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Princess Ai is a manga co-created by Courtney Love, Ai Yazawa, Misaho Kujiradou, and DJ Milky (a pen name for Stu Levy), and is published in English by Tokyopop.

The story deals with an amnesiac girl named Ai who was torn from her homeland, and awakens in present-day Tokyo. Remembering nothing of her life except her own name, the only clue she has to her identity is a heart-shaped box.

Plot summary

A young, amnesiac alien girl known only as Princess Ai is mysteriously transported to Tokyo, Japan. With only a heart-shaped box to clue her in on her past, Ai makes her living as a rock star at Club Cupid. She falls in love with a sensitive musician, Kent, to the chagrin of Kent's gay, possessive roommate, Hikaru. But Hikaru is the least of Ai's worries when gun-toting talent agents and demons seeking to take control of Ai's homeland, Ai Land, are hot on her trail.

Characters

Ai

The main character of the story. Ai is the product of a relationship between her Human father, King Sei, and a [dead]Dougen (Angel) female. Because of the war that rages between the Humans and the Dougen in Ai-Land, Ai's true parentage was kept a secret, even from Ai herself. Due to her mixed heritage, Ai sprouted wings on her back and has the ability to control people's emotions with her singing.

Kent

A young man who works at the Shinjuku University library part time. Kent was one of the first people to discover Ai after she appeared in Tokyo, and offered her a place to stay, an action which caused a lot of friction with his roommate Hikaru. Like Ai, he is of a mixed heritage, being half Japanese and half American, and uses this fact to help Ai come to grips with her dual heritage.

Hikaru

Kent's gay roommate. Hikaru has a huge crush on Kent and a hatred for Ai fueled by jealousy. Later on in the series, he makes peace with Ai and becomes one of her biggest supporters.

Fa'an

A street musician with strangely compelling lyrics who helps Ai discover her flair for singing. He has a knack for appearing and disappearing at just the right time. He watches out for Ai, and is associated with the fallen (Princess Ai : Prism of Mignight Dawn).

Nora

A leader of the revolutionaries in Ai-Land, this Angel wants equality—not superiority—over Humans...but not everyone shares his views. He got really close to Ai and sent her to Earth for her safety .

Kaz

Nora's radical cousin who believes that the Human royal family must be conquered at all costs. Much to Nora's dismay, Kaz dispatched Tess to capture Ai. But later on , he discovers the truth about Ai and understands Nora's point .

Tess

An angel, a witch, or a demon, depending on how you look at her, she's actually one of the Furies of Ai-Land sent to search out and drag Ai back to her planet. She later becomes Ai's body guard .

Meggi

The second Furie sister to be sent out to fetch Ai. She is devoted to Kaz and repelled by flowers.

Alexa

One of the Furie Sisters. She is Tess's sister, and Kaz's last hope to return Ai to Ai-land. It's suspected that she has a crush on Takeshi.

Kemo

One of the angels who helped with the second revolution, and is in league with Kaz. However, he now harbours a personal revenge against Ai, and is on the brink of insanity. (Princess Ai : Prism of Mignight Dawn)

Takeshi

Tough, tattooed, and tawdry, he's a VIP at the nightclub Club Cupid who just happens to work for H.T.A., the hottest talent agency in Japan.

Hayabusa

Takeshi's boss, the powerful president of H.T.A., who's allegedly connected with the Yakuza (the Japanese mob).

Jen

The one singer at Club Cupid who takes the time to befriend Ai. Later on in the story Jen dies getting Ai's necklace back from a robber.

Yoshi

Ai's personal assistant. He is sometimes mistaken for a very tall woman.

Mika

A rude woman at Club Cupid. Calls Ai trashy. Wants Takeshi to notice her own talent instead of Ai's.

Media

Manga

Co-created by Courtney Love and D.J. Milky, Princess Ai was written and illustrated by Misaho Kujiradou and featured character designs by Ai Yazawa. Princess Ai was published in three volumes from July 6, 2004 to February 7, 2006.[1] Tokyopop re-released the series in one volume, Princess Ai Ultimate Edition (ISBN 978-1-4278-0728-1), on October 9, 2007.[1][2] Madman Entertainment released Princess Ai in New Zealand and Australia.[3] The series is also licensed in Germany by Tokyopop Germany,[4] in France by Soleil Manga,[5] in Italy by J-Pop,[6] in Finland by Punainen jättiläinen,[7] and in Russia by Comix-art.[8]

The sequel, Princess Ai: The Prism of Midnight Dawn, is currently being published by Tokyopop, who has released two volumes as of January 2010.[1] It is also licensed in Germany by Tokyopop Germany,[9] in France by Soleil Manga,[10] and in Italy by J-Pop.[11]

