The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Princess Jellyfish

Princess Jellyfish, based off of the hit manga series, tells the story of Tsukimi, a woman who is obsessed with jellyfish.

Tsukimi wants to be an illustrator and she specifically wants to illustrate jellyfish, but she finds it difficult to leave her home and interact with others because she is afraid of stylish people. This, however, all changes, when one day, Tsukimi gets involved in a misunderstanding and a stylish cross-dressing man by the name of Kuranosuke helps her out. It is from this point forward that Tsukimi’s life is forever changed as she becomes inextricably intertwined and involved with Kuranosuke, and the two become the best of friends and possibly more.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Princess Jellyfish passes the Bechdel and race test but does not pass the Russo test.

There are many named women in Princess Jellyfish and there are many instances where these named women talk to each other without mentioning men so the film passes the Bechdel test. The film also passes the race test as the entire cast is Asian and White people are never mentioned by any of the characters. Princess Jellyfish does not, however, pass the Russo test, and the film does not pass this test because there are no LGBTI characters in the film.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

*The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.