When I was a child, I hated the color pink. In fact, I hated anything stereotypically “girly” because I didn’t want to be lumped in with “those girls” when most of my friends were boys. As I’ve grown, I’ve also come to re-embrace many of the girly things that I denied myself in the past, pink being one of them. And, readers, I don’t think there’s anything more pink, cute, and fluffy than the webcomic Princess Love♥Pon, and I love it.
Lia Sagamore is just your average high school girl; she loves cute things, cartoons, and games. Oh, and she wants to be a magical girl like her favorite cartoon heroine, Astro Bunny. She attends school with her best friend Rachel, dokis over her crush Luis, and does the typical school thing. However, as things are wont to happen in shoujo, Lia comes across something that changes her life forever. Floating down from the sky, a mysterious bunny-ghost-thing lands in her arms, stating its relief at finding someone with an “open heart” before passing out. When the bunny—named Hunnie—awakens, it tells Lia that she’s needed to fight against the Dark Queen as a magical warrior. Of course, being an aficionado of magical girls, Lia hops on this opportunity, recites the magical incantation, and becomes Princess Love♥Pon, protector of goodness and hearts everywhere!
I can’t begin to explain how in love with this series I am. Artist and author Shauna Grant literally has one of the cutest art styles I’ve ever seen, which gives Love♥Pon such a perfect feeling to it, especially if you’re a fan of stories that veer away from grimdark realism. The colors of the comic are done in warm pinks and yellows and cooler purples and blues, and honestly it reminds me of marshmallows and frilly cakes. And this sweetness applies to the characters as well.
Love♥Pon’s universe is filled with drama, but the high school kind that seems easily solvable with communication. Unlike some other shoujo series, Love♥Pon does actually utilize communication to work through problems, rather than relying solely on l♥ve-l♥ve magic: a trend that I hope continues alongside the inclusion of Lia coming into her magic more. Lia herself is a sweet cinnamon roll who wants the best for all her friends and while somewhat overzealous of her new magical girl powers (and a little oblivious to some of the emotions of her friends, in true shoujo protag fashion), she learns quickly and improvises when she needs to. She’s just fun to watch. Bffsie Rachel is a perfect counterpart, being a little more realistic, and brings Lia back down to Earth when she needs to. And love interest Luis is a sweetheart who you’re definitely rooting for Lia to get with.
One of the most important aspects of Love♥Pon is its inclusion of Black girl magic. The only magical girl of color I can recall off the top of my head is Sailor Pluto (who I would consider more a magical woman), but almost everyone in Love♥Pon is a character of color. Lia gives young Black girls, and Black nerds of all ages and genders, the ability to see themselves in her, and a chance to embrace this cute aesthetic that so often is shown on everyone but Black people. Love♥Pon embraces Black magical girl style and Black nerdery, and the more art people can experience this through, the better.
Love♥Pon’s site has the first two chapters up now, and Grant is working on the third. For your fill of shoujo goodness, make sure you check out Princess Love♥Pon, as well as Grant’s Twitter and Tumblr pages! And make sure to drop by Grant’s art site as well to see her adorable style in both fanworks and original works!