Despite the title, Princess Princess is actually set in a boys’ school. The original manga ran from 2002 to 2006, with a 12-part anime broadcast in 2006 as well. Although the manga is set in a boys’ school, this manga is written for girls, and has is created by a woman under the pen-name of Mikiyo Tsuda. The anime, unlike the original manga, is also an example of “shonen-ai” – gay romance (for another example see No. 69 – Tokyo Babylon).
Set in the Fujimori Boys’ School, the best school in the area, the main character Toru Kouno has just transferred to the institution. When he transfers, he gets a job at the school as one of the “Princesses”. The Princesses get lots of benefits: more free time, free school meals, free school supplies, and some money made from modelling for photos.
The downside, as you might have guessed from the job title and the image above, is that they have to dress up as girls. The reason for this job is because the students get bored being surrounded by boys all the time, so they a select few boys to dress up as girls for special occasions and to motivate the other students.
Toru decides to become a Princess because of all the free stuff that he gets. Aside from Toru there are two other Princesses: Yuujirou Shihoudani, who has no problems at all with crossdressing, but is rather distant from his family whom he considers perfect; and Mikoto Yutaka, who is more reluctant than the others about the job because he does not want his girlfriend Megumi to find out what he does.
For me, the most interesting aspect of Princess Princess is simply the premise of the whole thing: boys having to dress as girls in order to make the rest of their male colleagues feel less bored with their environment. It’s hard to think of how many boys who would do such a thing, even with all the freebies you would get. Don’t get me wrong, there would be some people who would be more than happy to do it (my transgender lover Jason for one), but I doubt there would be that many who would do it voluntarily.
Thus, some people have complained about the “forced” crossdressing aspect of it, as well as being unrealistic, which let’s be honest it is. You can’t imagine a British boys’ school doing such a thing, and even if such a school did do it you could argue the thoughts would be rather disturbing. Eton is the most famous boys’ school in the country, so imagine what it would be like if notable students there had to dress up as girls. Could you picture in your mind’s eye the sight of David Cameron and Boris Johnson being made to crossdress for all the fags? If you can, I can assure you that this is a mental image you won’t be able to get out of your head for a long time.
Some people do like the series however for its characters and humour, but it must be said there are probably one or two people fantasising what is below the skirts. To be fair, I think most of the boys at Fujimori are thinking that too, even if they know who the boys are. This is therefore a very niche series.
But perhaps most interestingly of all is that this anime has a live-action version. Imagine auditioning for the lead roles in that – or the pushy parent forcing their son to take the role.
Princess Princess is available on Region 1 DVD from Media Blasters.