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Manga / Sacrificial Princess & the King of Beasts

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Sacrifical Princess & the King of Beasts (贄姫と獣の王, Niehime to Kemono no Ō) is a shoujo manga series by Yu Tomofuji.

Sariphi, a human girl, is presented as the 99th sacrifice to the King of Beasts. However, unlike the previous girls, she's unafraid of being eaten and accepted her fate, thus intriguing the King. On the night of her sacrifice she discovers the King's dark secret; he's actually a beast-human hybrid who transforms into a human on the night of the sacrifice and has been helping the sacrifices escape. Having no family to return to, Sariphi decides to stay and the King decides to groom her his future queen. The court is less than thrilled at this prospect, as is expected.

The manga was serialized in the magazine Hana to Yume from 2015 to 2020, and was compiled into 15 volumes. Yen Press has released the series in America and Carlsen Verlag releases it in Germany. A drama CD has been released as well with the sixth volume.

A manga spinoff called The White Rabbit and the Beast Prince started in 2022. It stars Sariphi and King Leonhart's ten-year-old son Richard, who goes on a quest to train so he can summon a splendid sacred beast.

An anime adaptation by J.C. Staff started on April 19, 2023, with a plan for 24 episodes. Watch the official trailer here.

This manga provides examples of:

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  • Abusive Parents:
    • Sariphi's foster parents never abused her physically, but they didn't show any remorse at sending her to die in their biological daughter's place, either. And their coldness left a deep scar on her soul.
    • Amit was told by her family that, unless she married the king, she couldn’t return. Besides that, her low self-esteem hints that she never received much love at home.
    • Downplayed with Tetra. Although she wasn't abused physically, her parents neglected her, especially after the birth of her brother, Karkala. Her mother was so obsessed with giving a male heir to the kingdom that she forbade Tetra from even getting close to the baby. That turned the little Cat Girl into a pest, constantly causing trouble just to get some attention. Sariphi ends up helping Tetra with her mom, but not before the two almost fall to their deaths and are saved by Leo's familiar, Gwiber. In the aftermath she then gently embraced Tetra and apologised to both her children for her behaviour.
    • Fenrir was the youngest son of the fifth Phantom Wolf king, who belittled him as a "failure". When the king of Ozmargo slated a magic duel between his son (future Leonhart) and one of the Phantom Wolves' princes, Fenrir's father chose him, saying it was "his last chance" to prove himself. However, in spite of all his hard training, Fenrir lost to Leo in a Curb-Stomp Battle, even though the latter didn't want to fight. As a result, the king had Fenrir's left ear cut off, stripped him from his title and banished him forever.
  • Against the Grain: Leonhart was raised to be a proper king, which meant to marry a princess of nobility or royalty, keep the status quo and follow the royal traditions, like the human sacrifices. Instead, he fights discrimination and tries to give equal treatment to all the beasts, independent of their clan or race. He nominates Jormungand, who was rejected for being a reptile, to be his captain and secretly lets the girls brought to be sacrificed run away. The cherry on top, he decides to marry Sariphi, who is a human, scandalizing the entire kingdom.
  • Age-Gap Romance: While actual ages aren't stated, because Sariphi looks barely pubescent, while Leonhart looks like an adult, it certainly looks like this. It's later revealed that Leonhart is over 100 years old.
  • All-Loving Hero: Sariphi doesn't hate ANYBODY – even those who make her cry, or hurt her beloved Leonhart. True that she rejects Fenrir, but it's more contempt than hate (and he had it coming).
  • Alternate Universe: At the back of most manga volumes is a short parody story called "The Beast Princess and the Regular King", in which Sariphi is a cute little puppy-like beast girl and Leon and all the other beasts are regular humans. It's basically a canon roleswap AU.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • When Cy and Clops try to stop Sariphi from going to the dungeon because the king is dealing with a dangerous prisoner ( Ilya), she asks Clops where the dungeon is. He lets it slip even before realizing what he is doing.
