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Encounters: Princess Ai    by D. J. Milky & Courtney Love order for
by D. J. Milky
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Since its beginnings, Princess Ai has been one of Tokyopop's flagship titles. The alien princess rocker with wings first appeared in a three-volume manga created by graphic artist D. J. Milky and rocker Courtney Love. Since then, her image has leapt off the pages and onto calendars, dolls, and apparel. Soon, Tokyopop will be releasing a new Princess Ai manga series as well as a novel series. In the meantime, Princess Ai: Encounters should tide over Princess Ai fans – as well as fans of other Tokyopop artists.

Encounters features seven short manga penned by various Tokyopop artists, all inserting Princess Ai – or, in one case, her boyfriend Kent – into their own stories. Artists include Sang-Sun Park (The Tarot Café), Bettina Kurkoski (My Cat Loki), Christy Lijewski (Re:Play), Anthony Andora and Lincy Chan (Rhysmyth), Hanzo Steinbach (A Midnight Opera), Tina Young (Divalicious), and Steve Buccellato (Battle of the Bands). It is interesting to see how each artist interprets the alien princess rocker, and then to see how she interacts with their characters.

The seven stories are as varied as can be – from cute to mysterious to romantic to just plain laugh-out-loud funny. Even if Princess Ai fans are unfamiliar with each artist's work, they will be able to easily follow the stories in Encounters and maybe find a new favorite manga-ka.

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