Princess Sapphire is a girl raised as a Prince. Through the mischief of an angel, the princess is born with both a girl's body and boy's mind. Since there is no boy successor in her kingdom, Sapphire is raised as a boy, but evil ministers try to reveal her secret. Unable to put up with the kind of vicious conduct prevailing in the kingdom, Sapphire disguises herself as "Princess Knight" and wields her sword of justice.
This is an animated version of the girls' manga featuring Sapphire's romance and adventure, which marked the first made-for-TV animated program geared towards girls in Japan.
Ribbon no Kishi is one of the earliest anime, made in 1967. It's from the period when Japanese animation hadn't yet gained its distinctive characteristics. It feels more like American cartoons of the period than modern Japanese anime. However, it preserves its innocence.
The plot is cute. Princess Sapphire was born with a girl’s body and a boy's mind (whatever it is). She is the “prince” of Silverland. There’s an iron law in Silverland that only males can inherit the throne. Being the only child of the royal family, her gender is kept secret from the public to guarantee royal succession. Some cunning palace officers, especially
the main antagonist, Duke Duralumon strives to reveal the truth in order to rule Silverland.
But the poor princess’ problem doesn’t end there. She was born with a boy's mind due to a mischief of an angel called Tink. The angel is sent back to make her feel and behave feminine again. Tink always accompanies her.
This is a children's cartoon. It has the charming simplicity of characters, music, and art. Nevertheless, today's children wouldn't be satisfied with it. Its stereotypical characters with predictable actions may bore but if you're tired of convoluted and ridiculous plotlines, you should give it a try.
Oh my god, is this anime dated. The animation is awful and the plots range from generic to ridiculous. But I love it.
When you start watching this, you have to remember that Ribbon no Kishi is the Ur Example of shoujo. It was revolutionary and genre-defining for it's time; most shoujo series that came after have been inspired by or deconstructed the elements Tezuka introduced. To truly appreciate this anime, you need to watch it as a study rather than expecting something refreshing or deep.
Like most classic anime, the animation was done on the cheap. Cells are blatantly recycled (even from the intro) and there
are long, artificial pauses that make the characters look like they're spacing out between lines. The bad 70's English dub available on Crunchyroll doesn't offer any improvements, though Nylon's voice is fun to hear.
All of the characters are idiots. Every single one of them! Most of the plots get rolling because someone missed something obvious and did something very stupid. But that's classic Tezuka, and there are moments where silly things happen just for the sake of silliness. This is fine; this is a kids cartoon from an era where animation was meant to be spectacle. It's a mishmash of fantastic tales where, even if the conclusion is obvious, the path the characters take towards it is unpredictable.
If you already appreciate classic anime or are a huge Tezuka fan, definitely give this a watch. If you love shojo anime and want some insight into how it began, try a few episodes. Everyone else, well... you're probably better off checking out the manga or reading the plot summary on Wikipedia.
Did you know before Right Stuf began with anime, they sold telescopes? Find out how they transitioned into selling anime, what has helped them evolve, and a view of the anime industry from Right Stuf President Shawne Kleckner.