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Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2

Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2
By Akiko Higashimura, Translated by Sarah Alys Lindholm.
Kodansha Comics, 384 pp.
Rating: Teens (16 +)

Tsukimi and Kuranosuke struggle to find a way to keep Amars from being destroyed in the name of urban renewal and development! If that wasn’t bad enough, Tsukimi slowly begins to realize that she’s fallen in love with someone, a thing she never thought possible. Can Tsukimi confront a part of herself she never knew existed, while attempting to save her home? Akiko Higashimura’s brilliant series continues, with Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2!

This volume sees the firm establishment of a love triangle, as Tsukimi and Kuranosuke both must confront things about themselves they never thought possible. The revelation that may love someone forces them to confront their own self image, and look within for answers to why they feel the way they do and what it means for their sense of self. This introspection is accompanied by some wonderful backstory which goes a long way to understanding both characters and why they are the way they are today. It’s not all deeply emotional and drama filled reading, though, as the other ladies of the Amars and the rest of the supporting cast do quite a bit of heavy lifting in lightening things and keeping it from getting too serious. It’s a delicate tonal balance that Akiko Higashimura pulls off beautifully! She can switch gears from deeply moving personal insight, to goofy antics and over the top comedy seamlessly, and at no point in time does the tonal shift ever feel awkward or intrusive. A lot of this is due to her artwork, which is just cartoony and loose enough to sustain the arrival of the ever emotive and over the top Mayaya.

A page from Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2

This page had me laughing out loud!

It’s really Akiko Higashimura’s character work that makes everything work. While the rest of the Amars mostly serve as comedy relief, Tsukimi’s emotional struggle and the odd moments she emerges from her cocoon are what really drive the story. Her reasons for being the way she is make sense and are relatable and she comes across as incredibly sympathetic, just damaged and scared. You cheer for her when she succeeds and moves forward, and cringe and groan when she falls back another two steps.

Visually, Princess Jellyfish continues to delight. Higashimura’s ability to balance tone is evident here as well, as she does an amazing job at letting the more powerful emotional moments and revelations hang in the air, while her comedic timing and visuals are brilliant and executed wonderfully. Her artwork is expressive enough that the brief explosions of insanity, over the top reactions, or goofy moments that would normally elicit groans and eye rolls in other series feel right at home here, and result in some genuine laughs.

With some fantastic comedy and moving emotional moments, Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2 has the perfect balance of comedy and drama to make it a compelling, emotional, and thoroughly enjoyable read. Akiko Higashimura’s done an amazing job and, much like the first volume, I was left wanting more as soon as I closed the cover!

Princess Jellyfish, Vol. 2 is available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. August 1, 2017 at 6:25 pm

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