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Kuragehime – 02 »

Kuragehime – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「ここだけの話」 (Koko Dake no Hanashi) by Chatmonchy
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「セックス・アンド・ザ・アマーズ」 (Sekkusu ando za Amāzu)
“Sex and the Amars”

Almost as weird as Manglobe taking on The World God Only Knows, Brains Base also steps out of its usual genre territory and decided to do an adaptation of the Shoujo/Josei series Kuragehime. Mostly known for Baccano, Natsume Yuujinchou, and the very recent Durarara!!, Brains Base has quite the resume of adaptations. For those unfamiliar with the Josei genre, this analogy might help: Shoujo is to Shounen as Josei is to Seinen. While yes, Josei is targeted towards to females in their late teens and up, the more popular ones generally have a much more androgynous nature. Since Kuragehime mostly deals with issues related to women, there’s no less attention to broader themes that anyone can get something of value out of. Even then, it’s not like the female issues will fly over your head if you weren’t born by two X chromosomes. Incidentally, Kuragehime won this year’s Kodansha Manga Award for best shoujo manga, an award that Kimi ni Todoke had won back in 2008. Given how much I enjoyed KnT, I’m hopeful Kuragehime might provide a similar experience. Despite these facts, I began watching the first episode with absolutely zero expectations, and only knew that it centered around a couple of girls who weren’t your typical bishoujos.

Tsukimi Kurashita is an average girl, a very plain one at that, and has been influenced to love jellyfish (kurage, hence the title) from an early age. Imagine my surprise when she first spoke and the all too familiar Hanazawa Kana characters just flew through my mind. At this point, that was already a plus to the show for me. Anyway, Tsukimi lives in an apartment complex with a bunch of other females, all of whom she met and became familiar with as online friends. Apparently they call themselves Amar, a play on the word “nun” (don’t ask me how that works). The owner of the apartment, Chieko (Saitou Kimiko), had presumably invited all of them to live there, most likely due to specific individual reasons that may be delved upon later on. An implication of Tsukimi’s mother having poor health may have left her alone, leaving her no choice but to find company with others, but this was only subtly hinted at throughout the episode. The main problem is, all of the girls are hardcore otaku nerds, sharing lack of care for personal appearance and an extreme love for their own individual interests. As aforementioned, Tsukimi is infatuated with jellyfish (leading to an unfathomable knowledge of them as well), with tons of illustrations on the walls of her room, and whether or not that lead to her being an illustrator or the other way around, is again another question for the future. Chieko loves Japanese porcelain dolls, Mayaya (Okamura Akemi) is infatuated with Chinese generals, Banba-san (Kumai Motoko) with trains, and Jiji (Noto Mamiko) with… jiji’s (old men). Surprisingly, their interests are quite harmless, with the exception of Jiji, whose love for old men comes off a little too creepy, but makes a nice extremity as there are in real life (like pedophiles). Kuragehime has what I call, a half star cast, as Hanazawa, Okamura (Nami from OP), and Noto Mamiko (funnily enough, Sawako from KnT or Kotomi from Clannad) are all pretty well known in recent years. On the other hand, Saitou and Kumai have received comparably lesser known roles, but maybe these will help their careers.

Of course, without an anomaly to stir things up, otaku can never change (I’m looking at you, Satou), and thus comes Koibuchi Kuranosuke (Saiga Mitsuki). Now, up until this point, Tsukimi is well aware of her looks and rung on the ladder of society. She constantly contemplates about the beautiful “princesses” around her, and is quite afraid of dealing with humans, especially men. From her mom describing the tentacles of a jellyfish to look like laces on the dresses of a princess, Tsukimi had decided she would grow up to be one as well. As you can see, that didn’t go so well, and she mopes around often with the burden of failing her mother. With that said, Kuranosuke is one of those princesses, but coming with a twist. She is actually a he, despite the fact that his looks can conceivably allure men. Kuranosuke’s character is basically a play on beauty’s shallowness, making fun of the importance of appearances by “her” being a man, and most likely acting as a foil for Tsukimi later on. And with that, the plot is set into motion, a story of presumably self discovery with many obstacles along the way.

