Princess Knight (Ribon no Kishi -- or "Knight of the Ribbon") was created by the late Japanese comic artist, Osamu Tezuka and published monthly in Shojo (Girl's) Club comics from 1953 to 1956. Set in a fantasy medieval Europe, it follows the adventures of cross-dressing Prince Knight (aka Princess Sapphire) and her pint-sized guardian, Choppy. Because "Prince" Knight is a girl and can't succeed to the throne of Silverland, she is forced to disguise herself as a boy, keeping the kingdom out of the grasp of the evil Duke Duralumon and his large-shnozzed cronie, Baron Nylon. The pair always suspect that Prince Knight is a girl and do their utmost to reveal her secret in each episode.
The animated series, produced by Tezuka's own Mushi Productions studios, aired on Fuji TV from 1967 to 1968. In this series the protagonists are named for precious metals and gems, while cheap alloys or synthetics were used for the names of the baddies. An interesting note: Duke Duralumon's name is based on the word 'aluminum' and Baron Nylon, is pronounced "Neelon" (perhaps to avoid a lawsuit from DuPont, creators of the synthetic fiber). Also of interest, Princess Knight aired in 1955 as a drama on Japan's national radio network, NHK. Famed composer and electronic music pioneer, Isao Tomita is credited for the show's music and theme.
Princess Knight was brought to the U.S. in 1969 by Joe Oriolo and his then-partner, Burt Hecht. Oriolo was also the executive producer for the "Mighty Hercules" animated series. Fifty-two episodes were purchased from Mushi Productions. English dialogue scripts were written and voices dubbed, although the voiceover actors were never given any screen credit. Oriolo's dubbers, in their attempt to match the characters' lip movements, created English names as close as possible to the original Japanese names. The name of Princess Knight's elfin sidekick, Tink, was changed to Choppy to avoid legal hassles with Disney's Tinkerbell character. Later, the business arrangement between Oriolo and Hecht fell apart; and as part of the settlement, Hecht departed with the Princess Knight masters.
The newly-restored, digitally-remastered series is available as a five-disc DVD boxed set in Japan from Nippon Columbia. The disc includes many bonus features and a 40-page booklet. The set retails for JPY 23,500 (about USD 176.00).
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