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Kuragehime – 05

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「私はクラゲになりたい」 (Watashi wa Kurage ni Naritai)
“I Want to be a Jellyfish”

How quaint that it would be raining outside my windows, as this week’s showing of Kuragehime had rain pouring throughout. A symbol for the depressing nature of the contents coming within the next twenty minutes, but somehow something I did not realize until it was all over. I suppose Chieko’s mom selling the complex without much of Chieko’s say in it should have put up a flag, but it did show that the story is not slowing down. What with last episode’s pure character development, I foolishly thought we were in for a slow trudge through several lifeless episodes of randomness (like most anime), but how delightfully wrong I was. I mean, it should have been obvious with Kuragehime only having 11 episodes total, as doing any dragging around would be biting their own ass, but it’s nothing that hasn’t happened to other shows before.

Having had a taste of normalcy, dabbled with a twinge of love, the loss of blissful ignorance coupled with Shuu’s own has sent Tsukimi down the spiral of depression that sadly, I know all too well (but that is a story for my personal statements *shakes fist*). This time, instead of just seeing the jellyfish, Tsukimi wishes to be one herself, jealous of their simple nature with no troubles in life (for comparison, some pet owners wish to be their cats or dogs in times of stress). They laid it pretty thick with the whole metaphorical thing, but it is interesting from a writing standpoint, given the medium of the source material. Manga doesn’t usually try different styles in telling its story from chapter to chapter, but there are some that dabble in it at times just to switch it up (can’t really think of a good example). So far, we’ve had a different narrative, and now we have an overarching symbol/metaphor, which makes me wonder if the chapters went like this as well. Whether the metaphor was contained within one chapter or over several, it deserves some props for “challenging” the medium. But man, this episode got pretty damn depressing until Kuranosuke showed up, which had me so relieved he was part of the show (even though he’s the co-protagonist). Imagine if this show was JUST Tsukimi and Shuu. The emotions and frustrations I would feel might just tear me to pieces (and I’d drop the show lmao because frustration is probably one of those feelings that you just don’t want in a show, ever.)

Anyway, a new character is introduced, namely Shoko Inari, played by Kitanishi Junko, apparently a “new” seiyuu. I can’t tell if she’s new or not given her age, so maybe being a seiyuu is just her side job. Boy, this show seems to be a vehicle for sparse seiyuu doesn’t it? Anywho, Shoko Inari, a woman who has perfected the art of beauty (probably being born with it), uses it to reel in men to rid them of their property, and possibly going so far as to even having sex to seal the deal (implied or not). So how does this devil woman come into the story? Akuma Inari plans to woo Shuu (lolrhymes) in order to get the demolishing of the Amamizu-kan to succeed. BUT WILL THIS WORK? NAW, SHUU IS TOO IGNORANT. Shuu’s totally being played up to be the “innocent bystander” in this love triangle, but there’s just no way he can overtake Kuranosuke. As the story is right now, I’m still rootin’ for Kuranosuke. However, the preview shows Shuu without glasses, and he looks badass (srs), who knew?!

Towards the end, everyone’s near given up on saving the Amamizu-kan, but of course Kuranosuke comes in and saves the day. Deciding to fight fire with fire, Kuranosuke finally sets out to do what he wanted since the beginning by giving everyone makeovers. Fighting with beauty to win against those who judge by it, that being just about everyone, and basically using society’s shallowness against them, is mindblowingly awesome and a new perspective that I have never thought about. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a show using beauty to overcome plot in this particular way, so massive points for something “fresh”. In contrast, Akuma Inari also fights with beauty, but for a much eviler reason. Coincidence that this was the episode she was introduced in? I think not!

With comedy that makes me laugh every single episode (something that only a handful of shows could do), a growing plot that never bores, and characters that I never thought I would get attached to, Kuragehime’s rough exterior is slowly but definitely becoming polished into that shiny diamond.

Random Tidbits

  • When Kuranosuke mentioned Nicole Richie, I actually paused and wiki’d Nicole Richie, so you’d imagine the surprise when he actually said “go google or wiki it”. Also, best outfit of his so far? I’d say so.
  • Mayaya would look great if it weren’t for those damn cheekbones.
  • During Mayaya’s “transformation”, they parodied an old folktale about a crane that was saved by a man one day. The next day, a female came to his house to become his wife and she then weaved cloth to help him gain money. The woman said her only condition was to never look inside the weaving room, but the man was curious how she was able to create such fantastic cloth, and peeked into the room one night. Turns out it was the crane working on the weaving machine, and as soon as he saw, the crane flew away and was never seen again. ;_;
  • “Oh it’s Banba’s turn. Well how the hell is he going to style Banba’s hair, it’s impossi-HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG”

     

    Preview

    Kuragehime   05   Preview 01 Kuragehime   05   Preview 02 Kuragehime   05   Preview 03
    November 20, 2010 at 3:29 am
    40 comments »
    • November 20, 2010 at 3:32 amvirox

      Great review! (divine asked me to cheer :D)

      • November 20, 2010 at 3:37 amKiiragi

        Psh, you didn’t even read it did you. It’s alright.

