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Princess Ai Vol. 1 Paperback – July 6, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Princess AI (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop (July 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591826691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591826699
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,927,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A petulant, doll-faced amnesiac named Ai finds herself on the streets of Tokyo, wondering why she is on Earth at all. She meets Kent, a long-haired young rocker, who helps her discover she has vocal talent. Along the way, Ai unearths some clues to her past, grows a pair of wings and destroys various characters' clothes in the name of fashion. Although rocker Love's name is on this modern fairy tale series, it's not clear what role she had in its making. The story, appropriate for older manga audiences, bears some resemblance to Love's life, as Ai undergoes some existential angst and complains, "It sucks being homeless!" Ai's story isn't convincing, though, and the book's creators can't seem to decide if this series is a fantasy, a mystery, a thriller or a romance. In what must be a strategy to stretch the plot out over several books, no story line is developed enough to hold readers' attention (and Ai's antics—kicking and punching her way out of most scrapes—don't make a good substitute). It's a shame Kujiradou's excellent art doesn't have a more interesting subject. Kujiradou gives Ai a gentle, childish air, and her action sequences are terrific. This series may attract fans of Love and her former band, Hole, but it probably won't draw a devoted readership.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

Cross-over between shojo fans, gothic fans, and rock fans!
Character design by Ai Yazawa, Creator of Paradise Kiss
Will appear in Wings magazine(RG Veda, Demon Ororon, Immortal Rain)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Felicia R. Atkinson on July 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I wanted to check it out since Courtney Love is a good musician in my eyes, despite the fact that a lot of people dislike her. I purchased this yesterday (July 15th, 2004), and I'll be returning it within the next few days. I could not finish this title, that's something I've never done with a manga title before.
Mostly, I kind of chuckled in the beginning, since the dialogue was kind of choppy, but it kept getting worse. I could deal with the almost constant 'heart-shaped box' whenever she mentioned her locket-box. It was annoying, because it made it flow strangely. But then you meet Kent, Ai's love interest, who suspiciously looks, acts, and has a name similiar to Kurt Cobain.
I realize Princess Ai is supposed to be Love's self-insertion manga, she's mentioned it before. But the more I read, a few things became very, very apparent to me. It reads like a second grade storybook, because the dialogue phrases things in awkward ways, and not only once either; they keep repeating themselves. Secondly, Ai's supposed inability to recall memories seems to be defeated very easily, but she has to mention that's she's receiving a memory each time she does. And lastly, I feel, although personally this is my opinion, she's trying to make money off her deceased husband. Because Kent is similar to Cobain, and the number of times 'heart-shaped box' awkwardly is mentioned is uncountable. I don't know if this is due to a bad translation. Was it published in Japan before now or was it an English release first?
Another thing that bothered me was that the manga's bad guys seem very see-through. Their logic makes little sense to me, and I'm pretty intelligent, and I read parts of this manga to different people I know and none of them could get it, either.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rachel K. on January 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I can't say I was impressed with this manga. That is my sugar-coated statement to sum up my point of view. My actual feelings are that I have never felt such hatred for a manga. The only redeeming quality of this piece of tripe is the gorgeous artwork of Misaho Kujiradou, and fashion designs by renowned artist Ai Yazawa, creator of Paradise Kiss.

The book starts off with a mysterious girl in ripped clothing landing in a pile of garbage (an honest start, since the whole manga never rises from the proverbial rubbage heap). She wanders aimlessly about, attracting attention without even realizing it, since she is pondering over the mystery of the heart shaped box. From there, the plot plunges downhill, as what seems like a likeable heroine turns sour, offset by undeveloped cardboard characters and unrealistic rivalries with everyone, stemming from `jealousy' of Ai's good looks and `talent'. In fact, all of the characters in the book get no back histories, they are merely stepping stones to reveal more of Ai's `greatness'.

Before we go any further into my scathing review, I'd like to say that I'm not a fan of Love either, hence my title. But this is not a review of the co-author, so I digress. This is only relevant because Ai is Love's `alter-ego', and she is VERY clearly a Mary-Sue, probably stemming from Love's own inflated ego.

Despite the main character being unlikeable at best, and all of the other characters outshone in Ai's slutty glory, the plot fails to entice. I have sat through anime and manga with horrible characters and found myself loving them in the end. NOT so in Ai.

My summary, spend your money elsewhere. This book is gorgeous to look at, and the costume designs are beautiful, but there's something rotten on the inside.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Lynch on January 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
As an avid fan of both Courtney Love and manga, I was excited when I heard about Princess Ai. Sadly, this is the one and only manga out of the MANY I have read to hold the distinction of "Unfinishable." I valiantly struggled through the first two chapters, but could not make myself read the last one. Instead, I skimmed through to see if anything interesting would happen. (That's a "no.") As I closed the book, I realized something -- I was *literally* falling asleep! I could not stop yawning and was about to pass out cold right there on my couch!

The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, but the writing is just awful - repetitive (how many times can Ai ask herself why she's in Tokyo?) and almost useless. The vast majority of the characters lose whatever appeal they initially had as the "plot" plods painfully along.

I am really disappointed. I feel like this book could have been so much more. Try reading the real story of Courtney Love -- I guarantee it's much more fascinating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mistress Koko on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This manga is about a girl named Ai who is from the planet Ailand. She suddenly finds herself in Tokyo, Japan and all she remembers is her name is Ai and that she is the princess of Ailand.

She meets Kent, a rocker, and he helps her discover her great singing talent. Ai gets a job where she puts her great body and vocal talent to good use! She gets into some scrapes where she's able to fight her way out and even grows wings at one point.

This book has very good drawings by manga-ka Misaho Kujiradou. The drawings in this book are better than the plot itself, but that just makes the manga even more enjoyable. All-in-all, I'd recomend this to anyone who is looking to see some great drawings or someone who likes fashion/romance mangas with a bit of sci-fi thrown in.
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