Kuragehime 1 – All Glory to the Jellyfish
That’s right, pulling double duty on noitaminA here!
So from what I’ve been reading blogging-wise, on Twitter and forums, the first episode of Kuragehime seems to be near universally-loved, heaps of praise abound. I don’t want to go too over-the-top with my own praise, but I do believe it is the most well-executed first episode of the fall season. The animation, characterization, flow and comic timing all hit the mark right from the start. I’d compare the show’s first episode to its crossdressing “princess” — totally confident in what it is despite its abnormal (for lack of a better word) appearance.
(Plus, you know the show hooked me from the start with its movie parody-based OP sequence. That is right in my wheelhouse. As a big ol’ movie geek, though, I’m somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get every parody; really, I knew only the ones everyone else has pointed out thus far — Sex and the City, Star Wars, Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, James Bond, Kill Bill, The Graduate and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’ve seen it suggested that the train scene might be a North by Northwest (since its final shot famously shows a train speeding into a tunnel to suggest some rabu rabu time), but I’m not totally sold on it myself . . . but no other suggestion I’ve seen has come any closer than that, haha. The dice/shell game bit is still throwing me too. Alas.)
I don’t think this first episode would have been quite as good as it is (although it would have been good regardless) without Kana Hanazawa more than pulling her weight as the lead, Tsukimi. Normally I’m not a huge fan since her soft, breathy moe voice doesn’t do much for me, but she’s got this character down, particularly when it comes to the comic timing. The whole scene at the pet shop really impressed me . . . you know, during the few seconds when I had time to think about it when I wasn’t laughing. The way she flips seamlessly into Tsukimi’s jellyfish otaku mode (the only time she speaks to the pet shop dude with any confidence, which made me snicker more) is wonderful.
Unfortunately, although I tried to go into the episode cold, I got trap spoiled (damn you, Internet), though I suppose the knowledge did make me lol a bit when I heard the princesses’ voice, and it turned out to be Mitsuki Saiga. I see what you’re doing there, Brains Base. She’s also quite good, playing the role without any affectation or cute wink wink nudge nudge irony or anything like that. The dude believes totally in his normality and completely owns his persona; hell, that confidence is enough to make Tsukimi believe that he is a bonafide princess, so he may as well be normal.
He seems to live a fairly interesting life, too, since he was out until dawn the previous day. I’d kind of like to see what kind of group he mingles with — that would be quite the meet-up, wouldn’t it, with his group coming across Tsukimi’s friends? Or maybe he’s a loner who just floats around getting into crazy situations. Or maybe this was just a one night thing, who knows. It would be kind of disappointing if this guy didn’t live some kind of crazy fun life, though. :p
Of Tsukimi’s friends, Mayaya is my favorite from the first episode. Like me, Aorii made the connection to T.K. from Angel Beats, what with Mayaya’s constant movement and exaggerated gestures. No bizarre Engrish catchphrases, though, although her hair is kind of like T.K.’s bandana, I guess.