The Twin Knights

The Godmother of Manga

The Twin Knights

By Osamu Tezuka

Graphic Novel / Manga
Paperback, approx. 248 pages each, 5.5 x 7.5 inches
978-1-939130-01-3 Buy

A gem from the late fifties when the legendary master was most deeply involved in girls’ comics, The Twin Knights is more than just a sequel to the shojo manga milestone Princess Knight. More closely addressing issues of station as well as gender, this one-volume tale has all the antic innocence of the early Tezuka even as it revises the more famous work’s premise, doing away with the conceit of “boy and girl hearts” and invoking the vagaries of chance and power in their place.

Once known as a skilled fencer who had masqueraded as a prince in order to succeed her late father, Sapphire is now happily married to her love Franz and queen of their combined realm. After she gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl who are now equal in the royal line of succession, however, a dispute arises among the courtiers and populace over which child is the true heir. When a whimsical cherub with a familiar face is unwisely summoned to settle the matter, he allows sheer luck to rule in favor of the boy.

Yet once Prince Daisy is whisked away by a cabal opposed to his ascension, the remaining Princess Violetta must embark on the same path her mother once tread to safeguard her family’s claim to the throne. Cross-dressing is hardly the end of it as she undertakes breathless adventures with a gypsy lass she meets—Emerald!

Osamu TezukaOsamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was still then considered a frivolous medium. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. From the early seventies on, he increasingly targeted older readers as well, employing a grittier style and mature themes. With his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. Since his passing, his international stature has only grown, his eight-volume epic Buddha winning multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards in the United States.

Praise for Princess Knight:

“This is the first manga by Tezuka from this time period that I can wholeheartedly recommend just because it is a good read… A sublime, fantastic, and most importantly, fun read that can make for Tezuka converts or simply be a story to read and share for years to come… Every promise you may have felt was broken by all the hype and praise when reading his early work is a non-issue here. Grade: A.”
Fandom Post

“Move over, Game of Thrones, here’s the real fantasy epic of the year… This ‘classic shojo masterpiece’ features just as much thrilling adventure as anything aimed at the boys. And that’s why this is a universal, modern-day fairytale for the ages… it doesn’t pander to any specific audience, but loads up on complex ideas that will challenge kids and engage adults. Grade: A-.”
Anime News Network

“It’s truly a masterpiece. With its pseudo-European setting and numerous references to Western literature, Princess Knight is Tezuka’s most accessible work for American readers. This is a master of the comic genre at his peak. All comic fans owe it to themselves to read Princess Knight.”
Comics Worth Reading

“At the time it was mold-shattering. What is surprising about this first volume is how readable it still is… It’s a continuous narrative which barrels along gleefully throwing in every plot twist the mangaka can think up. If you’re a fan of Tezuka, you probably already own this; but, kids of all ages—and you know who you are—will still get a kick out of this.”
Comic Picks by the Glick

Princess Knight exhibits that lively timelessness that I associate with Tezuka at his best. I have no idea if he sat down one day and decided that he wanted to take comics for girls in an entirely new direction or if it just happened because he wanted to take all comics in entirely new directions, but the comic exudes that feeling of opportunity and transformation.”
Manga Curmudgeon

“Tezuka really flexes his action panel muscles here… Beyond the artwork and the fast pacing, one simply can’t ignore the overall impact of Princess Knight and how it helped shape the world of shoujo comics… Tezuka’s gender-twisting jaunt lives on in this fine release from Vertical, Inc., and even those who don’t normally lean toward shoujo fare should find an oddly comforting sense of nostalgia.”
Otaku USA

“I’m a huge Tezuka fan, so I wasn’t surprised that I really enjoyed this book, but even my high expectations were exceeded by this title. Great cartooning, fantastic plot twists, tons of suspense and action, and a romance that has you rooting for the main character to beat the odds. This is Tezuka at his best, and it hardly surprises me that this title has been such an influential work.”

“It’s easy to see why this story has enchanted several generations of Japanese readers: Sapphire has swashbuckling adventures *and* wins the hand of Prince Charming. Long unavailable in English, the new Vertical edition is a marked improvement over Kodansha’s bilingual one from 2002, thanks to Maya Rosewood’s fluid translation. A must for serious manga fans.”
Manga Bookshelf