Kuragehime is a comedy with romantic elements. It does an amazing job of creating memorable characters and tells a fun, entertaining and lovable story. Everything from the animation, music, sound and voice acting work together to make one of the most memorable anime in recent years.
The plot: In Japan there is a small old apartment complex called Amamizukan, all the residents are female otaku and no men are allowed (in Japan otaku is closer to saying geek, not specifically anime-related). The female protagonist, Kurashita Tsukimi, is an 18 year old jellyfish otaku, she loves jellyfish and has fond memories of her mother taking her to the aquarium. Specifically, Tsukimi remembers her mother promising her that she would make a wedding dress that looked like a jellyfish. In this way she would become a beautiful jellyfish princess. Unfortunately her mother died and Tsukimi does not find herself beautiful at all. She and the other female otaku at Amamizukan spend much of there time indoors avoiding what they call "stylish hipsters."
However one day on her way home at night, she notices that a fish shop has wrongly placed 2 competing species of jellyfish in the same tank together. She and the shopkeeper get into a fight over this. A stylish woman passes by and sympathizes with Tsukimi and buys the jellyfish for her. Tsukimi and the woman go back to the Amamizukan, and the woman stays the night, despite Tsukimi's reluctance (she is afraid of what the other residents will say when they see a stylish hipster). When Tsukimi wakes up the next morning it turns out that the woman is actually a cross-dressing young man named Kuranosuke.
The movement and development of the plot in Kuragehime can be divided into 2 parts. The first part is conflict between the residents of the Amamizukan and the local government. The local government is debating whether or not to tear down the place. The second part is the development of Tsukimi as she slowly but surely breaks out of her shell, with the help of Kuranosuke and becomes truly beautiful. The anime certainly draws upon fairy tale and romantic elements, like prince and princess, which is why I think of Kuragehime as a comedy first, romance second. But overall, the way the anime is presented and the characters are developed truly is beautiful. The title for this review is a translation of a line from the ending song, which has really grown on me. I think it sums up what Kuranosuke ends up trying to do with Tsukimi.
The supporting cast does a wonderful job of creating a light and simple atmosphere. From the beginning when we see the residents of Amamizukan sitting down for dinner and tea, we can tell that they are all unique and have their own ways of behaving. Throughout the series, much of the character development is focused around Kuranosuke and Tsukimi, but the anime does a great job of integrating the rest of the cast to great effect without selling any of them short.
Lastly, the pacing of the anime is very smooth, transitioning from more sentimental scenes, to outright comedic chaos within a single episode. I found that each episode kept me wanting more. Kuragehime was a breathtaking comedy and I cannot recommend this anime enough. If anything at least watch the first episode.