Manga-ka: Nao Kodaka
Writer: Rika Tanaka
Released: January 2007
Synopsis: “When Kilala awakens a sleeping prince named Rei, she magically gains the power of the princesses! But her friend Erica is kidnapped, so she and Rei must set off on a quest to rescue her!”
Clearly coasting comfortably on the tidal wave that is the Kingdom Hearts franchise, Kilala Princess takes a stereotypical, manga main character and plops her into multiple worlds where she meets up with Disney characters, princesses in particular playing the most important of roles, all in the hope of finding her friend, lost somewhere in the clutches of an evil group. Hmmm… sounds a bit familiar. However, the manga so far never tries to be anything it isn’t claiming to be. What you see on the cover is exactly what you’ll get, a painfully cute, simple (but surprisingly charming) story about a child who just wants to live every girl’s dream and become a princess. Oh and don’t forget prince charming.
The art is clean, solid and very pretty. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was a bit surprised with it. Everything is simple and easy to follow, aimed at a younger audience. Much like the Kingdom Hearts manga adaptation, the pace of this manga is very fast, hopping from event to event, leaving explanations and general laws of physics in its dust. It certainly tailors well to those with short attention spans. This along with the fact the volume itself is only a fraction of the size of an average graphic novel, it may not look like much, but when you’re finished you may actually feel as though you’ve read an entire graphic novel’s worth. Still be happy that Tokyopop is intelligent enough not to expect people to pay full price for something so small. It’s about four dollars cheaper than their usual books.
Overall, this isn’t something that will appeal to everyone, this simple fact is evident merely by glancing at the cover. The story and characters are shallow and stereotypical and the plot just the same. It feels like a Mary-sue fan fiction with really good art. However… I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t amazing or fantastic or anything new but it was cute, it was quirky and, as I said at the beginning, it is exactly what it looks like it’ll be so there’s no false advertising here. What you see is what you get and, hey, maybe that isn’t all too bad. As only volume one has been released so far, I’m curious to see how this story progresses. I hope it’s ready to be compared to Kingdom Hearts at every turn (being based off of it though, we assume so). It’s kind of like having a close friend for years and then meeting his little sister no one talks about, and damn is she cute.