on November 14, 2011
Newcomers to the 'manga' style of comic art as well as longtime fans will find Osamu Tezuka's groundbreaking work engaging and fun. The tone and story style of Princess Knight is deceptively simple, so when the plot takes a more weighty turn, (as when certain characters die,) or the message becomes sublime (female empowerment yes, but also matters of unresolved gender identity,) it comes as a welcome surprise. Of Tezuka's legendary work (Astro Boy, Black Jack, Kimba the White Lion, etc,) Princess Knight is one of the more under-recognized in English-speaking countries, and it's refreshing to see it made available again in this handsome squarebound paperback. Get one before the collector's market gobbles it up!
on November 10, 2011
At long last, Tezuka Osamu's classic shoujo series, Ribon no Kishi (The Ribbon Knight) -- published as Princess Knight in America -- is published in English! This series is considered the first shoujo manga, as well as the first of the "magical girl" genre.
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.
Like others have said, this book is particularly amazing in how it portrayed women. Depictions of women in the 1950s were predominantly "women are weaker than men, they should stay at home and care for the children" and Japan was no exception to this. For a manga to dare to say that a woman not only could do actions typically associated with men, but that she SHOULD do them... well, it's pretty daring and that's part of the reason I love Tezuka so much- he's not afraid to take chances when it comes to political and social messages. After all, BlackJack is full of them.
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.
on April 25, 2015
I just love vintage manga like these. I grew up on watching Kimba the White Lion and this brought back my memories from those days. Even though the stories are totally different. It's an adorable read and often times you feel sorry for the characters who's always running out of luck. It's not your typical story and I find it to be a gem of a read. The unexpected always happens when you start exploring Tezuka's world. I finished reading in a day, but that's to be expected when it comes to a good book. This first volume is going straight on shelf of honor.
on April 3, 2016
Princess Knight is a lovely tale about a princess who was accidentally given both a "boy heart" and "girl heart" due to a playful angel's antics! Not only that, she was accidentally announced as being a prince instead of a princess, so she must keep her secret and maintain a farce as Prince Sapphire! It's a funny and sweet tale filled with suspense and gorgeous vintage art that is perfect for any fan of shoujo! Or if your aesthetic is vintage shoujo~ Although, I must warn anyone who is passionate about feminism, it does center around adhering to old gender roles and can be interpreted as "cissexist" if you choose to read that much into it. Keep in mind, though, it was written in a time when people weren't as aware of those issues as they are today. All that aside, the story is nice and easy to follow (a bit past paced and filled with ass-pulls, but I'll let it slide), the cover is simplistic and pretty and it's such a thick book, really worth the price.
on December 31, 2011
Not enough people give Tezuka the credit he deserves. On the surface Princess Knight looks like a girly comic that might not be too exciting, but the duality of Sapphire's character appeals to both girls and boys.
Right from the beginning Tezuka with draw you in with his interesting and almost risqué subjects and have you guessing and wondering all the way to the end with his unorthodox pacing and storytelling. This is a book I would suggest to anyone.
on February 22, 2012
If you're a person who loved watching Disney princess movies as a child, then you will love Osamu Tezuka's Princess Knight.
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
on November 20, 2014
I bought a copy of Princess Knight (both volumes) from a local book store a few months ago at the recommendation of a friend. I only regret that I didn't buy it sooner, because it's just magnificent! It has everything a good fairy tale needs--adventure, pirates, devils, greedy villains, knights, and romance. It also inspired heroines in future series such as Rose of Versailles and Utena, so if you're a fan of either series, it would be worth giving this book a look in!
The story follows Prince Sapphire through several trials and adventures, starting with her birth. Through a mischievous angel's prank, she is born with both the heart of a boy and the heart of a girl; through an outdated law of Silverland, she is forced to pretend to be a boy in order maintain the throne and protect her kingdom. The results of both situations lead to numerous plots and plans to unveil her true identity by Duke Duralumin, as well as a secret romance with Prince Franz from the neighbouring kingdom of Goldland.
I won't spoil the story for you, but I will say that it's peppered with inspiration from fairytales, Shakespeare, and contemporary fiction of its time. There's also a good dose of fourth-wall breaking, to add to the occasional slapstick panels. I definitely recommend this one.
on December 23, 2013
I now know why Tezuka is considered the godfather of manga. As I become more acquainted with his work I find myself actually falling in love with manga for the first time. I now know for a fact that, not only do Japanese comics boast a tremendously significant tradition, but that by the time East fully meets West, the world MUST redefine it's understanding of comics forever
on December 27, 2012
This manga is amazing and every one should read I love almost everything Tezuka has done that i can legitimately get my hands on. I had been wanting to read this for years. I purchased both volumes and have shared it with my Nieces and Nephews. it's good for both boys and girls so good! Good for all age ranges!!!