With the ever growing emphasis on being beautiful in society, Kuragehime seems to take a stab at this often rather under the surface issue. I don’t know if they’ll discuss the morals and ethics of appearance oppressions or just parody society, but it’s a rather open topic with no right or wrong ultimatums. Yes, forcing constant pressure by the media to have a warped reality on appearances is wrong, but how can you go against human nature? On top of this issue, Kuragehime also deals with the otaku/neet subculture, an issue in Japan that some consider to be a growing problem. Albeit seemingly more lighthearted than some counterparts (Welcome to NHK!), I enjoy these types of stories pitting human against society because there’s usually just so much raw emotion within them. To be fair, I don’t expect another NHK, if simply just because most of the characters aren’t that far gone. It’s hard to tell from just the first episode, but this is good anime folks. It’s got plot, lots of potential development, likable characters, of which are probably reasons why the manga won awards. If you can’t get over the fact that the show isn’t filled with an uncannily concentrated abundance of perfect, well built females, since having average to bad looking girls is what makes the central themes of the show even work, then I can say it’s definitely not your show to watch. In the midst of all the continuously churned carbon copies of harems, ecchi, and moe plot lines (of which do have their charms at times), Kuragehime deserves a little praise for uniqueness. While I can’t say it’s a diamond just yet, it’s definitely got the rough makings of one.

Rev1: Updated the beginning paragraph with a better definition of the Josei genre and where Kuragehime lies.


ED Sequence

ED: 「きみのきれいに気づいておくれ」 (Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure) by Sambomaster
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼


October 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm
  • October 16, 2010 at 6:22 pmSolarguardian

    I was so considering reading this manga but…. I think I might just stick to watching the anime instead.

    Also, Star Wars reference FTW!!!!!

  • October 16, 2010 at 6:25 pmGodKnows

    “While I can’t say it’s a diamond just yet, it’s definitely got the rough makings of one.”

    This won the Kodansha Best Shoujo award in 2010.Obviously it’s going to be good.Not to mention that Sambomaster and Chatmonchy are singing the OP and ED.

  • October 16, 2010 at 6:27 pmSin1505

    humm I might watch a few episodes and decide if I’ll keep it on my list.

  • October 16, 2010 at 6:31 pmMmmm~

    I love the absurd realities this episode springs to life. I hope it isn’t jam packed with anime references like DRR!! though.

    Nice review.

  • October 16, 2010 at 6:46 pmgnomtastic

    looks interesting will watch it probably hopefully its not another fail

  • October 16, 2010 at 7:15 pmcutemi2

    Tsukimi is now officially a member of the Jellyspotters, just like Spongebob

    • October 16, 2010 at 9:03 pmItachizame

      Nice one there

  • October 16, 2010 at 7:21 pmnrah

    This OP is great, with all the cultural references.

    Song is really catchy too with the triplet timing and “jig” feel

  • October 16, 2010 at 7:24 pmmelkor

    hhmmm i like it

    i’ll keep it on my list

  • October 16, 2010 at 7:29 pmGeisha Sakura

    I loved this anime! I laughed so hard! XD

    Finally something that doesn´t have fanservice and pantyshots and deals with a different kind of women.

    I´m so looking forward to the next episode! =)

  • October 16, 2010 at 7:35 pmfathomlessblue

    You think an average girl has pictures of jellyfish all over her wall? Hmmmm… May have to disagree with on that one, lol

    Thanks for clarifying what Jiji’s obsession was. Can’t say i’ve ever heard of a fetish for old men before, does it actually exist or is that just otaku fantasy pandering?

    Also, my take of the name amar/nuns was due to them all being virgins/pure etc, although that’s from a western perspective so I may be well off if theres another Japanese interpretation.

    Anyways, great show! Thanks for blogging it!

    • October 16, 2010 at 9:37 pmKiiragi

      I say if it exists, someone out there will like it sexually. :3
      The world has a looooooot of people you know.

    • October 16, 2010 at 10:23 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      i gotta second that ish!! IT EXISTS DUDE!!!!! i knew this bird before and she was SOOOOOO into old men!! ESPECIALLY married ones! said she couldn’t C#M unless the setup was as so.. she was adopted “dat probably had some play in the situation”…..ANYWAY love it so far!! like seeing girls as FREAKS for a change, and the intro o.p is CLASSIC

      • October 17, 2010 at 10:15 amfathomlessblue


        Ha, fair enough, that was a pretty obvious answer considering some of surreal festishes out there (I recently saw a program about guys who have sex with their cars; wtf!). I was mainly thinking of whether it exists in terms of a recognised phrase/group, sorta like a lolicon (to use it’s polar opposite).

