~

      I love the whole family environment of Amars, everyone playing their respective roles to the fullest and have fun in their own style.

      I am sooo curious about the yaoi mangaka~ In manga only her back was shown so not very sure if she would even appear. Just can’t wait enough for the next episode likewise! <333

  3. Dana says:

    I guess I’m not the only one who is drooling over this; I am obsessed already. I want spoilers now darn it: who has read the manga?

  4. Joojoobees says:

    It kind of looked like Jiji’s fascination is older men. The handbill Tsukimi gave her, and all of the pictures in her room were of older men (many seemed to be politicians, or perhaps authors and directors).

    • Kyokai says:

      You are right, I caught on late when I was seeing the ED again. This is definitely a delightful series, props to Brain Base, even when I have an Axe to grind with the fellas.

  5. Vivi says:

    (By Star Trek, I’m sure you meant Star Wars, right? haha.) I really hope Tsukimi isn’t the bride in the Graduate scene because I love her freckles and eyebrows XD

    • Kyokai says:

      Good catch, that was a typo-mistake on my part. XD

      I like Tsukimi as it is as well but I guess, we’ll find out more of what her choices would be. Her freckles are definitely adorable. :3

  6. Junko says:

    Well this is going straight to my top show this season.

    Everything about this is love.

    • Kyokai says:

      I totally agree. If the pacing keeps up, going to be on my top list as well. <333

  7. VucubCaquix says:

    What got me the most was the sadness in Tsukimi’s character. It’s that kind of mundane dissatisfaction with yourself that’s very subtle yet pernicious and is MUCH too easily relate-able. I wrote a little bit about it in my bumblr if you saw already.

    I’m most interested in how Tsukimi’s character will grow to accept and love herself.

    • Kyokai says:

      I really liked your post. This story definitely feels like a love letter from the Mangaka, addressed to all the otakus out there.

      I think, however we are, we should believe in ourselves with all the quirkiness and characteristics we possess rather than seeing ourselves in the mirror of how people would like to see us. I can’t wait to see Tsukimi develop as a character and overcome her fear of socializing.

  8. Amutofan123 says:

    Jiji is into older men. Which is why she was sitting by an old guy in the ED. Anyway…

    I love it already. I love it so much that I watched it three times.

    The OP is amazing! I love the song and the references to all those films was great.

    Tsukimi is adorable~ I really think that she’s cute just the way she is, but she’s definitely going to get a makeover later on. Cheiko-san is really nice, Banba is… I like her hair xD, Jiji kind of creeps me out though I still like her, Mayaya is… crazy. I’m really curious about Mejiro-sensei. And of course… OUR TRAP! I LOVE HIM. I love how totally nonchalant he is about the whole cross-dressing thing. Ususally people try to hide it, but not him. He’s beautiful as a girl and hot as a guy. xD From what I’ve heard though, he has a reason for cross-dressing. I sense romance in the future. Boy, do I love my romance~ Hmmm, a jellyfish otaku with a cross-dressing man. That’s quite the interesing pair.

    The ED is so nice and relaxing; a great way to end the episode. Tsukimi, and later on Kuranosuke, being all cute and hopscotchy~ Ah, and seeing everyone’s obsessions.

    The preview. Are those… BISHIE SPARKLES!!!??? More Tsukimi/Kuranosuke/everyone interactions please! Wah… two weeks is too long to wait…

    Anyway, expect lot’s of fangirling and such from me. xD This is already at the top of my list.

    • Kyokai says:

      Don’t worry about fangirling, there’s one right here and many more who commented. This show is made to fangirl over, so let’d do it together~ :fangirl XD

      I want to know more about ALL the characters and how they ended up obsessing over the different interests that they are already into. At least we know about Tsukimi but what about her father even if her mother died? A single parent maybe? Who took care of her after her mother died. So many questions!

      Also, love, loved the trap. We know so little about him. He seems like a nomad just sleeping anywhere and going around. I just want to know his story. Also, that megane guy who has this all-too-important-serious air around him.

      Those are definitely bishie sparkles indeed! These two weeks are going to be hard. Blame Brain Base some more to tease the fans so much. The good thing is that it just started and we have a week’s break?! Ughhhhhh… :depressed

  9. zabobinator says:

    I absolutely ADORE this show! It’s definitely one of my favorites already! (It’s currently in a three-way tie with Arakawa Under the Bridge and Durarara):)

    Question though: Was that really Tsukimi in the OP getting married? Seriously? It didn’t look like her AT ALLLLL.

    I definitely love Tsukimi though. She’s so cute! Her seiyuu voices Kozue in Occult Academy. <3 <3 <3 :D

  10. Hellomotto says:

    Oh god I love this series already. So great.

    A hella interesting first episode?

    What what? You say hella too? And I thought this was just a NorCal thing… ;)

  11. Son Gohan says:

    Sigh. I am feeling old when I see that many bloggers didn’t get that Kurara is a reference to Clara, Heidi’s friend from the 70s show “Alps no Shoujo Heidi”. Tsukimi was also dressed as Heidi in her little fantasy scene.

  12. Dan-go says:

    70′s? did japan exist then?

  13. ojisan says:

    Still waiting for ep. 2…best show of the season so far!

    Glad to discover here why a jellyfish would dance in the Swiss Alps. Thank you, commenters -

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