Princess Princess, Vol. 1-2
written by Mikiyo Tsuda
After transferring to a new school, Kouno gets an interesting “job.” This prestigious school has only male students in attendance, and the pupils start missing female company. However, instead of making it a coed school, they come up with a different idea.
The prettiest boys at the school are chosen to be “princesses,” in which they dress up in women’s clothing and charm the other students. They aren’t cross-dressing 24/7, but they are in dresses a fair amount, and their outfits go for the frilly and flamboyant.
When Kouno gets to the school, there are already two princesses and the other boys can’t stop ogling Kouno’s pretty looks. At first he doesn’t like the idea of being a princess, until all the benefits are rolled out in front of him. Not only will his food and school supplies be taken care of, but he’ll also be paid to be a princess. After learning this, he jumps onboard. As for the two other princesses, one is fine with his task and goes about it gallantly, and the other resents what he’s up to. Kouno is somewhere in the middle: he’s not upset about it, but he doesn’t milk it for all it’s worth.
Princess Princess is very much a fanservice read. It doesn’t try to be realistic. Instead, it does what it can to get its three male princesses in various Gothic Lolita garb.
The first book in the series does all it can with this gimmick, but that changes in the second book. There it’s less about the clothes and more about character development, which is a good thing, because it could only run with the outfits for so long. Kouno was orphaned as a child and raised by his aunt and uncle, and in the second volume his female cousin is here to haunt him. Despite the fact they’re related, she’s madly in love with Kouno and he doesn’t know what to do about it. The princess Shihoudani’s past also gets discussed, though it isn’t as dramatic as Kouno. The last part of the volume goes off into a side story.
Princess Princess is a niche read, classified as shojo and aimed at teenage girls. While it’s not intended for a wide audience, it’s done well for itself. An anime series has been made of it (and licensed in America by Media Blasters) as well as a live-action version in Japan. There’s even been a video game. Princess Princess is not meant to be a deep read or a statement on transgenderism, but rather as a flirty, comedic read for people seeking entertainment.