    • Anubis suggests that Sariphi would want to say goodbye to Ilya, knowing that the young man wouldn't lose the opportunity to run away with her. When that happens, he tries to convince Leo that Sariphi must have gone on her will with the human boy; it almost works, until Amit tells Leo that Sariphi never would betray him like this and that there was something dark in Ilya.
    • When Fenrir blackmails Sariphi into marrying him to spare her friends' lives, she pretends to agree. In fact, it was a plan of Lante, who waited until Fenrir came close to attack him with his claws.
  • Badass Cape: It's the common fashion among the male characters, no matter if they are nobles or wanderers.
  • Beast and Beauty: Beautiful young girl Sariphi becomes the bride of the King of Beasts, a monstrous-looking guy with a gentle heart.
  • Beast Folk: The Beast kingdom is made up of many different tribes, from Catpeople & Lizardfolk, to Rabbit-people & even some Bat-people.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • Cy, Clops, Amit, Lante and other characters are so devoted to Sariphi because she was the first person (or one of the first) to treat them with kindness. It's also one of the reasons Leo fell for her.
    • The reason why Nir is so fanatically dedicated to Fenrir. When Nir was a kid, he was bought by a servant of the Phantom Wolves king who starved and beat on him until he decided to kill him. Fenrir then asked him to get the small wolf. His excuse was that was his chance of having a servant because his father refused to give him one, but treated Nir more like a friend and they found solace on each other.
  • Better Off with the Bad Guys: As someone meant to be a human sacrifice, Sariphi had no future. She also had no friends, except Ilya, whom she saw only once in a year. In the beast world, however, the king not only spares her life but chooses Sariphi as his future queen. So, in despite of all the discrimination and danger she has to face as a human, she's also found love, happiness and made a lot of friends.
  • Betty and Veronica: The series at one point has Sariphi (the Betty) and Vivian (the Veronica) to Leo's Archie. The contest ends with Leo choosing Sariphi and ordering Vivian and the two princesses out of his sight.
    • A male version happens in Sariphi's case as she serves as the Archie to Ilya's Betty and Leo's Veronica.
  • Black Speech: The Beast written language is forbidden for humans at such point that, when Sariphi takes a message of Leo to the human world, there's not anybody able to read it, not even among the royalty.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Leonhart arrives in time to stop Fenrir from killing Lante and Sariphi.
  • Bond Creatures: According to tradition, every member of the royal family must summon a magical being and form a bond, turning it into their familiar. Sariphi insisted into doing that to become Leo's queen, in spite of his protests. It almost cost her life, but in the end she brought up Lord Bennu. Obviously, Leonhart has his familiar, too, a dragon called Gwiber.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Princess Tetra. She gets better.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Once Tetra attempts to kill herself only to be saved be Sariphi, King Teto apologizes to Leo for having to see the "unsightly spectacle". But Leo quickly catches on how Teto and his wife have been neglecting Tetra in favour of their son and calls him out on it by asking if he found truly Tetra "unsightly" and if he was really a father, then he'd care about his daughter. The looks and sweat on Teto's face show while Calra became ashamed on how she treated their daughter, Teto isn't pleased that Leo would insult his patriarchy culture in favor of a daughter (which his family finds disgraceful)
  • The Captain: Jormungand. He is stern, competent, extremely loyal to Leo and respected by his soldiers. Even Anubis gets along with him, although Jormungand supports Sariphi.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sariphi. In spite of her decision of not making any friends, she approached Ilya, a complete stranger, to take care of his bruises, when they were kids. She agrees into going through dangerous trials against Leo's will to help him maintain his position as a king, she saves people who tried to hurt/kill her and goes to extents to fall to her death to save Bennu, giving him the motivation he needed to revert back to his true form and save both. It probably has to do with the trauma of having been raised as a sacrifice, because, just like Adora and Chise, Sariphi believes her life won't have a purpose if she is not useful.
  • Commonality Connection: In spite of having different personalities, Sariphi and Leo bond quickly because they both had lonely lives traced by others. They may have not chosen to be a sacrifice and a king, but they choose to be together.
