Princess Ai is a girl with a slammin’ body who finds herself lost on the streets of Tokyo. Her clothes are in shambles and all she has as a clue to who she is and where she came from is a heart shaped box. The scantily-clad bombshell meets a young innocent student named Kent who attempts from that day forward to help and protect her. Ai soon becomes a singing star, has tons of adoring fans, and sprouts wings! The secret of Ai’s origin is one that unfolds so well in the books, that I wouldn’t dare spill it.
If any of you know anything about Courtney Love or her late husband Kurt Cobain, you can surely see the connection between them and the story. Ai means “love” in Japanese and it is said that Ai is loosely based on Love’s life story. Her heart-shaped box, which is prominent in the story, was a hit song by Nirvana and referred to a present Courtney gave Kurt.
It is interesting to see the evolution of fashion in these musically inspired books. The first volume starts with simple shredded outfits and ends with an almost Playboy Halloween costume Lolita dress.
Volume two adds some cosplay elements and ends with an even more Bo Peep-ish Lolita dress. There is also a vampire-like adversary who is dressed like a succubus vixen, reminiscent of Morrigan Aensland from Darkstalkers. Volume three brings in a lot of Victorian elements as well as kingdom and Edwardian styles. The art in all of the books is the kind that you can stare at for hours, whether you are inspecting AI’s costumes for inspiration, or her body for pleasure.
Special features in the books include:
Volume 2: An article about the making of the Princess Ai dolls.
Volume 3: Ai paperdolls, an afterward by DJ Milky, and a cosplay Ai look a-like-contest review with pictures of the fans.
For those hard core Ai fans, you might want to invest in the Princess Ai Roses & Tattoos art/poetry book. This book does not have any more story in it, but it does have plastic sleeves with 16 full color pin-up pictures of AI. Each pin-up has poetry on the back. There are also 12 pages of AI stickers that you will never want to use because they are just so cool.
I also own these other volumes:
- Princess Ai: Rumors From The Other Side, which is a fan art manga with different stories drawn by really good fan artists. The art ranges from traditional manga, to some that looks like Archie cartoons, to comic book vixen style.
- Princess Ai Color Me Manga Coloring book, which contains about 60 one sided coloring sheets of Ai and Kent.
- Princess Ai The Prism of Midnight Dawn, Volume 1 by Christine Boylan & D.J. Milky. This is the first of the trilogy and my copy came with a music CD of Ai songs, though I am not sure all copies do. I found it enjoyable, but not as good as the first series.
Princess Ai successfully combines a love of art, music, and fashion into a series that will have you occupied for hours. Happy reading!