Sailor Moon may be the most famous Magical Girl series, but Princess Knight actually preceded it and established many familiar trends of the genre. Princess Knight features a gender-neutral hero, Sapphire, who challenges traditional gender roles while still conforming to them, making it a notably open-minded series for its time. that point. The Princess Knight’s transformation concept and a fantasy-themed warrior with a secret identity became the central premise of the later Magical Girl series, making it a major influence on the genre.
Sailor Moon is one of the most popular series of all time and perhaps the most famous and influential Magical Girl series of recent times, but Sailor Moon did not invent the concept of the Magical Girl . The Magical Girl genre as a whole is much older than fans might think, and The first Magical Girl series was way ahead of its time. This is largely thanks to the creativity of famous mangaka Osamu Tezuka, who is remembered by fans as the Father of Manga.
While Astro Boy is Tezuka’s most famous work outside of Japan, his other works also had a major influence on the industry. Particularly notable is the Princess Knight series, first published as a manga in 1953 and adapted into an anime in 1967, which was dubbed and broadcast in many English-speaking countries during the 1970s. Go predating other iconic series by decades, Princess Knight is considered a major early influence on the later Magical Girl genre.
The Princess Knight set many familiar magical girl trends
Created by Mushi Production, based on the original manga by Osamu Tezuka
The world of Princess Knight feels quite similar to Disney in both art and concept. Fittingly, Disney cartoons of the period were a major influence on Tezuka. The series operates with a strange fairy tale-like logic, a story element that later Magical Girl series like Sailor Moon never really abandoned. Children are given hearts by angels and the main character, Princess Sapphire, is accidentally given both a boy’s blue heart and a girl’s pink heart – translated as “red” in the dub. English of anime – heart by a novice angel. Paradoxically, this means that Sapphire simultaneously adheres to traditional gender roles while also challenging those same traditional stereotypes. On the one hand, Sapphire was raised as a boy due to laws in the setting that prevented girls from inheriting the throne, and she is completely comfortable in a masculine role. On the other hand, as depicted in the series, the influence of pink and blue hearts influences limiting philosophies surrounding gender.
At various points in the series, Sapphire loses one of her two hearts. Under the influence of the feminine pink heart, she became timid and had almost no fighting ability. Under the influence of the masculine green heart, she became completely disgusted with all female interests. However, Sapphire is portrayed as an essentially heroic and sympathetic character, the law banning girls from inheriting the kingdom’s throne is mocked as ridiculous by every character except the villains, and Sapphire is never portrayed as wrong as a character. Want to live in a masculine role, or keep both a pink heart and a blue heart. It’s an incredibly open premise for a series that originated in the ’50s, even if it’s ultimately a product of the prevailing attitudes of the period.
Princess Knight’s concept of a gender-neutral hero would influence later anime characters such as Sailor Uranus and the main character Revolutionary Girl Utena. Princess Knight will also influence the future of the Magical Girl genre. Sapphire wasn’t necessarily the first anime protagonist to be a magical girl, but Princess Knight truly innovated the concept of transformation and a fantasy-themed warrior with a secret identity became central premise of the later Magical Girl series.
Osamu Tezuka is one of the most influential mangakas of all time. His works like Astro Boy and Princess Knight were groundbreaking in many ways, and Princess Knight was a major influence on later iconic series like Sailor Moon. As one of the earliest Magical Girl series, Tezuka is obviously Princess Knight was ahead of her time.