  • The Conspiracy: The previous human-hating King of Ozmargo (Leonhart's father) found to his disgust and shame, he was completely sterile. He had taken many concubines when the Queen's health deteriorated, but was unable to conceive a single child as heir to the throne. In desperation to preserve the royal bloodline, the Head Oracle and he conspired to track down the King's younger twin brother, who was banished at birth. He had already passed away to wounds in a battle, but fathered a half-beast child with a human witch. The King fabricated that Leonhart, his nephew, was his son and the Head Oracle falsified records Set's mother was the concubine after the dying Queen passed away. Unfortunately, unknowing of truth, Set himself would later come to believe from his mother's words he was the rightful heir to the throne.
  • Costume Evolution: A decade later during the epilogue, the characters are given an upgrade of their clothing in the finale:
    • Sariphi has grown to Leo's height when he's in his human form, her dress now includes a high-neck collar and a longer skirt, and her hair is in a braided bun.
    • Leonhart's tunic is now the same shade as Anubis's fur and his cape is now violet-blue and white
    • Anubis's robes now have a teal tinge along with a wider collar and his left ear has gained a fifth piercing.
    • Amit's overskit is now leaning sideways and her sash is now reddish-brown along with a pastel pink shawl around her shoulders.
    • Jormungand's robes and cap are now in a forest green shade.
  • Cute Bookworm: Sariphi loves reading since she was small. And, although most beasts find her human form repulsive, Leo thinks she is gorgeous, with her white hair and blue eyes.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Well, Leo's fangs are huge, but they look charming on him. And Fangs Are Evil don't fit because he is a good guy, soo...
  • Damsel in Distress: Sariphi frequently gets in trouble and has to be saved by Leo or Lante. Not that she doesn't try to take care of herself, but that's not her strong point.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Leo is initially like this, because of his lonely background and his secret. He gradually warms up to Sariphi.
  • The Dividual: Cy and Clops were expelled from the Eye Clan because they can't function without the other. Fortunately, Leo saved them. Later, we learn they can be separated (though this makes them very unhappy), and their bond becomes very useful, because everything Cy sees, Clops can see and tell. This comes at hand to proof a crime of enslavement and to find Sariphi when she is kidnapped.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: One of the reasons for Fenrir to hate Leo so much is that the former asked to be friends with him, after defeating him in their first battle.
  • Entitled to Have You: Excepting Amit, all the princesses think of this about the king, particularly Vivian.
    • Ilya initially has this attitude towards Sariphi. He kidnaps her and refuses to listen to her; in fact, Sariphi's arguments about beasts being kind enrages Ilya so much that he decides to fight Leo to the death, so he'll have proof she is wrong. It is only after he sees Sariphi crying because Leo was hurt that Ilya realizes he is trying to save her just to make it up for his little sister, that he was unable to save from being devoured by beast burglars. Leonheart forgives him and Ilya leaves the reign, though his hate for beast has grown even stronger. He eventually start to rethink it, after he saves a beast cub from a bunch of human poachers.
  • The Exile: Amit is forbidden from returning home, unless she marries the king of Ozmargo. From the little she told about her past, it's almost safe to conclude that Amit's family used this as a pretext to get rid of her.
  • Extreme Doormat: Lady Amit, at first. Thanks to her friendship with Sariphi, Cy and Clops, she eventually becomes more assertive, and cheerful, too.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The King has no name besides his title or "Majesty". Sariphi gives him the name Leonheart.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • As nice as Sariphi is, she shows assertiveness in some moments.In the first chapter of the manga, Anubis says Sariphi is too thin to be eaten by the king. She protests calling him "dog" and "rude", and sticks her tongue at him when he berates her for speaking without permission.
    • She looks furious when she learns that the princesses tore Amit's dress to keep her from joining them in the king's dinner, and would have called them out, if Amit hadn't stopped her.
    • She is disgusted when Fenrir tells her that he wants to become a king to make the reigns opening war on each other like in the old times and gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech (see below) with visible disdain.
