After hearing lots of positive things about The Graduate (the movie with Dustin Hoffman), I read the book (by Charles Webb). It’s only 191 pages, so very easy to read in a day. It’s also mostly dialogue, so it was tailor-made for the big screen or a theater.
Weirdly enough, I found myself sympathizing with Ben Braddock’s existential plight. His mental crisis reminded me of when I was trying to find a job after graduation and wondering what good a piece of paper (i.e., diploma) would be anyway when the only place I could get employed was at a fast food restaurant. What irritated me was how he considered himself a lost cause and didn’t even try to do anything right. In the hands of a different author, a character like this would never be sympathetic or even decent because he lacked autonomy. Ben more or less seemed like he was being pulled along by the other characters throughout the story. By the time he finally began to take action, it was absolutely the wrong kind of action.
I know the book was supposed to be a comedy, but I didn’t really find it that funny. After I got over sympathizing with Ben, I wanted to slap him in the face, which his father did for me near the end of the book. It seemed like the only reasons Ben wanted to marry Elaine were to spite Mrs. Robinson and to bring some excitement into his life, which he obviously perceived as hopeless.
Did you see or read The Graduate? What did you think?
Let me preface this post by saying that I don’t normally watch anime, and I don’t consider myself very knowledgeable about the genre. The last anime I watched was Elfen Lied, and that was a couple of years ago. But Princess Jellyfish was only 11 episodes long, so it seemed manageable. Like a lot of anime, it was adapted from a manga, and from looking at some pages of the manga online, it doesn’t seem like the plot changed much in the transition. The main character, the jellyfish-obsessed Tsukimi, is 18 and lives in an apartment building with four 30-something women. All of them are what the Japanese call otaku, which means they’re nerdy and have obsessive interests. They call the building in which they live “the Nunnery,” and, though not religious, they all maintain poverty, chastity, and obedience: none of them has more than 2 figures in her bank account, none of them has ever had a boyfriend/lover, and they are all obedient to the landlady, a mysterious manga artist who rarely leaves her room and communicates with her tenants via messages slipped under the door.
One day, Tsukimi meets a beautiful “Stylish” woman who helps her save a jellyfish from certain death. Turns out that this woman is actually a young man in drag, who believes that every girl can be a princess, even these 30-something otaku women who shy away from makeup and have never been “with it” in terms of fashion (or social skills). Throughout the series, the young man helps bring them all out of their shells so they can save their beloved “Nunnery,” which is in danger of being demolished by city planners.
Basically, it’s a cute romantic comedy with an interesting look at gender roles and stereotypes. My only problem with it is that a lot of the conflicts and plot lines had not been adequately resolved by the end of the 11 episodes, which makes me believe that the manga might have had more to it, or perhaps there will eventually be another season of the anime. (I hope so!)
So if you like anime, and you’re sick of mecha, magical girls, and women with enormous boobs in skimpy armor, watch this one. 🙂