Princess Ai — You Better Like It or Else!

Princess Ai — You Better Like It or Else!

Princess Ai Volume 2No offense to the creators of original English language (OEL) “manga,” but I’m not a fan of the genre. I think in part it is the attempt on the part of American companies to expand manga from comics created in Japan to anything that looks similar in style to comics made in Japan (even if the comic were made in America). Whatever. Just call the American version “comics” and be done with it.

Anyway, one dopey OEL title produced by TokyoPop is known as Princess Ai. This OEL title is created by Courtney Love (rock singer who married Kurt Cobain of Nirvana), Ai Yazawa (mangaka and creator of the very popular Nana manga), Misaho Kujiradou (another mangaka/artist), and DJ Milky (pseudonym for Stu Levy, founder of TokyoPop). The title went for three volumes and reportedly is loosely based on Courtney Love’s life (“Ai” being a Japanese word for “love”). It sold some copies to be sure and certainly has a small following.

So, why mention this?

Well, TokyoPop has decided that this goth OEL “manga” needs lots and lots more stuff out there for you to buy (try not to barf when you read the press release). So, we now have Princess Ai of Ai-Land for the comic strip section of your local newspaper (already, I hear the weeping of cartoonist who work so hard to try to break into the comic strip pages). It’s not in my local paper, but nor is it in my state’s biggest newspaper. If it does show up, I suspect it won’t hang around long unless some sweetheart deal is established to ensure its survival on the comic strip page.

However, TP doesn’t stop there. A five-volume novel collection known as The Ai-Land Chronicles: Book of the Second Revolution is coming. And keeping with the book theme, Princess Ai: Roses & Tattoos is all about Stu’s poetry and the art of the manga. Hold the iku moment until the end, please.

Ah, but we know that books aren’t enough. You need something for your ears. How about some tunes? The Princess Ai Soundtrack is just for you! Stu (as DJ Milky…ugh) has the dope tracks laid down for ya’ll, yo! Rock on!

However, we know this isn’t enough. So we have the live-action/anime mix movie known as The Ai-Land Chronicles. Stu will direct this movie because DJ Milky-milk can’t be stopped! You may iku now.

Personally, Stu and TokyoPop can do what they want. However, I find it mildly annoying that TokyoPop can put so much effort into this OEL title and trying to make it seem hotter than it actually is, but when it came to promoting (and getting right) something like the Slayers novels, all I ever heard were crickets. Its like they are trying to force this product down everyone’s throat, saturate the area with hype, and hope that no one notices until they’ve cashed the checks. Yes, Princess Ai, if successful, will be more profitable to TP, but if you are going to license a title like the Slayers novels, get off your butts and promote it (and don’t tone the translation down for a younger audience).

I’m sure some goth and rocker types will buy into this Princess Ai thing, but I expect that no matter how much money TokyoPop throws on false hype (as seen in that press release), this thing will end up being a failure. It will be interesting to watch how this goes.

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3 Responses to “Princess Ai — You Better Like It or Else!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice. Glad to see I’m not the only one sick of Milky’s / Levy’s little games. I’m not against these American books being published by Tokyopop, I just hate them being called ‘manga’. Even moreso than just ‘comics’, I suggest these are best described as ‘graphic novels.’ (I think comic legend Will Eisner coined the term back in the day.)

    Here’s my own rant about DJ Milky on my blog.


  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    And a good rant it is too, sir. Great minds think alike. ^_~

  3. […] want them anywhere around me. I might catch some dread disease that makes me actually believe Princess Ai is a really good […]

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