Princess Knight, Part One Paperback – Nov 1 2011
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"PRINCESS KNIGHT is regarded a defining masterpiece of the [shojo] genre." - Shojo Beat magazine
"Princess Knight has the structure and feel of a Disney cartoon, which is not surprising, as Tezuka was a big fan of Disney's work. The story has a classic fairy-tale setting, a vaguely European country during the middle ages, with a king and queen, a Royal Guard who are a bunch of bullies, and quaint villages filled with peasants. The characters have the rounded, big-eyed look of classic Disney characters, and the pacing and slapstick humor conjure up such classics as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."...Still, Tezuka's story seems to have caught the popular imagination in a way that earlier shoujo manga did not." - MTV
About the Author
Osamu Tezuka was born on November 3, 1928, in Osaka. He grew up in an open-minded family exposed to manga and Walt Disney. Having developed an intense understanding of the preciousness of life from his wartime experience, Osamu Tezuka aimed to become a physician and later earned his degree, but ultimately chose the profession he loved best: manga artist and animated film writer.
Tezuka’s work changed the concept of the Japanese cartoon, transforming it into an art form and incorporating a variety of new styles in creating the “story cartoon.” Osamu Tezuka lived out his entire life tirelessly pursuing his efforts, producing more than 150,000 pages of graphic storytelling before his death in 1989.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The artwork is one of my most favorite parts of the book, being gorgeously retro and still setting artwork standards, showing that you can have a great plot line AND great artwork at the same time. Even if you're not drawn in by the story, it's still worth it to flip through the volume. On an interesting side note, I've heard that Betty Boop had a sizable influence on Tezuka, which you can definitely see in the artwork for Sapphire. Story-wise, it's fantastic. I will admit that the jumps between chapters can be pretty abrupt, which pushes me out of the story a little, but otherwise it's very good. I couldn't help but read this all the way through, sacrificing valuable sleep hours.
If you're a parent worried about violence or sexuality, no worries. The book is fairly clean. There are people getting hurt and the book does feature some deaths, but it's far from being gratuitous or gory. By today's standards it's squeaky clean.
Overall this is well worth buying for any Tezuka fan or for anyone who just likes a good story.
The book itself is in paperback format, and 384 pages long. There are no color pages, and additional content is kept to a minimum. The translation seems to be in top form; I found no glaring errors, and pronouns and such were consistent.
As for the story itself, it is a story well ahead of its time (it was first published in Japan in 1953), combating the sensitive issue of feminism. Quite a few characters are seen protesting the law that the heir to the throne must be male, and one particular scene involves a nurse calling the doctor out on his misogynistic behaviour.
The first part tackles the birth and upbringing of Princess Sapphire, born with both a boy heart and a girl heart, and raised as a boy because of a miscommunicated announcement; the identity struggles Sapphire has; her romance with the prince of the neighbouring country: Franz; and ultimately, the Duke's evil plot to have his son Plastic inherit the throne, which succeeds; and Sapphire's struggles to defeat the Duke and convince Franz that she is the girl of his dreams. The first part ends with Sapphire and a newly befriended pirate on their way to the Duke's hunting party so as to ambush him.
Overall, this is a wonderful manga; a timeless classic that should be read by all fans of the medium, and I am so very glad this was finally published in English, because everyone should read this milestone in manga history.
It all started with a mischievous angel named Tink, who placed a second heart (from a boy) into a soon-to-be-born girl. To make matters worse, this child with two hearts was born into the royal family of a kingdom in which a woman may not inherit the throne, so the child, named Sapphire, must lead a double life, both as a prince in the eyes of her kingdom and as a princess in the eyes of her family. Soon she meets the prince of a neighboring country, Franz Charming (yeah, he went there!).
However, treachery engulfs Sapphire, in the form of a conniving and jealous lord who wishes for nothing more than his lazy, good-for-nothing son Plastic to inherit the crown. Together with his vassal, Lord Nylon, he hatches a nefarious plot to reveal Sapphire's true gender to the kingdom and thus usurp the throne. An evil witch also appears with the desire to steal Sapphire's girl heart so her daughter can marry Prince Charming.
This tale is one of love, friendship, tragedy, betrayal, heroism, and so much more. With situations constantly changing, Tezuka succeeds once again in keeping the readers on the edges of their seats. This story set the stage for the entire shojo manga genre, and in true Tezuka fashion, it set the bar as high as it could go, right from the get go. Sadly, there are only two volumes. It leaves a couple of things open, but is overall very entertaining.
Reviewed by David Gromer