The women of Amars are off on their own doing some soul-searching following the events of the last volume. Chieko and Dofu hang out at Dofu’s studio, Mayaya and Banba are rolling down hills, and Tsukimi has wandered into Shu’s path. Kuranosuke is a bit defeated following Nisha’s lectures, but has recuperated a little bit after seeing that Jiji is interested in handling the Ops side of the brand.
Tsukimi and Shu go on a date in this volume, too. This time, they go to a fancy restaurant, and they’re prepared for pretty much none of the antics. Shu confesses his love for Tsukimi, and she, of course, turns to stone and doesn’t initially recognize it. Nisha even points out to them the importance of facing your feelings head on and not sitting by idly. Neither of them heeds this advice, though. Tsukimi, in typical Amars fashion, interprets Nisha’s slang literally, while Shu tries to dodge confessing a second time. They go around in circles a lot. You get frustrated with them for not being able to confront their feelings, while simultaneously sympathizing with them for seeing love and affection as a difficult thing to grasp.
The plot here is pretty standard fare for this series – there’s also some subplots going on with Inari cooperating with Chieko’s mother to sell Amamizukan – and it doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground. If you liked what came before, you’ll like what this volume has to offer.
Where it excels is in the details. After Shu fails to be straightforward with Tsukimi at their dinner date, there’s a whole scene where Shu goes to a Lawson lookalike store to buy stationery, to, in his words, “formally propose marriage” to Tsukimi. Being Shu, he picks a super tacky pattern to write on, and Kuranosuke is mortified. It’s such a wacky scene, but it does capture Shu’s earnestness nicely. It manifests in other ways, too – he helps Tsukimi protest the new development project with the neighborhood, and he takes her out to lunch again with a smoother cadence. For a series as out there as Princess Jellyfish can be, it’s also pretty adept at portraying sincere feelings. This volume shines for its willingness to show that.
Sometimes, I have difficulty accepting Princess Jellyfish as a series about a woman coming into her own. In the beginning, at least, so much of it revolves around an outside force overstepping bounds without Tsukimi’s consent to force her to change. She was growing and evolving, but sometimes it felt like it was at her expense. Nisha’s introduction was a welcome one, because her role is to put Kuranosuke in his place, to demonstrate that he has his own faults and can negatively impact the Amars’ way of life. As a result, Tsukimi’s become more active in her growth and change. She’s willingly chosen to go out with Shu, and over the course of this volume, she becomes better able to see her feelings for what they are.
Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say about this volume. It’s standard fare for this series.. but this series’ standard is quite high.
Princess Jellyfish is written and illustrated by Higashimura Akiko. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Kiss magazine from 2008 to 2016, and it was later collected in 17 bound volumes. The series has been licensed by Kodansha Comics, which has been releasing the series in 2-in-1 omnibus format. Eight omnibus volumes have been released as of April 2018. Check out Kodansha Comics’ page for the series here.