LGBTQ Comic: Princess Princess Ever After

May 12th, 2017

There is a (probably apocryphal) story about the late Joseph Campbell, when teaching a class about his now-classic Hero’s Journey Monomyth. The story says that at the end of a lecture on the Arthurian quest legends about the Holy Grail, one of his students asked why there were no roles in the legends with which women could identify. Campbell was puzzled and pointed out that women are present as the hero’s mother, the hero’s queen, and the damsel-in-distress. “What more do you want?” he asked. “I want to be the hero.” the student replied.”

I recall that it was Bill Moyers telling that story, but itw as also a long time ago and I could be so very wrong. But the story itself, when I heard it had me nodding like a melodramatic bobble head. Of course, you stupid-smart old man. OF COURSE we want to be the hero. How and why this confused Campbell and still confuses an awful lot of men is the history of western civilization and beyond the scope of this blog. But, what is dead-center in this blog’s wheelhouse is a story that does not need to be convinced of this simple truth. Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill is a lifetime’s worth of itch-scratching and fantasy fulfillment suitable for the youngest or oldest child you know.

Princess Amira cuts a fine figure in uniform, with her fabulous hair, riding on her unicorn mount, Celeste. And when she encounters Sadie, a princess who has been imprisoned in a tall tower, she’s sure that’s she’s found both the perfect monumental adventure, and princess, for her. But first, she has to convince Sadie to be rescued. And then both Sadie and Armina must work together to face challenges and ogres and traumatic pasts. But since they do it together, you just know they’ll triumph in the end.

Although my childhood self might have scoffed at the simplicity of the tale here (she was prone to reading the story of Marco Polo, tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur in overblown faux-medieval prose) she would definitely, positively appreciated Armina’s uniform, her unicorn and her love for Sadie.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Fun and comic strip-y
Characters – 9 Ogres and unicorns and dragons and princesses. I’m all in.
Story – 9 Ichijinsha needs to read this, then take another crack at Yuri Light Novels. See? It’s easy!
Yuri – 9 and utterly adorable
Service – Nope. Well, there’s Armina in a uniform….

Overall – 9

Do the adventurous girl children you know a favor and buy them an early holiday present. Heck, buy them a not-holiday present. And get a copy of Princess Princess Ever After for yourself, so you can dream of dancing with ogres and facing bullies down and give ole misogynist Joseph Campbell the finger. ^_^

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10 Responses

  1. Jen yoko says:

    I LOVED this comic! I was actually going to email you about it months ago. I related so much to the characters that I’m so glad you reviewed it. It was heart warming.

  2. Grisznak says:

    Sounds ten time better than another load of the high school dramas made in Japan.

  3. Pellicano says:

    About girls wanting to be allowed to be the hero.

    When I was younger, I loved all things medieval and/or fantasy; knights, magic and dragons and such. So I read a lot of historical and fantasy books and I used to larp.

    Because it’s hard to make a proper historical larp (to get everyone in authentic props) larps set in fantasy worlds were the most common. But because I’m female, my character’s motivations were nearly always “Try to flirt with the guy you like so he’ll propose you” or “Try to arrange marriages for your daugters” or “Gossip with the other ladies.”

    It infuriated me that male larpers always got much more complicated and interesting plots. They were kings in charge of their kingdoms or assassins tracking down their targets or wizards talking with gods and everything else that I, as a woman, wasn’t allowed to be. If the larps had been in a historical setting, I might not have been as annoyed, but they were fantasy. You get to build your very own world, use your imagination freely, and yet, every gamemaster decided to “re-invent” sexism and strict gender roles.

    When I ranted about this to my fellow larpers, they explained that it’s easier to just copy the norms from human history, it would be too much work for the players to learn about a made up culture where men and women don’t have their usual roles. I think that’s a poor excuse. If your world is already filled with magic and you have to learn the new names of kingdoms and rulers, how much harder is it to wrap your head around the idea of “women can be rulers and warriors too.”

    I remember once when there was a larp set in a dance ball and they didn’t have enough male players, so they asked me and my friends to play male characters. It felt so good to finally have power. I could ask the ladies to dance instead of standing around and waiting to be asked. I could propose the girl I liked instead of hoping my beloved to ask me. Even though my father disapproved my choice, he had no power to break our marriage, because as a male I didn’t need my parents approval to be allowed to marry. Also, I love pretty dresses but damn it was refreshing to be able to wear pants.

    I’m sorry I turned this into a rant about needless sexism in fantasy. It just infuriates me when I read a fantasy story that re-invents dumb gender roles because, as a work of pure fantasy, it doesn’t need to. So I’m very excited about this comic and hope it’s a start of a new trend.

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