Kuragehime 11: Birth of a Brand

The final, though less than thrilling, conclusion to a series we’ve all greatly enjoyed.


Summary-in-a-sentence:

Kurako and the nunz finish off and enter their dresses in a fashion show, where their ‘Jellyfish’ brand is born; Shu-Shu is seen leaving on a jetplane with uncle kiraboshi and Inari; and Chieko’s mum returns and announces that the Amazu is saved!


Hana on making your own fairytale:

Sleeping Beauty has been awakened and unleashed!

In spite of the fact that it opened with the prince on a white airplane going the wrong way, the actions of another prince(ss) by the close of the epi were pretty satisfying and kept me smiling all the way through. Yes, not only did Tsukimi’s fairy trapmother save the day, Kuranosuke more importantly helped Tsukimi towards achieving her jellyfish-flavoured fairytale and also really blossom and mature in the process. Okasan would be proud.

Of course, as the season finale, there was a lot left to be desired, so I’ll get my gripes out of the way first, namely: the whole rushrushrush feeling that resulted in whisking Shu-Shu out of the way with uncle kiraboshi and the snake on a plane; having the nunnery tarp’ed up and about to be demolished one moment then not (and for the most arbitrary of reasons) the next; and finally the out-of-the-blue fashion show starring the blink-and-you’ll-miss-her-former-appearance-in-the-series afro otaku model. Yep, for a Rom-Com the much discussed and shipped about Rom was left completely unresolved at best, and for the ShuKimi shippers/ Inari haters it could not have headed in a worse direction.

However, there was plenty of WIN in this finale, notably the way that Tsukimi was able to create DAT DRESS largely by herself and get to wear one just as cute, and thus proving that all girls, even the most insecure and unkempt of fujoshi, can become bona fide princesses. With a little help from their friends and fairy trapmothers, of course. Yes, KimiKura shippers probably breathed sighs of relief and delight at the official ‘branding’ of their exciting partnership and the fact that they are now ‘bound for life’. In fact, whatever ship you may or may not have been aboard, that was a great moment, and I relish the thought of their future joint career.

Also, on the idea of princesses in particular: Cinderella (the transformations), the Little Mermaid (the (jelly-)fish-girl who loves the fine prince), Snow White (Inari as the jealous evil rival), Sleeping Beauty (the fact that she needs to be ‘awakened’) – these are just some of the fairytale princesses that Tsukimi’s development makes me think of, and I love the way that this show has drawn on these motifs for the good ol’ shoujotastic wish-fulfilment side of things, but also for the way that these have been reinvented for its josei demographic (e.g. the ‘manly princess’, as well as the fairy trapmother). To use Tsukimi’s words right the at beginning of epi 1, clearly there are lots of princesses in Tokyo, but, thankfully, more varied and more wonderous than Tsukimi first thought.

Finally, I don’t have much else to say really, other than how much I’ve enjoyed watching this funny, thrilling and fabulous series, not to mention how much fun it’s been co-blogging (something I’ve not really done much of before) it with my comrades and senpai, EO and Crusader. I must say I’m going to miss the show a lot, as it’s fast become on of my favourite series, as well as the banter I’ve shared between the commenters – shippers and otherwise. So, my thanks to all of the above, and to the manga which I intend to track down a.s.a.p. in order to carry on stalking these fab characters! See you guys next time!

Enjoy the applause guys, you deserve it!


Crusader

Well Kuranosuke did pretty much steal the show.

All good things must come to an end and while much was expected from the last episode much was under delivered though they left themselves wide open for a second season, sadly none has yet been announced yet. Still I was delighted to see the face of DEFEAT on the Nunz as Sugi gave enough bad directions to give them a good scare. They deserve to be put out for not caring until the 11th hour and for doing so little while Tsukimi and Kuranosuke do pretty much everything. I only wish that truck had connected with Mayaya since she was absolutely USELESS. She couldn’t so much as sit in her seat and shut her mouth and she did not even contribute a single Clara-tan for the war effort. Down to a man they were all ready to surrender at the sight of the tarp, sadly that is what it took for them to care and even then it did not make them willing to fight for their home.

Inari may  have been the villain but even she underwent character development and actually changed for the better. Say what you will about Inari but you cannot dispute that the Nunz have hardly changed during the series just about as vile as they were at the start and in the end it took a Move by a Korean and a Midnight ride by Chieco’s Mom to save their sorry asses. Even during their victory dinner there was not utter of thanks to their fairy trap mother and Mayaya and Bamba were fighting over spoils that they did not win themselves.

