Sapphire: Princess Knight to Revive Tezuka's 1st Shōjo Work
posted on 2008-03-02 16:26 EST by Egan Loo
Anime scriptwriter Natsuko Takahashi (Gakuen Heaven, Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture) and manga artist Pink Hanamori (Pichi Pichi Pitch, YumeYume*YouYou) will launch the Sapphire: Ribbon no Kishi (Sapphire: Ribbon Knight or Sapphire: Princess Knight) manga in the May issue (on sale on April 3) of Kodansha's Nakayoshi shōjo magazine in Japan. The announcement was made in the current April issue, which was released on Sunday. The new work revives Princess Knight (Ribbon no Kishi), the 1953-1956 classic by manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka (Mighty Atom/Astro Boy, Jungle Emperor/Kimba the White Lion, Metropolis, Phoenix, Black Jack). Princess Knight and Toshiko Ueda's Boku-chan (1951) are considered among the first shōjo manga in history.
The original Princess Knight manga centers on Sapphire, a princess who has been disguised as a boy since birth to protect the throne. She goes on various adventures to fight evildoers under yet another different guise, the "Ribbon Knight." She falls in love with Prince Franz, who unfortunately see her as three different people: as "Prince" Sapphire, and as the "Ribbon Knight," as "Prince" Sapphire's mysterious "sister" (La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin or The Girl with the Flaxen Hair). Nakayoshi's next-issue preview proclaims that "the historical super manga makes a comeback in Nakayoshi! The romance of Sapphire and Franz that even your mothers cherished begins now!"
North America's Viz Media published an installment of Tezuka's original 1953-56 Princess Knight manga to mark Shojo Beat magazine's second anniversary last July. In Japan, Tezuka created a 1958 Twin Knight sequel that follows the story's next generation. Nakayoshi then published Tezuka's second run of the Princess Knight manga from 1963 to 1966. Kodansha later published six Japanese/English volumes of this second run.
Mushi Productions' 1967-1968 television animated version of Princess Knight was adapted into English as Choppy and the Princess, and it has been released sporadically over the past four decades in the United States. This anime is much better known in other countries as it has been translated in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, and Portuguese. A 1994 theatrical movie was also created in Japan. Del Rey Manga publishes Hanamori's Pichi Pichi Pitch manga in North America.