        @BROOKLYN otaku

        I actually also knew a girl whose daddy abandonment issues manifested into an older guy complex, as sort of a father replacement reflex. The issue was a mental condition that was sorted out with a bit of therapy. The point is I’ve never really heard of otherwise healthy people without such subconcious issues developing such afixation, so I was just curious. I guess though in anime circles you’ll only really get people interested in the opposite direction.

    • October 17, 2010 at 5:44 pmdiet otaku

      i believe the term you’re looking for with the old people fetish/opposite of lolicon/pedophile is “graverobber.” not all the young women who are after older men are after their money, though it’s probably fair to say most of them have daddy issues.

      the way i understand the “amars” pun is like this: “ama” is the japanese word for “nun.” they wrote it out like AMA~ZU as though they were pronouncing it like a pluralized english word, which ends up making it sound like “amars.” as for why they’d call themselves nuns, well it’s pretty clear that it’s a house full of women who won’t be knowing the touch of a man anytime soon. er, tsukimi excepted. ;)

    • October 18, 2010 at 10:26 pmKaitune

      As a woman who digs WAAAAYYY older man (although in my case, I would only go gaga over gentlemanly elder men, AKA ristorante paradiso, not just any random uncles), I have to confirm that such fetish exists. Although I am no expert on psychology, I would also agree with people here that most people with this fetish probably have some kind of daddy issue. However, since I get along with both my parents well, I don’t think it’s always the case. Or may be since the jiji-fetish is one of my many fetishes, it may not really count.

      Regarding Kuragehime, I really enjoy seeing non-idealized women for a change although it isn’t anything too abnormal for a josei title. I enjoy the first episode, and I am certainly looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:02 pmCroosboy

    going to put it on my list next season(when the season completes). got a load of anime to watch this season

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:07 pmKalliente

    Glad to see this show getting some attention. I thought the first episode was hilarious.

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:09 pmTiggerz

    It’s a definite jem, and don’t know about the looks department but for some reason
    Tsukimi is absolutely adorable, Hanazawa Kana and all. Also, Koibuchi Kuranosuke’s appearance
    started giving me a weird Ghibli movie feeling about halfway through…

    • October 17, 2010 at 3:59 amraionhime

      He reminds me of Howl xD

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm7

    imo best slice of life series this season

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:18 pmPIMPOLLA

    wow i just finished watching the episode and it was awsome, i really laughted , i put this anime as the first of my list of this season !

  • October 16, 2010 at 8:39 pmponpon22

    looking forward to seeing how the cross-dressing aspect is handled

  • October 16, 2010 at 9:04 pmItachizame

    Tsukimi reminds me of Ugly Betty

  • October 16, 2010 at 9:25 pmDonTe

    This Jellyfish is _TOOOOOOOOOO_ CUTE!
    Nomination for Saimoe 2011!

  • October 16, 2010 at 9:43 pmShirt

    I didn’t realize this was out. Thanks for blogging it. I’ll definitely have to check it out. My sister and I love this kind of art direction. :]

  • October 16, 2010 at 10:23 pmN

    Definitely watching this.

  • October 16, 2010 at 10:27 pmReadman

    C’mon, no one said it yet? . . .

    Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!”

  • October 16, 2010 at 10:35 pmphilip

    Loved the first episode, too bad you peeps decided not to blog about it.

    • October 16, 2010 at 10:41 pmKiiragi

      What is this page then?

      • October 17, 2010 at 1:59 amponpon22

        does that mean the whole season will be blogged?

      • October 17, 2010 at 2:02 amKiiragi

        Yes, that’s the plan. :P

      • October 17, 2010 at 9:37 pmphilip

        lol, I was totally tricked. The fall 2010 schedule showed that no one would be blogging kuragehime. And now when I see it… it says that you picked it up aha

      • October 17, 2010 at 10:24 pmKiiragi

        You weren’t wrong, I only decided to pick it up recently, and the schedule was updated to reflect that.

      • October 18, 2010 at 1:45 amphilip

        Glad you picked it up. You have good taste :D. I will be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the episode through out the weeks! Keep up the good work.

    • October 16, 2010 at 11:21 pmTakaii

      I also am curious about what this page would be.

