Princess Knight was always a series I desperately wanted to read. After all it inspired so many creators and I’d heard its name when discussing things like The Rose of Versailles and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Vertical re-released it in English just this past year and so I was finally able to see for myself the influence. I realize now after reading it, that I had no idea what to expect from it; tt was unlike anything I had conjured up in my mind. The only thing I had consistently heard was it’s the story of a girl with the heart of a boy and through my own assumptions I figured she wanted to be that boy when really she just wants to be the typical princess. Does it take on gender politics, definitely, but does it do so in the ways I thought it would, not as much. It being, what I concluded to be, a satire of the fairytale genre was a surprise.
Princess Knight has gained this almost mystical reputation as this prototypical shojo manga. For a time it was even incorrectly labeled at the first shojo manga by American fans. It did not help that one of the few ways to read the manga was buying the very out of print and insanely expensive Kodansha bilingual manga release. This all led to Princess Knight gaining a legendary status as if was often referenced by other works but was almost impossible for the average fan to get their hands on. So much of the series reputation came on what people thought it was more than what it actually was. In a way I think most fans saw the works that were inspired by Princess Knight and extrapolated what they thought it would be. And so the actual gender politics are far less progressive and the themes far less complex than some of fandom might have imagined.