License Request Day: Princess Knight

May 22, 2009

PK1With her new job as tourism ambassador for Takarazuka, Japan, it seems like as good a time as any to call for English release of the adventures of Osamu Tezuka’s Princess Knight. The series is described by Frederik L. Schodt in Dreamland Japan as “the progenitor of the modern girls’ manga format,” a “sweet story with romance and adventure and a hodgepodge of elements from medieval pageantry, Christianity, and Greek mythology.”

It’s about a girl, Sapphire, who must pretend to be a boy so that she can inherit the throne of her kingdom, lest it fall into the wrong hands. Born with two hearts – a boy’s and a girl’s – she adopts a secret identity to fight crime. Kodansha published a bilingual edition of the three-volume series that’s out now out of print. (I could only find one volume listed on Amazon, used, and it starts at $48.) And Viz published a short sample in an issue of Shojo Beat, but it feels like something that should be readily available in English.

Here are some reasons why:

  • It sounds really delightful.
  • It’s only three volumes long.
  • It’s Tezuka. More Tezuka is always better.
  • It’s Tezuka doing shôjo and paving the way for complete reinvention in the process.
  • Now, don’t get me wrong. I want classic shôjo by Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, Riyoko Ikeda and other legendary creators just as much, if not more. But Princess Knight seems like such an important building block.

    It’s available in French from Soleil.