Monday, January 21, 2013

I tried to read Kilala Princess yesterday.

It's pretty bad.  Kilala Princess is a Tokyopop manga licensed by Disney about a girl named Kilala who is weirdly into Disney.  And this is coming from a Disney fan.  She's almost obnoxiously obsessed with it.  She has a Mickey Mouse patch sewn into her uniform, and when the teacher calls her on it the idiot acts like she doesn't realize the teacher is mad, because omg Mickey is so cool!  She sees a dude asleep and goes "I should kiss him, maybe he is a prince!"  She has a weird cartoon sidekick that the manga tries to pretend is a pet mouse, but seriously, that's not what mice look like.  You're not fooling me.  I've seen Mickey Mouse.

It doesn't even have gloves!

Also, her school has some weird princess fetish.  Part of the plot is how the school has a Princess Contest where one student gets to wear the super special school tiara, because what school doesn't have that?  And Kilala's best friend Erica is the favourite to win the Princess Contest and become the school princess, and I really don't think whoever wrote this knows how princesses work.  Like, at all.  Princesses are not just ladies who wear tiaras and pretty dresses, and princesses aren't chosen by elections and contests.  Unless the prize for a contest is to marry a prince, in which case, yeah, okay, maybe that would work.  But that's not how it's set up in the manga, so fuck all of you that's not how princesses happen.

The series was described as "Kingdom Hearts for girls," because apparently girls hated Kingdom Hearts.  It's about Kilala running around meeting Disney Princesses and hanging out with some dude who's looking for the "seventh princess" who is clearly Kilala but I guess we're not supposed to realize it even though she can make the magic "tiara" (which is not a tiara, it is a ridiculous tiny crown, and it looks almost as stupid as Twilight Sparkle's Element of Harmony tiara) do magic stuff in the very first chapter. The author clearly does not think much of the cognitive capabilities of the readers.

So I think what happens, is the plot is a half-hearted Kingdom Hearts ripoff where the main character has to go hang out with Disney characters because of reasons.  I'm saying I think, because I could not actually bring myself to read much past the first part, with Snow White.  It was just that irritating.  Apparently it was after the events of the movie, except Snow White was still hanging out in the dwarf cottage cleaning and cooking because...nostalgia, I guess?  And the evil Queen comes back to life, because magic!  And then she turns into her ugly form because...because she did that in the movie!  Who cares if she did it for a specific reason in the movie, in the manga she becomes an old hag in between panels just so she can be an ugly villain.  And she makes another poison apple to threaten Kilala with!  Except, it's not actually poison, it won't make her sleep or die or anything, oh no.  Instead, it will make her.....UGLY!  That's right, the evil Queen who tried to hire a woodsman to cut out her daugher's heart and then poison her, only wants to make the main character ugly here.  Except not "only" ugly, she described her ugly-making apple as so much worse than her sleeping-death apple, and then agrees to trade the magic tiara of magic in order to get Snow White to eat the apple.  Because being ugly is worse than death.  I know that Disney's always leaned on that mindset, but it's so jarring that they'd outright say it like that.  It's around here where I gave up on trying to read this.  It's just a really shitty story that relies on the popularity of Disney characters to make up for its lack of...well, lack of pretty much everything that makes a good story.  Kilala has no characterization other than her obsession with Disney, for example.  And the plot, from what I can tell, seems to be a bland shallow thing that only exists in order to throw Kilala into the worlds of random Disney Princesses, because they're the only reason anyone would read this crap.

Also, it looked really weird, with one character being your average shojo girl with generic anime characteristics, and the other being fucking Snow White.  Even considering that the anime-style shit was inspired by old Disney cartoons, it looks really odd juxtaposed like that in the story.  The Disney Princesses are all done in a fairly similar style to one another -- if you want to make a comic about a girl who meets them all, why can't you draw her in the style that would fit?  But I guess that would take more effort than just drawing another Shojo Magical Girl who looks the same as every other Shojo Magical Girl ever created, with a slightly different hairstyle.  Not different as in, it's unique and visually distinctive or anything, oh god no.  Just different as in, you can tell at a glance that she isn't Sailor Moon, and that's all you need.  I'm honestly not usually annoyed by anime and manga characters all following the same style, particularly when I realize that what I'm reading or watching is pretty deep into the established genres -- like Kilala's huge shiny eyes and disproportionately big head (which is part of why the ridiculously tiny crown-not-tiara looks so fucking stupid, it's a dinky little spike-circle perched on top of a giant balloon with eyes) are your average shojo-style.  I've seen character designs more original and not so fused to the genre styles, but I've also seen ones that are much worse.  Kilala is strictly average.  And the art's pretty good, actually.  I mean, it doesn't stand out as really amazing or anything, but compared to, say, the Labyrinth manga, it's fine.  But when it's right next to Disney's Princess  It doesn't look right.

Anyway.  This is getting long, so I should wrap it up: Kilala Princess is kind of shit, and you should not waste your time reading it unless you enjoy making fun of things that are kind of shit.  Which I actually enjoy a lot, but I still probably won't try to read this again unless I'm really, really bored.  So you should probably not waste your time with it.  Unless of course you're so obsessed with Disney Princesses that you'll mindlessly devour whatever cheaply made, overpriced merchandise Disney slaps a tiara on, in which case you are exactly the demographic this manga is aimed at.  So...good for you, I guess?  You can read it here and save your money for another Rapunzel colouring book or something.  Have fun.

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