Princess Ai is the first manga I have read from a non-Japanese author. Its “written” by Courtney Love, the lead singer of grunge Band Hole and the illustration is done by Ai Yazawa. The manga was created during a time when western comic book companies like DC and Marvel were trying to capitalize on the growing popularity of manga and anime.
The story focuses on Princess Ai, a young amnesiac girl who wakes up in Tokyo from Ai Land, a war torn planet. The word Ai in Japanese means love something you’ll see as a symbol throughout the story. The only clue to her past she has now is a heart shaped box. Anybody who touches the box can either be drugged if their are angels, but if a human touches it he/she will die in an instant. Princess Ai She meets a kind part time library worker and aspiring guitarist Kent, who allows her to stay at his place. She lands a job at Club Angel as a singer and her singing has the power to control the emotions of others depending on the songs she sings. All of the sudden out of nowhere both angels and humans want ruin her life.
Princess Ai is more of a reflection of what would Courtney Love would see herself as instead of a separate person. Shes very ditzy and oblivious to things that happens to her. Everyone automatically loves her and she has natural talent instead of learning as time goes by. She can also be really stubborn and behaves terribly when she doesn’t get what she wants right away. At times, she can also be something of a pushover who cannot stand up to herself be it from malicious angels, manipulative talent agents. She seems incapable of making an independent decision. Anybody who hates her like the strippers are really just haters and this could be seen as a reference towards what Courtney Love thinks of people who have no interest in her music.
Kent another character, is eerily similar to Kurt Cobain, the late husband of Courtney Love, and he looks a lot like him as well. There is also a pointless love triangle. Ai is in love with both Kent and Nora, the leader of the revolutionaries in Ai Land. Hikaru, Kent’s roommate is in love with Kent now both share a good friendship with one another but Kent doesn’t have any romantic attraction towards Hikaru. Hikaru doesn’t like Ai other for the reason that Ai likes Kent and is he has a pointless vendetta against her. He can be really campy at times too.
The best I can say is the art style is this weird mix of gothic Lolita, science fiction and what Tokyo looked like in the mid 2000s. The character designs while good, were really just carbon copies of characters in already established media.
It’s a fairly short book you can complete in about a day or two. The pacing of the story was fast and not too easy to understand, because of the brevity of the manga. Its really just a generic,self absorbed and one of the worst manga I have read.
It gets 1 star out of 5.
This is really just a self-advertisement for Courtney Love and nothing else. I can’t really recommend this manga because it’s really nothing more than Ai Yazawa being the true writer of the story and Courtney Love just using Manga as a way to get herself into the public eye.
The only silver lining I can say is that Ai Yazawa is slowly but surely recovering from her illness and she does intend to finish Nana so you are better off buying any Ai Yazawa created manga and anime instead of this.