Coquette Warrior series

I grew up watching animated TV series from Japan produced in the late 70's and early 80's. There were two worlds in Japanese anime at that point: action adventure with meaningful stories, and melodramatic soap-operas about cute young girls in cute clothing. On the adventure/meaningful-story side, my favourite was Hayao Miyazaki's Future Boy Conan, the secondary character, Lana, is a pacifist and she has psychic abilities; while the Han Solo of that story is Monsli, a tough young woman who starts off as the right-hand henchwoman of the main villain, but turns good at the end. On the girlie-girl soap-opera side, some of the best were Candy Candy and Sandy Bell; these always featured the young female protagonist dressed in a frilly ribbon-trimmed dress and surrounded by an explosion of flowers.

But the most inspiring were the in-between's, like Osamu Tetzuka's Princess Knight and the manga-based Lady Oscar, both of which were about a girl pretending to be a boy and who has a talent for sword fighting. Having seen many more of Miyazaki's later creations, I was always drawn to his strong female-warrior characters ( Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke) and this attraction eventually lead me to study Tai Chi as a martial art. One day, after having had a particularly satisfying Tai Chi session learning the sword form, I got this urge to draw a girl wielding a sword.

I went home and drew. But there was something missing. I wanted the girl to grasp the sword with a warrior's intent, like Nausicaa might, but I also wanted to draw her in puffed sleeves and put a Princess Knight ribbon in her hair. I then wondered: what would happen if I brought together those seemingly antithetical worlds of Miyazaki's earnest girl-warriors and the frivolous eye-candy of manga-girls amidst an effusion of flowers and ribbons? the result: Coquette Warriors.

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