  • Evil Counterpart: Fenrir to Leonhart. Both are Hot-Blooded, strong, determined and were neglected by their cold-hearted fathers. Also, both are interested in Sariphi. But, while Leo is compassionate with the weak and struggles to bring union to the beastly kingdoms, Fenrir wants to become a king to make the kingdoms open war against each other and says the weak must submit to the strong. And while Leo respects Sariphi and loves her for the person she is, Fenrir treats her as a trophy and a plaything.
  • Eye Scream: After Fenrir was exiled, he sent Nir away because the loss of his ear signed him as dishonored among the wolves. Nir cut one of his eyes to be allowed to stay by his friend/master's side.
  • Facial Markings: Ilya has a spider-like tatoo at the left side of his face and neck.
  • Fantastic Racism: Both Humans & Beasts views each other as a race of monsters ready to kill the other down to the last child. Sariphi is one of the only humans to not be completely afraid of Beastkind.
    • The beasts also discriminate against some of their own species, like the lizards and hyenas.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Zigzagged with Sariphi. Thanks to her kindness, she makes many friends among the beasts, but she also gets a lot of enemies.
  • Girl Posse: The other princesses tear Amit's dress in rags as a "punishment" for fraternizing with Sariphi. That is the first time when Sariphi actually looks angry, and she ends up giving Amit her gown, so she will be able to join the dinner that night and meet the Captain Jormungand again.
  • Half-Breed Angst: Leonheart is a Half-Human Hybrid, and has to hide his heritage from his subjects. Of course, Sariphi is the only one to know his secret.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The cat princess Vivian. She takes advantage of Sariphi's innocence and kindness to talk her into convincing the king to receive his candidates to marriage, argumenting that princesses have an obligation to fulfill with their respective lands. Leo reluctantly agrees, but the only princess to benefit from that is Amit, who makes friends with Sariphi. Later, Vivian tries to kill Sariphi, only to be stopped by Amit and then by an infuriated Leonhart. As a consequence, the catwoman is told to never show her face again in the court while Amit is promoted to Sariphi's companion.
  • Human Sacrifice: Sariphi is the 99th sacrifice offered to the Beast King as part of a peace treaty. Sariphi was adopted because her hometown was unwilling to sacrifice one of their own children.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: When Sariphi still lived in the human world, she decided not to have any friends, because she was meant to die. Still, she couldn't help but feel sympathy for Ilya, who was always bruised because of his training and offered him some medicine. After this, they started looking forward to the times they would meet, until Sariphi was sent to the beasts' realm.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In the very beginning of the manga, when Anubis insults Sariphi saying she is too "meager" for a king's meal, Sariphi protests, saying this is very rude from him, much for the chancellor's shock. Leonhart is impressed, though.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Fenrir offers Sariphi jewels, fancy clothes and whatever she would like if she'll agree to become his companion, but she refuses to receive anything from him. That just increases the wolf's determination into defeating Leo.
  • Interspecies Romance: Leonheart & Sariphi are a beast & a human. Also, Leo is the product of such a romance.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bennu, Lante, Tetra.
  • Lady-In-Waiting: Amit becomes this for Sariphi, after saving her from Princess Vivian.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Sariphi and Leonhart are this for each other. Even when they are separated, they draw strength to keep moving forward by thinking they will be together again.
    • During Ilya's arc, Sariphi realizes that it was his friendship that gave her the will to live until the day of her sacrifice. She also became this for him because she was a lot like Ilya's deceased sister, until he realized how unhealthy was his obsession of protecting her.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Beasts live hundreds of years, where Sariphi is at most in her mid teens until the epilogue.
  • Mind over Matter: Nir can use telekinesis to make spears and swords stab his foes.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Leonhart and Fenrir's duel, in which they both disregard any weapons and in the latter's own words, "fight like primal beasts".
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Along the manga, Sariphi realizes that beasts and humans are not that different, because there are good and bad people in both sides.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Anubis & the other council members are desperate to try & find some legal excuse to be rid of Sariphi, hence her various trials. Although for Anubis' case, it's more rooted in not wanting the king's public opinion to plummet by marrying a human girl.
  • Oculothorax: Cy and Clops, especially the former. Cy has a huge eye occupying his entire body while Clops has a big mouth.