        • November 20, 2010 at 3:39 amvirox

          That’s right, it was like those stupid “FIRST!” comments with a funnier connection to IRC xD
          I read it afterwards tho’, so I guess that’s okay ;)

    • November 20, 2010 at 3:39 amRex

      Wait, you didnt know who Nicole Richie was?! Im not the person to delve into the lives of fake stars such as nicole richie and paris hilton, but come on, if you had been on the internet or turned on your tv at least ONCE the past few years you must have know who she was.

      Anyway! Great episode, i hope they keep the plot advancement going at this pace and its quite good so far. A great break from the hundreds of moé and cliché ridden shows.

      • November 20, 2010 at 3:40 amKiiragi

        Dude, I don’t even CARE who she is, nor do I wish I even KNEW Paris Hilton existed.

        • November 20, 2010 at 7:13 amRex

          I dont care either for both of them, i think they are the kind of people who should juist go unnoticed and ignored.
          I was just surprised that you had to look nicole richie up thats all.

      • November 20, 2010 at 7:37 amBelle

        When I saw the reference, I started wondering how famous Paris Hilton and Nichole Richie were outside the US. I figured most Americans would get the reference but I’m not sure how many Japanese would. I’m a bit on the surprised side that Kiiragi didn’t know who they are but that leaves me with a good impression because knowledge about those two falls on the useless drivel side. I went back and reread the introduction post but I could not determine what country Kiiragi was from. That might be a factor. ^_^

    • November 20, 2010 at 3:44 amNhelraios

      So only Chieko-san dont get a make over?

      What happened to Mayaya lol the way she acts wasn’t like her after her makeover(she acts like a celebrity now even on the preview D:), still love her Nicole Richie style though XD

      The first half of the episode wasn’t that great but the makeover and the scene where Inari is calling all her boyfriend was like OMG XD

    • November 20, 2010 at 3:48 amNhelraios

      Isn’t this supposed to be BANBA?

      • November 20, 2010 at 4:02 am1Lau

        It’s hilarious with the hair and such.
        http://randomc.net/image/Kuragehime/Kuragehime%20-%2005%20-%2038.jpg

      • November 20, 2010 at 4:09 amGreg

        Afro fuuin!

      • November 20, 2010 at 4:12 amminikui

        Nope. It can be spelt Banba or Bamba, depending on preference. Same as Senpai or Sempai or Shinbun and Shimbun are both being used.
        The character ん is just pronounced different depending on the word, so it can be N or M or even others.
        So some prefer to spell it “N” always, others prefer to show the difference in pronunciation by turning it into “M”.

    • November 20, 2010 at 3:56 amShadiic

      Shuu……. goddammit he gets hotter and hotter every week. He doesn’t even look like he’s in his 30s, I would say early 20s

    • November 20, 2010 at 5:42 amkarry

      “I’m still rootin’ for Kuranosuke.”

      Why ? He’s just a bisexual manslut. Any male wanting to get into fashion has to be at least bisexual, if not openly gay.

      • November 20, 2010 at 8:33 amMidnightJinx

        Where did you get that fact from…?
        Plenty of men in the fashion industry are straight – including my father, I might add – sure, Kuranosuke doesn’t fit the ‘typical’ male stereotype, and he’s interested in aesthetics ~ but having an interest in your and other’s appearance is quite helpful, if not normal. Despite what we like to think, everyone judges on appearances, the first thing we see – and Kuranosuke made that point this episode.
        There’s no evidence of him being bi/gay at all….popular with the girls, yes. But homosexual? not at all
        sorry to sound like I’m ranting…Just trying to get my point across without being misinterpreted

    • November 20, 2010 at 6:06 amoutcast

      When i take my glasses of i do not get nearly as much plusses to beauty.

    • November 20, 2010 at 6:12 amCas

      So… the lady bride in the OP is actually the new girl, not Tsukimi.

      • November 20, 2010 at 12:11 pmYuumei

        I actually thought the bride was female!Kuranosuke, which made me giggle. XD

        • November 20, 2010 at 8:16 pmNhelraios

          Yes same here, I thought Shu mistook the groom for Kuranosuke and the bride for Tsukimi

    • November 20, 2010 at 6:27 amDerPilz,

      Nice episode,,

    • November 20, 2010 at 6:27 aminfinite

      I like the random tidbits part. It makes your post just that more enjoyable and I think Kuranosuke is the only person in japan who knows who Nicole Richie is.

      • November 20, 2010 at 1:43 pmKiiragi

        Jiji knew about Sean Connery, but said he wasn’t really her type, which was odd because for “older men still being hot”, Sean Connery is usually the first that comes to mind for many people.

