Princess Prince Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Release Date: Friday, February 01, 2002
Translated by:Julia Rose
What They Say
And Angel's Prophecy. Mourning the loss of his beloved wife, acting on a prophecy handed to him by an angel, the King of Gemstone decides to raise one of his twin songs as a girl.
Will Princess Lori ever get to be Prince lawrence? Will he ever find true love? Created by the master of shoujo romance comics, Tomoko Taniguchi.
In Tomoko Taniguchi's enjoyable mixture of romantic comedy and fantasy, Lawrence and Matthew are twin boys born to the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Gemstone. When the Queen dies in childbirth, the king in his grief decides to raise one of the boys as a girl to honor his dead wife. Prince Lawrence becomes Princess Lori. Fifteen years later, this becomes a problem. Both children have become quite beautiful and popular with the opposite sex. Matthew, a bit of a narcissist himself, teases Lori over her many suitors. The problem for Lori, besides the obvious, is that he's in love with Jenny Nelson, a young girl in his circle of friends who's unaware that Lori is anything other than a Princess. Complicating matters further is Brandon Walsh, the handsome if none too bright Prince of Bandits. He's convinced that both Lori and Matthew are so beautiful, they must both be girls. He falls in love with Matthew, believing him to be a girl. A tiny angel named Emma arrives to help Lawrence. She's the daughter of an Angel that appeared to the King after his wife died, and gave him a prophesy of happiness for the kingdom if one of the children was raised as a girl.
The book is made of several mostly unconnected chapters following the adventures of Lawrence/Lori, Matthew, Jenny and Brandon. Not all the stories are specifically about them, though. A highlight of the book is a two part story about a beautiful black girl that Matthew falls in love with. The issue of racism and intolerance is faced head on, without resorting to a cheap or easy conclusion. Some stories don't involve the Kingdom of Gemstone at all. The final chapter sees Brandon find true love, though not with who you think.
Tomoko Taniguchi's stories of fantasy, comedy and romance blend together into a delightful whole. Her style is light and airy. The arrangement of the story on the page is almost panelless, with the scenes organically flowing about the page. Surprisingly, what sounds like chaos works beautifully. Her almost sketchbook style art works especially well in the more humorous parts of the story. The expressions on the faces of characters are enough to make you laugh out loud. These stories were originally published by Taniguchi in 1994, and in English in the monthly comic format by CPM in the late '90s. This collection retains the right to left orientation and Americanized names of the characters from the monthly releases. Princess Prince has no real conclusion. We never learn what the prophesy was about, or if Lawrence ever confesses his love to Jenny. Despite that, at 336 pages and taking into account it's printed in a much larger size than is customary these day, the $16 cover price is well justified.
Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: All
Released By: CPM Press
Orientation: Left to Right