The theme of love transcending appearances is a popular one in fairy tales, and Yen Press’ Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts fits that genre. The fantasy manga tells of the relationship between a girl and her beastly fiance, and you can read on for the review of Volume 9. (For reviews of other volumes, click here.)
Back Cover Blurb
Sariphi’s bond with Leonhart only grew stronger during their time apart. But her road to royalty is long and perilous…During a visit to the country of Bolstobas, a sudden insurgency threatens to destroy the trust between the lovers. Caught between his position as king and his relationship with Sariphi, Leonhart’s faith is put to the test. Can he let her risk everything? Or will he protect her at any cost—even if it means betraying her beliefs?
Sari has pretty much been destined to be with Leo from the start, so the narrative provides a bit of drama by turning to a maiden who’s much less certain about her love interest. Previously, Amit took a big step forward by daring to give Captain Jormungand an amulet which she made with all her affection. Now, the Captain is back from his expedition, and he abruptly returns the token without explanation. Amit’s feelings for the Captain are obvious, but how Jormungand feels about Amit is less clear. In addition to stirring up maidenly sorrow and perplexity, the Captain’s actions–interestingly enough–leads to Lante getting to test his skills against Jormungand in a swashbuckling duel.
Then the story turns from reptilian romance to yet another trip for Sari–this time with Leo. Unlike previous arcs concerning the nations under Leo’s rule, this time we get a map of his territories, which provides a much better perspective what’s happening. (By the way, Ozmargo looks a whole lot like the Black Sea region in Eastern Europe.)
But during their royal tour of Bolstobas, Leo receives an urgent summons just as Sari catches wind of nefarious doings within the region. As a result, Leo entrusts Sari to handle the investigation while he rushes back to the capital. This turns into a challenge similar to the Maasya arc: Sari must overcome the prejudices against her in order to free the innocent and capture the wrongdoer. The arc is also similar in how quickly and tidily it concludes, although how the situation arose is nothing short of convoluted. Even Lante remarks on the absurdity of the Simian people’s enslavement.
While Sari is proving herself a champion of justice yet again, Leo is confronting a threat to his rule. Unrest within Ozmargo has been mentioned before, but now anti-monarchists are coalescing into a real force with powerful leaders. After so many Sari-centric arcs where Leo’s merely been steadfast support, having him face this challenge is a welcome change of pace.
Extras include embedded author’s notes and the bonus manga, “The Beast Princess and the Regular Princess and the Captain.”
After a heartfelt romantic arc on Princess Amit and Captain Jormungand, Sari once again puts her queenly reputation on the line to bring about justice. The dilemma resolves itself a bit too easily, and the reason the Simians got enslaved in the first place is nothing short of ridiculous. Fortunately, the narrative is moving away from tests of Sari’s mettle to a challenge for Leonhard, which I hope allows him to do more than be Sari’s cheerleader.
First published at the Fandom Post.