As for Kuranosuke and Tsukimi they seem to be set for going on a great journey together as they got their Jellyfish Brand off to a good start with a little help from Jiji and Chieco, and pointedly none from Mayaya and Bamba. With Kurako as the model they did magnificently and the results resulted in a lot of shock and awe as Kurako stole the show and made a CLEAN SWEEP. I like how they didn’t cheapen Tsukimi’s development by letting her fit in the pink dress because Zeus knows the girl has much to improve. Still I had a good laugh at her expense as once again Kuranosuke proves that he is better at being a girl than all the Nunz combined. Plenty was said between Kuranosuke and Tsukimi that made me feel that the bow had been sheared off Shu-kimi, and with stalker Inari on the same plane as Shu the rudder seems to be out as well.

Speaking of Inari I am glad that she has had made some significant progress, I don’t hate her for trying to gentrify the neighborhood since urban renewal isn’t the most evil of things and she isn’t getting the place Crassus style by buying up burning properties. Also I hate the opposition as Mayaya and Bamba were underwhelming and contemptible. Still I am glad that Inari has finally felt the Revenge of Love after seeing Shu Tears. I was delighted to see Inari as a love sick wreck. Poor Shu however thinks that they are destined to fight forever and because he accept PM’s invitation has exposed him self to a long term assault I can only wonder what kind of feats Inari will be pulling now that her techniques are augmented by LOVE.

Final Verdict: B

There was so much to like about this series and while it ended in a decent manner I was exasperated by the lack of a second season announcement or a more definitive end. If only it were 13 eps instead of 11 it probably would have ended a lot better. It was sad to see that character development for the Nunz to move at a snail’s pace with few significant changes for them with exception to Tsukimi who still has a long way to go. Kuranosuke was all around awesome though certainly being the Kuragehime was not far off the mark as we got a better idea of who he was than most of the characters. It works mostly as a comedy though none of the rom-com elements were really satisfactorily resolved, which is a shame really as a good resolution at the end would not have diminished how great this series was. Still it was a lot of fun even if I was not all too happy with how a Korean Move basically saved the Nunz from having to taste defeat or at least help the Jellyfish line to reclaim their home.

At least I got to capture their FAIL faces...

Damn if only it connected.

It is good to see that slap messed her up a bit.

It may have been late but her shoujo kokoro was finally pumping.

Look at it this way you beat most of the Nunz when it comes to a change of heart.

BITCH I AM DISAPPOINT.

C'mon man who doodles on their job application?

Love will find a way Love always finds a way...

She's stalking you...

No dream Inari, NO DREAM.

No mirage Shu, NO MIRAGE.

Well it wouldn't have been like Norris vs 8th Team...

Poor PM...but at least his approval rating his higher than the Nunz.

Damn quitter.

FFFFFFFFFFFF

Clearly the Queen of the show.

Love has laid her low...

Inari was never crushed or defeated but she is about to get hammered...

The Winner.

You know I'll pass I am not that desperate unless Kurako does it.

Ouch, dude Kurako's more girl than you...

Someone has been eating too many snacks...

Man how disappointed would the competition have been if they knew the truth...

CLARA call it CLARA!

Kurako better get a thank you, you bums!

...

Yes what you talking about...?

Saved by a Korean!

I can hear the bow being sheared off one of the ships...

Mejiro you're the best.

Good bye Clara I will miss you!

ExecutiveOtaku’s Final Thoughts

>my face when the series ended like it did.

This is going to sound bitter, but even my limited expectations about how the series would end were disappointed. I had figured that at a minimum there would be some sort of Shu-centric deus ex machina ending and that the shipping wars would be left in an ambiguous state. But the deus ex machina was one of the lamest I’ve seen in some time. First the blue tarps went away for just about no reason, and then Chieko’s mom just walks in and says she decided not to sell the building. That’s it? No drama? No payoff for any of the work anyone did to save the Amamizukan? Really? I wasn’t expecting the best ending ever given that there was only one episode to do it with, but give me SOMETHING!

SHU TEARS have emptied her heart of wickedness like a mahou shoujo BEFRIENDING an enemy.

On the upside at least the shipping wars ended in the equivalent of the Battle of Hampton Roads. Both ships came with innovative new technologies but their first clash was nowhere near decisive. I suppose that any resolution will be left for a possible second season or manga continuation, though even I must admit that ShuKimi came out of the fight with a few dings and dents to her armor. However I think I could live with a new Shu and Inari thing (if I were a crass man, and I’m not saying that I am, but if I were I would call this ship ShuSlut) now that SHU TEARS have purified her heart and shown her the path to True Love and Friendship like Ultraman Cosmos purifying a corrupted monster. Which she was/is. But even so ShuKimi sails on and meanwhile KuraKimi is no sure thing (no sure thing, boy!) Their business partnership has risen to a new level but this sort of friendly relationship is no guarantee of a successful ship by any means. Need I remind everyone of how Sakino encouraged and trained Kazuo to better himself in soccer, only to have my OTP succeed? Or the tragic example of Noe providing Shinichiro with his inspiration to write and draw only to have him cruelly snatched away by Hiromi’s guilt tactics? The purely professional relationship morphed into love for Taiga and Ryuuji but the previous examples show that it’s not success in and of itself. If there’s a second season of Kuragehime then I will definitely return to battle stations, but if this is it then I leave the field of battle somewhat disappointed and disillusioned. Guess that means I should become a military advisor or mercenary for any ships looking for a hired gun like an Ali al Saarshes of shipping. At least until my contractual obligation to blog and ship season two of Nyan Koi comes up (SIEG KANAKO!) As always, thank you for reading and commenting. It’s been a fun time and any show where I can practice the shipping arts is a series worth having blogged.

