Princess Jellyfish, vol. 5

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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. Continue reading

Princess Jellyfish, vol. 4

9781632362315_manga-princess-jellyfish-volume-4-primary.jpgBuilding off of the last volume, there were some interesting developments in these chapters! I especially liked the hints of passion, Chihayafuru-style, presented towards the back end.

The volume opens mid-fashion show, and though it’s slow-going due to some mishaps (they spill grape juice on the moon jelly dress..!! drama!), it is a resounding success for their makeshift new brand, as they get some requests for new orders.

The Amars do their best to keep up pace with the influx of orders, but being amateurs, they struggle a lot. This prompts Kuranosuke to seek out a company to contract the sewing and production out to, so they can focus on design work. This introduces a cute pair of Indian expats into the mix, who give Kuranosuke a run for his money. Continue reading

Princess Jellyfish, vol. 3

9781632362308_manga-Princess-Jellyfish-3-primary.jpgKuranosuke’s moneymaking schemes continue in this volume, and in fact, they get taken up a notch.

Tsukimi got a taste of fashion design in the last volume when she helped design a jellyfish dress using some of Kuranosuke’s mother’s effects. Though she makes a stunning piece, the dress isn’t made for a particular purpose.

This changes when Kuranosuke and the Amars crew go to a local play, for which a friend of Kuranosuke’s is part of the crew. Kuranosuke immediately remarks that he couldn’t follow the plot because the costumes were so awful, and he enlists the Amars to design costumes for the production. Whereas the first dress was just made my Tsukimi and Chieko, now, with an order of 24 dresses for the production, all hands have to be on deck. They also enlist the help of a friend of Chieko’s to make sure their seams are proper, since Chieko gave them flack for that the last time. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 7

chyfr7.pngThis volume contains a healthy mix of stuff – part secondary character growth, part karuta action, part internal strife for our heroine.

Fresh off the matches between her clubmates, Chihaya has decided to support Taichi at a tournament in a different city. She also runs into Arata there, who’s also competing. Taichi and Arata have some exchanges, and Arata passes his e-mail to Taichi, in the hope that it’ll reach Chihaya. In the first volume, there was some minor tension between these two over their romantic feelings for Chihaya. These feelings, mostly unremarked upon in the intervening five volumes, suddenly surge back to the surface when Arata comments on the physical distance between them. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 6

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In this volume, Chihaya takes a backseat, in favor of the other members of Mizusawa’s karuta club getting a chance in the spotlight.

Chihaya’s school advisors inform her that her grades are slipping rather severely, so she’s advised to focus on her studies. In the meantime, she and the other club members are preparing for ranked matches in their area. These matches are significant because enough wins in their respective ranks will result in a “level up” of sorts to the next class, which comes with its own sort of prestige. Continue reading

Princess Jellyfish, vol. 2

9781632362292_manga-princess-jellyfish-2-primary.jpgI recently described one of the plot points of this volume to a non-manga-reading friend, and he seemed really weirded out by the synopsis I gave him. It drove home for me how weird this series can be from time to time. Though it’s got a rough exterior at times, it’s still such a treat to read.

Where the first volume ended with the threat of Amamizu-kan’s sale laid bare in front of Amars, this one establishes what appears to be our main plot: that is, now Kuranosuke is pushing the Amars to raise money to buy Amamizu-kan back. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 5

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Unlike the previous volume, which featured a build from the Mizusawa karuta club’s local tournament all the way to Omi Shrine, this one spends the bulk of its run in one place, focusing on a heated karuta match.

Volume 5 picks up directly where the last one left off, with Chihaya reuniting with Arata in a nurse’s office, distraught that she didn’t get to compete with her team. Sadly, the Mizusawa club didn’t win enough matches to qualify for the next round, but each player is eligible for single matches the next day. Chihaya, feeling more like herself, is eager to play no matter what. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 4

chyfr4.pngThis volume of Chihayafuru is a slight departure from the past few volumes in that this one has a greater focus on action, with less emphasis on character development. We also get to see more of what Arata has been up to. And that isn’t a bad thing at all in practice.

Picking up right where the last one left off, Chihaya is in a heated match with the star player of Hokuou Academy. Tension is high because the outcome of this match determines who will represent Tokyo at Omi Shrine. Continue reading

Princess Jellyfish, vol. 1

9781632362285_manga-princess-jellyfish-omnibus-volume-1-primaryThis is a series I’ve wanted to read ever since I watched the anime adaptation back in 2013, but it took a while for the manga to get released stateside, didn’t it? It seems the West is still a little uncertain about the commercial viability of josei manga. I certainly hope that this series and others prove successful, because josei is probably my favorite demographic right now.

Princess Jellyfish is about a girl named Tsukimi, who has been obsessed with jellyfish from a young age. Before her mother dies, she tells Tsukimi that all girls grow up to be princesses. Tsukimi, however, feels her growth is stunted, because she winds up working in Tokyo as an illustrator and has absolutely zero confidence in herself. Continue reading

Chihayafuru, vol. 3

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This series is such a treat to read. I have less to say about this volume compared to the others. The main thing this volume did was reiterate how good the series has been.

Three main things progress the plot here. First, Chihaya and co. are able to recruit a few other kids to play karuta with them, meaning they can formally establish a karuta club at their school. The fifth kid, known affectionately by Chihaya as Desk-kun, is the second-best student in academics, only to Taichi himself. He pores over his studies, but the kids around him seem to think it doesn’t matter much if he doesn’t come out on top. Desk-kun seems to be jealous of Taichi for having everything Desk-kun doesn’t, and he initially declines to join the club because he’s not naturally good at the game. Taichi convinces Desk-kun to join by saying he’d rather have someone who’s smart and willing to learn over someone who’s cocky because of a natural talent. Continue reading