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Review: Princess Ai
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 star singer, has tons of adoring fans, and sprouts wings!
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.
The secret of Ai's origin is one that unfolds so well in the books, that I wouldn’t dare spill it. 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 elaborate 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.
Though I am a Princess Ai fan, there are several items I do not own yet.
Princess Ai: Rumors From The Other Side. The art is said to be fan art and the stories are from American authors.
Princess Ai Color Me Manga Coloring book
Princess Ai “Ultimate Edition”, which includes all three Ai books in one volume.
Princess Ai of Ai-land: The comic strip collection by DJ Milky
Princess Ai: Encounters which has Ai mingling with other Tokyo Pop stars such as Ein from Midnight Opera, Pam from Tarot Café, and the cast of Rhysmyth.
Brand new Princess Ai books are coming. The first one was released in Dec 2008 and is titled: 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. It’s hard to tell if this will be as good without Courtney’s input, but we shall see. I look forward to cracking it open and letting the dashPunk community know.
Princess Ai successfully combines a love of art, music, and fashion into a series that will have you occupied for hours. You can find these items at Amazon.com