Sacrificial Princess & the King of Beasts – Episode 1

By: ThatNerdyBoliviane April 21, 20230 Comments
Sariphi hugging Leonhart while sitting on his lap.

Content Warnings: sexual assault, human sacrifice, slavery.  

What’s it about? Sariphi was raised to be a human sacrifice for the King of Beasts, Leonhart and accepted her fate as she had no one who cared about her.  However, Leonhart isn’t the monster he is rumored to be; and is intrigued that Sariphi isn’t afraid of him so he decides to make her his Queen much to the shock of his subjects.

It’s nice that we have a variety of shoujo shows to watch this season.  I know we are all crossing our fingers and toes for this series to be good since most shoujo manga hasn’t received the best anime adaptation in recent years.  I have mixed feelings about the production staff since both  the director, Kon Chiaki (Junjou Romantica and Higurashi: When They Cry) and series composer, Minakami Seishi (Paranoia Agent and Apple Sugar Fairy Tale) have diverse titles under their belts, which isn’t a bad thing, but it didn’t offer me any assurances that this’ll be a good adaptation.  

Despite my low expectations, this premiere seems promising and creative.  Surprisingly, the animation is decent and while it’s no My Love Story with Yamada-kun at Lv999 in terms of quality (I mean come on, they have Madhouse!) I’m just glad this show is watchable. I know that’s a low bar, but shoujo fans deserve a win after so many flop adaptations.  The story itself is interesting since there’s a real emphasis on world-building and the political tension between beasts and humans.  Even though humanity is delivering human sacrifices there isn’t any doubt the current “peace” between both sides is fragile and bound to erupt someday into a full-blown war.  

Sariphi kneeling in front of Leonhart in chains.
Thankfully, those chains are off by the end of the episode.

Thankfully, the narrative doesn’t dwell on the morality of human sacrifices and outright condemns it through Leonhart’s actions.  Basically, Leonhart is a kind leader and spares the lives of the human girls, but is willing to put on a facade for the sake of preventing an all out war.  Leonhart even tries to intimidate Sariphi by umm…aggressively pushing her down into his bed to assert his dominance, which can easily be off putting to anyone that doesn’t want to see any form of sexual harassment in their media consumption.  

Fortunately, the scene doesn’t linger for long since Sariphi sees through Leonhart’s mask and knows he’s hiding his true self.  I’m honestly grateful that scene passed by relatively quickly because it does faintly remind me of tropes often seen in low-tier BL manga.  Also, the fact that Sariphi’s neck and hands are chained up for most of the episode probably conjures up uncomfortable images of slavery thanks to all the slavery isekai shows we’ve been seeing in recent years.  Those chains are removed by the end of the episode and for the most part everything I just mentioned about the assault and slave imagery is done in a very tame and dull manner, so I’m hoping it doesn’t deter folks from at least checking out this premiere.  

Leonhart pushes Sariphi down on his bed.
Thankfully, Sariphi shut this down real quick!!

With all that said, I’m not entirely sold on Sariphi’s character yet.  She’s unquestionably traumatized for being treated as a disposable object her whole life and it’s not surprising that she’s experiencing symptoms of dissociation in order to cope with her reality, but something about the depiction of her trauma isn’t working for me.  Perhaps, if she was allowed to have more moments of introspection about her life and how that quiet sense of sadness permeates into her cheery disposition then I think she could’ve won me over.  Mind you, I WANT to like Sariphi and I’m hoping the next couple of episodes does a better job with her characterization, otherwise, I can’t see myself following this show beyond the three episode test.  

It doesn’t help that I couldn’t buy into Sariphi and Leonhart’s relationship at all.  I know the concept of “two lost souls finding solace in each other” can be an engaging romantic narrative, but in this case, it just felt extremely rushed.  Maybe, I’m just not a romantic at heart, but I couldn’t understand Sariphi’s leap from being a human sacrifice to becoming Leonhart’s future Queen.  It definitely feels like an entire middle arc was cut out from the premiere because by the end of it I truly didn’t believe them as a couple.  

Sariphi comedically telling Leonhart he is adorable.
At least, they have cute chibi faces!

Granted, there’s still room for the show to establish a stronger foundation for the two of them and how the politics of their world will affect their relationship.  Overall, this show has a lot of potential and I’m curious if the entirety of the manga will be told in one season or if it’ll have two seasons for the sake of giving the material some breathing room.  Either way, it deserves to at least go through the three episode test.  

About the Author : ThatNerdyBoliviane

ThatNerdyBoliviane was originally born in New York City and essentially lived there until the age of 17 when they had to move to Toronto for reasons. They are currently struggling to survive in this weird-ass world that does not celebrate awesomeness enough. They self identify as Queer Quechua (Mestize) Bolivian-American and are involved with social justice work of all kinds. Aside from that, they are an avid lover of anime, manga, cartoons, (on rare occasion live-action TV shows if it’s good), and having amazing discussions with other folks about nerdy things. You can visit their blog Home to my Bitter Thoughts or follow them on Twitter @LizzieVisitante.

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