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Princess Ai: Ultimate Edition    by Misaho Kujiradou, Courtney Love & D. J. Milky order for
Princess Ai
by Misaho Kujiradou
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

A couple of years ago, Tokyopop released the first book in a trilogy well on its way to becoming a hit franchise. This series, Princess Ai, has since spawned licensed clothing, dolls, posters, calendars, and even an MP3 CD. Now, Princess Ai fans or newbies to the phenomenon, can get all three manga books, Destitution, Lumination, and Evolution, in one volume, Princess Ai: Ultimate Edition.

Princess Ai is an amnesic princess who was sent to Earth to avoid her demise at the hands of her family's enemies. When Ai wakes up on Earth, she has no clue about her former life, and all she has with her is a locked box. A friendly musician, Kent, takes her in, and Ai discovers her talent for singing and songwriting. Soon, Ai's music career is on the rise, but as her memories come back, so do enemies who have tracked her to Earth to finish their task of killing her.

Misaho Kujiradou's beautiful illustrations are what make Princess Ai the niche phenomenon it has become. Her attention to detail is best noted on the chapter title pages and the full-page spreads and larger panels. At some points, the story, written by D. J. Milky but conceived by Courtney Love, can get a little muddled, but the artwork stays consistent throughout.

Fans of Princess Ai will not want to miss out on this omnibus collection of all three manga in the trilogy. While it does not contain any additional content above what's in the single releases, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and worth collecting.

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