  • October 16, 2010 at 11:14 pmLilly

    I have to admit that I have an ossan fetish. This is because almost all of my favorite male seiyuu are in their 40′s. Fujiwara Keiji, Miki Shinichiro, Morikawa Toshiyuki, Kiuchi Hidenobu, Ishikawa Hideo, Nakai Kazuya, Koyasu Takehito and Hiyama Nobuyuki were all born in the 60′s. It must be the voice! Some of them can still take up high school boy role. Lol.

    Okay, ossan fetish aside, I found the first episode of Kuragehime to be enjoyable and surprisingly funny. Love the OP, ED and the parodies during the OP. Will definitely watch this one throughout this season.

    • October 16, 2010 at 11:21 pmTakaii

      I don’t know if I would say I have an ossan fetish, but I can agree with you there. Some male voices are.. pretty amazing.

    • October 16, 2010 at 11:41 pmKiiragi

      That’s not as bad as Jiji’s. She likes them as old as 60+, bald head and all.. ._.

    • October 17, 2010 at 3:58 amLilly

      @Takaii: Well of course they’re amazing. Take Hi-chan (Hiyama Nobuyuki) for example. His screams are one of the best male character’s scream in anime, period. Nakai Kazuya has one of the most GAR voice, Kiuchi Hidenobu’s voice oozes with pheromones… (err, this is not going to end so I think I’d better stop now lol).

      @Kiiragi: Indeed. Ossan is like middle-aged men and jiji is like… really old men. Lol. Some old men IRL can still be considered as attractive (classic example – Sean Connery).

  • October 17, 2010 at 1:12 ambubbs

    this episode was full of win. very original and refreshing. one of the best in the season so far :]

  • October 17, 2010 at 2:37 amPassingby

    Thanks for the review! It sounds like there’s heaps of potential in this series. I may just keep an eye on it to see how it delivers. An anime not afraid to touch on society issues is surely worth a shot.
    Just a bit of trivia, Kumai-san actually has quite a number of big roles under her belt! You may recognise her as Syaoran from CCS and Ginta from MAR Heaven :D

  • October 17, 2010 at 2:52 amewok40k

    Finally a series where girls are real, not moe-warped entities!
    But, can I afford to add 12th show to my schedule?

  • October 17, 2010 at 4:54 amkeiOnDaisuki

    i might start following this.X3 Pretty good start.

  • October 17, 2010 at 6:47 amLeticia

    Cool opening, great ending, beautiful animation, very enjoyable characters. This is the show of the season.

  • October 17, 2010 at 10:00 amLitho

    I absolutely loved the first ep. Will definitely be looking forward to more of this.
    Probably my favourite among all the new shows.

    I’ve often enjoyed josei comedy/slice-of-life.

    I know it’s taking a stab at the whole “beauty in society” thing, but the girls in the beginning of the ep (those walking around town) were beautifully drawn. The okama was pure barbarella win as well.


  • October 17, 2010 at 10:59 amKyokai

    The most promising show of the season, hands down.

  • October 17, 2010 at 5:24 pmBren-chan!

    I loved the first episode. I watched more than five times. I’m really anxious. And happy to finally find a new anime of this type of genre that has no moe, ecchi or anything like that.

  • October 18, 2010 at 3:14 amsherry

    I really enjoyed this first episode ^^ The characters are pretty endearing, I already feel attached to them aha~ I’m definitely following this series!

  • October 18, 2010 at 7:42 am1Lau

    Surprising first episode. The traps the backgrounds and parodies are very promising.

  • October 20, 2010 at 12:12 amsad-panda

    are they taking a week off? is the next episode on the 28th instead of 21st?
    waiting is killing.. the first was good ^^

  • October 20, 2010 at 5:37 amInfinitas

    Great review, Kiiragi.

  • October 23, 2010 at 6:01 pmTsytema

    I had a good laugh on the first episode looking forward to watch the 2nd one

  • October 23, 2010 at 8:18 pmsilverloc

    I thought it would be boring at first but i’m getting strangely addicted!!! >///< awesomeness!!

  • October 24, 2010 at 8:48 pmMockman

    Tsukimi Kurashita is an average girl, a very plain one at that, and has been influenced to love jellyfish (kurage, hence the title) from an early age.

    I think Tsukimi will turn out to be kind of cute, when all is said and done.

    I’m looking forward to the next episode. The first one was fun and novel. I wonder what will happen to Tsukimi. It looks like she just touched the third rail — male, beautiful, sociable, confident, assertive — and in her bed. Her roller coaster ride is about to begin.

  • November 4, 2010 at 2:19 amDerPilz,

    Worth watching,,