Volume list

<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #FCC"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th>Title</th><th style="width: 24%;">North American release date</th><th style="width: 24%;">North American ISBN</th></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol01">01</td><td style="text-align: left;">Destitution</td><td>July 6, 2004[1]</td><td>ISBN 978-1-59182-669-9</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol02">02</td><td style="text-align: left;">Lumination</td><td>July 12, 2005[1]</td><td>ISBN 978-1-59182-670-5</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol03">03</td><td style="text-align: left;">Evolution</td><td>February 7, 2006[1]</td><td>ISBN 978-1-59182-671-2</td></tr> </table>
<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #FCC"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th style="width: 48%;">North American release date</th><th style="width: 48%;">North American ISBN</th></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol01">01</td></td><td> December 1, 2008[1]</td><td>ISBN 978-1-4278-1299-5</td></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol02">02</td></td><td> January 1, 2010[1]</td><td>ISBN 978-1-4278-1300-8</td></tr> </table>

Books

Multiple books based on Princess Ai have been published by Tokyopop. A 72-page art book, Princess Ai: Roses & Tattoos (ISBN 978-1-59816-747-4), which included poetry by D.J. Milky, was published on February 13, 2007.[1][12] On March 12, 2008, Princess Ai: Rumors From The Other Side (ISBN 978-1-4278-0822-6), a fan book which contained twelve short stories, was published.[1][13] Additionally, a colored comic strip collection, Princess Ai of Ai-Land: The Comic Strip Collection (ISBN 978-1-4278-1163-9), was published on July 8, 2008.[1][14] On September 1, 2008, Princess Ai: Encounters (ISBN 978-1-4278-1310-7) was released; it featured Princess Ai meeting characters from other Tokyopop manga.[1][15] Running Press also published a 128-page coloring book, Color Me Manga: Princess Ai (ISBN 978-0762431328), on November 12, 2007.[16]

Future books/products

A special edition of Prism of Midnight Dawn (The manga book and a dvd of the Princess Ai music and music videos) was made available on December 11, 2008.

Princess Ai Book 1: Comic Application for iPhone and iPod touch, is available from December 6, 2008.

FREE MANGA! [Princess Ai]: Comic Application for iPhone and iPod touch, is available from February 25, 2009.

A digital version of the manga has been released in Japan on the Nintendo WII via its WiiWare digital download service.

Production information

The Princess Ai manga is a loose adaptation of Courtney Love's life story, with Ai as Love's fantasy alter ego.[17] It should be noted that Ai means "love" in Japanese; thus, the name is a reference to both Courtney Love and Ai Yazawa, who drew the initial Princess Ai character design. It is also generally believed that Kent, the sensitive, blonde guitar player who becomes Ai's love interest, is based on Courtney Love's late husband, Kurt Cobain. Another connection to the real-life Love is Princess Ai's heart-shaped box, which figures prominently in the story. "Heart-Shaped Box" was a hit song by Nirvana, and was inspired by a heart-shaped box Courtney Love gave Cobain as a present.

Princess Ai is currently being adapted to be an animated film titled "Princess Ai ~Ai-land Chronicles~". It was described as "Totally new blend of live action and animation in Gothic Lolita fashion." A trailer was made for the manga by Satelight (Arjuna, Gene Shaft, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Heat Guy J), and is believed to be part of the new production.

There was a release of the single "Broken Leash" from volume 2 of Princess Ai. It was featured on Tokyo Pop's "ANIME TRAXX Volume 1" which can be downloaded in iTunes. A full album of Princess Ai, with new and old songs from the manga, has now been released via iTunes.

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 "Manga+Comics: Book Catalog". Tokyopop. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  2. "Manga+Comics: Princess Ai Ultimate Edition". Tokyopop. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  3. "Princess Ai (Manga)". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  4. "Bücher: Manga: Princess Ai" [Books: Manga: Princess Ai]. Tokyopop Germany. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  5. Script error
  6. Script error
  7. Script error
  8. "Принцесса Аи". Comix-art. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  9. "Bücher: Manga: Princess Ai-The Prism of Midnight Dawn" [Books: Manga: Princess Ai-The Prism of Midnight Dawn]. Tokyopop Germany. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  10. Script error
  11. Script error
  12. "Manga+Comics: Princess Ai: Roses & Tattoos". Tokyopop. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  13. "Manga+Comics: Princess Ai: Rumors From The Other Side". Tokyopop. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  14. "Manga+Comics: Princess Ai of Ai-Land: The Comic Strip Collection". Tokyopop. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  15. "Manga+Comics: Princess Ai: Encounters". Tokyopop. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  16. "Running Press Books". Running Press. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  17. "I have always loved the Japanese culture and the people. Princess Ai is a great character because she feels like my alter ego, but in a fantasy setting." -- Courtney Love

External links

fi:Princess Ai sv:Princess Ai tl:Princess Ai

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