  • Offing the Offspring: The old King of Ozmargo lost the love of his life, the Queen, to illness. He harboured much hatred of humans during his reign, and was extremely cold to half-blooded Leonhart who only wanted his approval. Finally on his deathbed, he snapped, and tried to strangle Leo. But the stress was too much and he died, leaving Leonhart confused as to why he'd ever father a child with a human woman. This turns out to be a subversion. The former King was Leonhart's sterile uncle, who had no choice but to abduct Leonhart to maintain the royal bloodline.
  • The Pollyanna: For all the crap she deals with, Sariphi is surprisingly chipper & optimistic about her whole situation.
  • Psychic Link: Only those who are spiritually connected to their holy beasts can understand what they say. Full mouthed as Bennu is, it's lucky that only Sariphi (and Gwiber, who is a familiar, too) understands him.
  • Rags to Royalty: Cinderella type; Sariphi is an orphan who was adopted for the sole purpose of being sacrificed in place of her adopted sister. However, this doesn't appear to have dampened her kind nature & optimism, which intrigued the King enough to make her his Queen.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sariphi gives one to Fenrir when he tries to intimidate her.
    Sariphi: Why should I be afraid of you? Because you're "strong"? In that case, I'm not the least bit scared. After all, I know someone... someone who's always... who is truly strong, fighting his own weakness for the sake of others. You don't scare me. If hurting other people is the only way you can feel "strong", then you're weak. That means you could never beat your majesty."
  • Ship Tease: There is a lot of unsolved romantic tension between Amit and Jormungand. Too bad the captain is Married to the Job.
  • Shirtless Scene: Leo suffered a lot of Clothing Damage during his fight with Fenrir.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Leonhart's issues as a half-human hybrid seem a reference to Inuyasha. Like him, Leo has a time when he becomes human (he keeps his horns, though) and has to hide. He even becomes human when he goes to look for Sariphi in the human realm because of the absence of miasma, just like Inuyasha turned into a human at the Mount Hakurei, which had a mystic barrier that cleaned off all youkai energy.
    • The battles between Leonhart and Fenrir could happen in Dragon Ball Z as well, if you exchange "magic" for "ki". Fenrir even loses his mind when Lante spills his "noble blood", just like Vegeta when Goku hurts him for the first time.
  • The Social Darwinist: The beast's world is full of them. Not only humans, but some bestial races (particularly hyenas and reptiles) are disregarded as inferior, and the weak are frequently enslaved or left to die. Cy and Clops were kicked out of their clan because they are physically dependent from one each other. Fenrir was disowned by his father, who considered him "weak", and grew up determined to become "stronger" to subjugate the weaker. Even Leonhart, who devotes his life to change these dynamics, sees himself as "weak" because of the moments when he becomes human and powerless.
  • Theme Naming: Many of the King's court are named after deities or mythical beasts that share the same animal theming; such as Chancellor Anubis, Judge Set, Captain Jormungand and Fenrir.
  • Trauma Button: Sariphi is afraid of thunder because it was in a stormy night that she discovered the truth about her adoptive parents.
  • Tricked into Escaping: Fenrir lets Sariphi run away twice to capture her afterwards, just because he is bored.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: For as much conflict as we see, many of the humans and monsters (and even antagonists) are shown as equally adorable as children, to drive home the fact that none of them were racist bigots in their innocent youth. It's tragic events, intergenerational trauma, and cruelty of the world, that ultimately shape them into cold-hearted adults who perpetuate the cycle of hatred.
  • Wedding Finale: Sometime later after the proclamation, the day of Sariphi and Leo's wedding came at last.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After a courtesan tries to ruin her presentation as the future queen, Sariphi sees herself as a burden to Leo, since it is obvious that such situation will repeat over and over. He says that if it happens, he'll defend her again, and then she'll help him to control his temper - again.
Leonhart: When I'm with you... I'm freed of the shackles of being "king". Just at the sound of my name, it is as though as I can forget my duties for a while. I've never felt this way before… and I feel that with you at my side… I might become a strong king one day. Stay beside me. That's your duty.”