    • November 20, 2010 at 7:46 amBelle

      I love this show more and more every week. I didn’t notice until you posted this review, but I lol’d at this image where Mayaya is posing and admiring herself in the mirror instead of paying attention to what’s going on.

    • November 20, 2010 at 8:24 amTiggerz

      Can’t plastic surgery dem cheekbones away,
      but better a realistic makeover than a ridiculous one…

      The idea is for the clothes and makeup to make the person,
      ie. anyone can look good, if not ideally beautiful, with the right tweaks…

    • November 20, 2010 at 9:42 amewok40k

      NUNZ total makeover!
      gotta love this show!

    • November 20, 2010 at 10:47 amunlisted

      Glad I caught up with this show.

    • November 20, 2010 at 11:24 ammangaka-chan

      I’m really looking forward to seeing this on the Funimation channel. Can’t wait until all the Amars get their makeover. The crane wife story has me thinking that the girls are going to find out Kuranosuke is a guy and he’s not welcomed back any more. But who knows, maybe this whole experience will help them get over some of their anxiety about men.

    • November 20, 2010 at 12:29 pmKaitune

      GLASS-LESS SHUU IS ALSO HOT! OH GOD!

      (fangirling aside. That preview shot of Shuu totally reminds me of a glass-less Kyoya from Ouran High School Host Club. I have thought of the similarity before, but Shuu normally doesn’t have the sinister vibe that Kyoya has. Maybe Shuu is less innocent than the previous episode had led me to believe. Either that or the preview shot is misleading.)

      • November 20, 2010 at 7:28 pmTeabie

        oh Kaitune, thanks for answering my question because i’d been wondering WHY i thought Shuu looked kinda familiar. i have a megane weakness, and i thought that was it… but yes, it felt like Kyoya-kun, and yes, Shuu seemed less sinister… but who knows? can’t wait for the next preview. i wanna see what he does with that wily foxy Shoko.

    • November 20, 2010 at 1:02 pmDawn

      Im with divine, best Kuranosuke outfit thus far :]

      Another great episode, while a mellow roller coaster thus far, I can only expect it to get bumpier from here on out (in a good way).

      • November 20, 2010 at 1:03 pmDawn

        kiiragi* sorry proper noun typo, RC is mind controlling me

    • November 20, 2010 at 8:33 pmAeriel

      Totally love this show!! I love the way how they mock the shallowness of the society when it comes to beauty! Rooting for Kuranosuke~! Love his outfit and the transformations for the others lol

    • November 20, 2010 at 10:53 pmocswing

      Heh, amusing review to read! Thanks for the explanation for the crane weaving reference. I didn’t get it so it was only funny for being random.

      The great thing about handling the makeovers as part of the fight for their home is Kuranosuke explaining how he’s not trying to change who they are, but there are times when they need to leave their shell. Another nice change compared to the usual makeover routine that I appreciated.

    • November 21, 2010 at 12:59 pmSirHellsing420

      This episode was the best yet. And the airplane diving sound Kuranosuke made when he ran by to grab Mayaya. It was like, “WTF is that sound? Is that a car or something outside that’s — *SUPER KURANOSUKE MAKE-UP GRAB MAYAYA GET!* — “OMFG THAT WAS BRILLIANT!”.

    • November 21, 2010 at 4:40 pmanna

      Thank you so much for posting!!! I’m really enjoying this show and I can’t wait for more. I have to say though, although the age difference bothers me, I do prefer the Shuu and Tsukimi pairing to Kuranosuke and Tsukimi. Oh and I too thought that the Mayaya-grabbing scene was awesome.

    • November 21, 2010 at 4:40 pmIcarus II

      For me, Kuragehime is probably the runner-up top show this season. It really goes to show that there’s more out there currently than pandering fan-service and sis-con crap disguised as quality anime.

      • November 21, 2010 at 10:02 pmacemuffin

        if this is runner-up, whats the top for you? this is my top show of the season. better than star driver even. wayyy better than these generic moe series thatre so popular.

        • November 22, 2010 at 9:06 pmIcarus II

          While there are some interesting shows this season, I think my favorite currently is Shinrei Tantei Yakumo. I really like supernatural/horror genre in anime, so in that sense I might be a bit biased, but really I just appreciate a good story without pandering or exploitation.

          There really has to be more shows like Kuragehime and less of stuff like Sora no Otoshimono Forte and the like.

    • November 23, 2010 at 5:51 amSummelBaerli

      TSUKIMIIIIII~ TT^TT Poor girl, really. I’ve grown to love her so much and seeing her depressed like that really got to me ;__; So yay for Kuranosuke! ^o^ He made her rain stop ♥ tehehehe

      Shuu without glasses really is hot *__* Holy Shit!
      ………still…… KuraTsuki FTW x3

    • November 23, 2010 at 7:26 pmSuzushina Yuriko

      This episode has to be the funniest one yet, with Kuranosuke’s epic kicking of the door, the speed in which Mayaya was kidnapped, and AFRO FUUIN!

      The counterattack starts now!