SHU TEARS: now part of the official T.H.A.T. lexicon.

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20 Comments

  1. Posted January 6, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    ShuSlut…

    ….I like it. All aboard the ShuSlut for the second season that will never be made!

  2. Merq
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    ShuSlut huh? I also like “Inu”.

    Great season…”eh” end. Here’s to hoping for a second season! Meanwhile, I will wait impatiently for manga updates.

    • Posted January 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Nice! I’m hoping that the manga is ahead of the series since that would mean a higher chance of a sequel. But Scamp’s right to doubt a second season given that this was made by Brains Base.

      • Merq
        Posted January 7, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Stranger things have happened. One of my favorite (current) sitcoms was canceled and then picked up by another network a year later. The new season premieres next week, a little over a year and a half after it’s initial cancellation. Let’s not give up on the dream! Let’s start a campaign!

  3. Posted January 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, the ending was “meh”. But I kinda expected it given its short season. Eleven episodes?! I knew that wasn’t gonna be enough when I previewed the show. I hate these shorter seasons. Twenty six gives way 24, then 22. Thirteen gives way to 11? Oh come on! Much shorter and you might as well call it an OVA or special.
    *ahem*
    Anway, while my hopes for ShuKimi seem to be sailing into an ocean covered by ominous clouds, I still hold some hope that one of my few shipping endeavors proves fruitful. I’m hoping for a Kimi ni Todoke or Fullmetal Alchemist type comeback. They can’t possibly leave a quality show like this so unexplored.

    • Crusader
      Posted January 8, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      Hopefully there will be more a second season or an OVA, alas at least they resolved the most pressing issue even if the shipping was not resolved. Kimi ni Todoke will move at a snails pace but I don’t mind.Even if there isn’t anything else maybe the manga will get translated, as i doubt they can simply sell Clara dolls to FUND IT.

      • Posted January 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        I was wondering about the weird no. of episodes too, unless I’m just used to either 13/ 26. Such a short no. as 11 is defo disappointing when it’s been such an enjoyable series, and esp when this means the last epi is gonna be rushrushrush. Anyway, I second that ‘Hopefully’ too!

  4. ectholion
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    traplastic ending check, kurako/tsukimi sharing their destiny check, Inari/Shu flying into the horizon with uncle check only thing that could of made it better would be a nice kiss or two at the end. Also due to Hana’s advice i have prepared a bucket for the tears of all you Shukimi shippers ;) EO im looking at you.

    • Crusader
      Posted January 8, 2011 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Basically through distance might ShuKimi part but would have been nice to have something more you know definitive. Still it sure seems as if Inari-Shu actually has a fighting chance now that love has made it way into Inari’s heart…

    • Posted January 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      LOL! (Or should that be *groan*…) Yes, a glass really doesn’t seem big enough anymore, does it?!

  5. ~xxx
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    It was a bit short and the show has no clear resolution.
    I was thinking if there is a chance for a catch-up OVA or additional episodes.

    At least there are few things that is clear in the end.
    Overall Grade: A

    • Crusader
      Posted January 8, 2011 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      Alas if it were but two eps more.

      • Posted January 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        In short, I agree with you both!

  6. Posted January 9, 2011 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    I would kill for a second season >< <3 Kurako!

    The manga is only scanlated up to chapter 9 that I can find, not sure where it correlates to in the anime but probably around the middle.

    • Posted January 9, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I am defo gonna be having withdrawal symptoms for this show as well, not least of all, as you indicate, for the awesomely awesome KURAKO! Thans for the heads-up about the manga, think I’ll wait for it to get ahead of the where the anime left off before I check it out… :)

  7. Posted January 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    If there’s no second season, they should at least give an OVA to Hanamori.

    That was a nice marathon. I’ll go ice my eyes now.

    • Posted January 23, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      If they did then he’d have to ditch that dodgy P.I., there’s gotta be more useful people to share doghnuts with…

      Glad you enjoyed it though, especially given its shockinly low position in your current poll.

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