Tokyopop really really wants you to read Princess Ai: Encounters. Although it only came out yesterday (today in comic stores), it’s already available for free (
warning: link has soundlink no longer available) at their site. (Will retailers complain the way they threw a fit when Boom! did the same thing with North Wind? Probably not — most of those kinds of comic shops don’t care much about manga, having ceded the female audience they attract to bookstores.)
Download either a CBR or PDF version, or use their online player. (The PDF download took about 15 minutes on my connection, which seemed slow.) They’ve even made Ai videos and wallpapers and other doodads.
I had a devil of time, though, finding a simple description of what the book was about. Maybe the assumption is that if it’s free, that doesn’t matter. Turns out that Princess Ai: Encounters is a sampler mashup.
Featuring a peek into the TOKYOPOP universe, this volume showcases TP’s wide range of original creative talent by throwing our characters into the mix with Princess Ai and her friends! Whether Ai is rocking out with Ein from “A Midnight Opera,” playing at the high school prom for the cast of “Rhysmyth,” or visiting Pamela at “The Tarot Cafe” to solve a mystery, it’s our beloved rock sensation as we’ve never seen her before!
No wonder it’s free! It’s a cookbook… I mean an ad! The editor says, “The end result is something that really feels like a cool doujinshi anthology, believe it or not.” Believe it or not? Why would I be suspicious of what the company wants us to think about a Princess Ai project? Since Tokyopop apparently doesn’t believe in the usual conflict of interest disclaimers, I will also take this time to remind you that the creator of Princess Ai, “DJ Milky”, is a pseudonym for Stuart Levy, the head of the company.