Think about those words applied to a man, then a woman. For a woman to be “handsome” is perhaps not an insult, but when a woman is called “Manly” it almost assuredly is.
A man who is called feminine is probably not particularly thankful for that, and while pretty boys often get the girls, you don’t want your son being called “pretty” by the bully in school.
Sapphire is both pretty and handsome, and manly and feminine – but not at the same time and only at the exclusion of one or the other.
Sapphire’s boy heart makes her strong and confident, gives her hope and heart, but her girl heart makes her weak, hopeless and incapable.
Volume 2 of Princess Knight is less about imposed gender roles and assumptions than Volume 1 was, and yet is more problematic for those of us who want to see Sapphire the girl be the Prince we know she can be.
Aside from this nagging problem with this story – which is to say, the story – the rest of Volume 2, seems like a Boy’s Own Reader, with witches and demons and even Satan, Princes and Kings and Queens and pirates and a tournament.
The story ends (somewhat abruptly) with the reunion of Franz and Sapphire. I’m going to pretend that they will return to Silverland and find that Plastic has indeed declared Sapphire the true ruler, and that Franz is supportive and he and Sapphire co-rule over Goldland and Silverland and usher in a new age of equality…which is the exact opposite of the ending Tezuka implies here, but I don’t care, he’s dead and I’m not. ^_^
Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 1, if you pretend that Friebe might have come around after time
Service – 1, on principle only
Overall – 7
Oh Friebe. You are both a knight and a woman and there is no nonsense about girl hearts and boy hearts with you. Why do people do not love you more?