Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Manga master Osamu Tezuka was one of the early pioneers of what would evolve into the modern day Manga. His early works (influenced heavily by Disney with its cute characters, tone and design) nonetheless introduced several important and ground-breaking concepts.
In Vertical’s first volume of Tezuka’s Princess Knight several elements are introduced. In the story a child is given two hearts (one male, one female) by a mischievous angel. Since the young princess Sapphire has the tendencies of both male and female she grows up in the royal court a beautiful young woman with swashbuckling tendencies. She is an excellent warrior, swordsman and is completely fearless.
Her male tendencies are encouraged as only a male can inherit the throne thus the title Princess Knight. Although proficient in ‘manly’ pursuits, the young girl is still completely feminine and soon she has a suitor: Prince Charming.
Raised as a prince, Sapphire at first shuns her female tendencies but after a series of outrageous adventures filled with danger, incredible escapes, fights and magic the gender-bending princess comes to accept her unusual situation and becomes the prototype for the strong-willed and capable female characters seen in Shojo Manga designed specifically for girls.
Princess Knight is a great vehicle to transport you back in time to the early days of Manga and the genesis of an art form which influence is felt all around the world.