Why Kilala Princess Should Be an Anime

Amid all the recent Kingdom Hearts hype in anticipation of the new game, I learned that there was once a Kingdom Hearts anime series in development that never made it to production. This has been the case for many princess ideas that never quite made it out the door, such as the "Princess Academy" short and the unreleased episodes of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales. The series would have been inspired by the Kingdom Hearts manga that was released in 2009, which got me thinking about another Disney Princess manga that could have made a terrific anime. Kilala Princess came out in 2005 and told the story of a girl whose wish to be a Disney Princess came true. She found a magical tiara that was guarded by a prince named Rei who was searching for the true princess to save his kingdom. The tiara allowed her to travel to the worlds of Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, collecting jewels for its seven spikes so that it would regain its full power.


Kilala Princess was like a hybrid of Kingdom Hearts, Sofia the First, and Princess Precure, but it was more innovative at the time because of two of those three series did not exist yet. The only other story that was out at the time about a girl meeting all the Disney Princesses was a Game Boy Advance game called Disney Princess: Royal Adventure. In that game, you play as a girl named Lily who must recover missing crowns from various Disney Princess worlds by performing dull errands such as delivering items and messages to bland lifeless villagers in the town. Suffice to say, it is not one of my favorite games. Kilala Princess was everything Disney Princess: Royal Adventure should have been. It had just the right amount of romance, adventure, and intrigue with barely any violence.

One of the reasons I think Kilala Princess would work better as an anime than Kingdom Hearts is its pure simplicity. Over the years, the Kingdom Hearts mythology has developed into a mangled mess surrounding the backstory of the main villain, Xehanort, who seems to be immortal. Kilala Princess did have a villain, but it was someone the characters were acquainted with from the start, so there was no confusion or mystery requiring an extended explanation when he was revealed. Also, I'd probably be stating the obvious by saying that princess fans generally relate better to female protagonists. Kilala was just like many other girls who grew up with the Disney Princess movies.

Though Kilala is a bit of a self-insertion character like the Unfinished Fairy Tales book series, she also exhibits some wonderful traits that make her a great role model. Like most Magical Girls, Kilala would do anything to help her friends. The first chapter of the manga is about her celebrating her best friend Erica for winning a princess contest at their school. Even though Kilala loves princesses, she loves her friend Erica even more and does not even have the slightest hint of jealousy over not being chosen instead. As soon as she meets Prince Rei and learns about his quest to save his kingdom by recovering the missing jewels on the tiara to find the true princess, she leaps into action to help him without a second thought, assuming that Erica is the one he is looking for.

I love that Kilala usually finds nonviolent solutions to problems, which was uncommon for adventure stories like this at the time. Magical Girls normally use special attacks to defeat their enemies, using love as an excuse for fighting, a concept that was deconstructed in the anime Madoka Magica. Kilala exhibits magical traits when tiara respond to her actions and opens gates leading the Disney Princess worlds, but she solves most of her problems with bravery, kindness, and understanding. She befriends her foil, Princess Sylphy, a stuck-up, rude, and obnoxious princess by taking the time to get to know her and realize that she is lonely. Though Sofia the First is also a nonviolent adventure series with the same premise, Kilala Princess came first, so the concept was more novel at the time.

I think Kilala Princess would make a great anime because it shows girls that they can be brave and strong while still maintaining their femininity and not resorting to violence. Kilala is unique compared to Sora or Sofia because she comes from our world and believes in magic without seeing any proof that it's real. She is also already familiar with the Disney Princesses, which makes her excitement upon meeting them that much more genuine and heartwarming. Even though Haruka from Princess Precure is a very similar character to Kilala, a Kilala Princess anime would still have a few things that would stand out in comparison to Precure. For one, it would have the actual Disney Princesses instead of the made-up "Flower Princess" fairy tale book that Haruka obsesses over. It would be a show about more realistic problem solving that doesn't rely on sparkly transformations and attacks. The artwork is also very unique because it shows the Disney Princesses in their original hand-drawn styles with slight adjustments to the eyes that make them look more like anime characters without losing anything from the original designs. I would love to see an animated version of Kilala Princess someday.

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