Premiered in: Kilala Princess (2005-2008)
Written By: Rika Tanaka
Illustrated By: Nao Kodaka
To wrap up the unofficial Disney princesses, I present she who is likely the most unofficial one of the entire bunch, Kilala Reno of the manga series, Kilala Princess. The plot of the manga is about how Kilala is an avid fan of all things Disney, particularly the Disney Princesses and how she inadvertently crosses paths with a wayward prince and his quest to restore his kingdom by way of a Magic Tiara whose powers can only be unlocked upon the discovery of the “Seventh Princess.” The prince of the kingdom of Paradiso is a young lad by name of Rei whom initially has no memory of his royal status, only his quest to restore the gems upon the Magic Tiara and find she whom is destined to wear it and, by extension, become his wife though this is on the backburner considering how desperately he needs to save his kingdom from the likes of the “humanoids.”
The humanoids, contrary to their name, are in fact artificial beings that are equal parts robotic and magical and it was through the efforts of their leader, who happens to be Rei’s personal bodyguard, that they came into power and tried to turn Paradiso into their own domain. The only means of stopping them and restoring Paradiso to its former glory is by way of the Magic Tiara, a literal crown befitting a princess whose seven gems can together create a power to rival that of a certain Genie’s own magical might. Kilala and Rei end up finding/receiving these gems upon entering the worlds of certain Disney Princesses and help them complete their own respected stories whilst also going further in their own.
The Magic Tiara, aside from being able to open the doorway to these respected worlds, is also able to transform its wearer and those travelling with its wearer into a form suitable to the world they’re visiting. This is done primarily for Kilala when she happened upon the world of The Little Mermaid and she was transformed into a mermaid but was done once before when she and Rei both ended up as dwarves in the world of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Needless to say, I had quite the guffaw at that imagery let me tell you.
Kilala’s animal companion is named Tippe and is called a mouse but I sincerely doubt that’s what she actually is. For one thing, she shows a remarkable amount of intelligence and calm under pressure, and another… she’s pink. Like, fairy pink. Like, why is no one questioning the color of this freaking tuffy-tipped tailed abomination of utter adorableness? Seriously, I half expected the wee thing to start talking at some point or actually turning out to be the Rei’s long lost sister!
As I’ve said earlier, Kilala’s love interest, and eventual husband, is Rei of the kingdom of Paradiso. While I’m not certain as to Paradiso itself, aside you know the magical items of limitless power and a small and disgruntled population of artificial humanoids, Rei is… Rei is almost exactly like Kilala insomuch that the both of them are the most normal pair of teens I’ve ever seen in anything associated with Disney. That is to say, that I could honestly see a girl like Kilala acting like how she acts upon meeting the real life Disney Princesses, and how Rei would act being the atypical outsider who is aware of them but is not so fanciful about them as Kilala is. It is both incredibly refreshing and, dare I say, rather cute how their relationship progresses, especially considering how they first met.
The series itself is virtually, a more romantic and less adventurous/dark version of Kingdom Hearts. At least, that’s the vibe that I received when I read through the first volume at any rate. It’s certainly not a bad read and the illustrator, Nao Kodaka, earns top credit for being able to maintain a distinctive shoujo style to her and Rika Tanaka’s characters but also staying true to the art forms of the Disney Princesses and their multitude of friends and enemies.
More than any other unofficial Disney princess, I can wholeheartedly understand why Kilala would not be included amongst the Disney Princesses as the series itself did not progress far here in America despite its avid popularity both in and outside Japan. Sad as it is for me to say about a series that I thought incredibly well written and wonderfully, nay, spectacularly illustrated… It just didn’t have the same presence here in America as it did in Japan. In point of fact, if I hadn’t double-checked the list of princesses, I would have easily forgotten Kilala and her fantastical journey of self-discovery and love.