Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts will end in volume 15, and when we last saw these characters, His Majesty the King’s human form was revealed to all his subjects. Of course, the citizens — including Anubis — don’t immediately piece together this man is the actual king and not, say, the result of some spell, but as Leonhart flees with Sariphi for his safety, their future as well as that of Ozmargo’s are all in jeopardy.
A lot of penultimate manga volumes fall into one of two categories: it either tackles all the major plotlines and makes the final volume mostly filler (oftentimes with completely unrelated short stories) or it itself is filler and crams all the resolutions into the final volume. Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts volume 14 is almost textbook perfect in how a second-to-last book should be. It progresses the story and answers questions readers (and characters) have long wondered, saves the final climactic scene(s) for the finale, and also provides character moments for the core cast.
At the center of the latter is, unsurprisingly, Leonhart, who is despondent after having his secret exposed. Some authors would have spent this volume fully on getting him back on his feet, but Tomofuji gives him space to wallow but yet soon march forward. We also have Jormungand who finds himself an outsider in the castle, and Princess Amit tries to be brave and help out in the chaos. Whether it’s because of love, friendship, or fealty, volume 14 does a wonderful job of showing the bonds between the characters.
Anubis, however, isn’t a part of that right now, as he’s currently allying with Set, who takes over the throne. He intends to change the kingdom, and even though Sariphi is supposed to be in hiding, she can’t help but interfere when she sees abuse right in front of her. It’s also Sariphi and her boundless kindness who ultimately discovers the truth surrounding Leonhart. For me, this was probably the weak link in volume 14. Does it make sense in the context of the world of the manga? Yes. Is it out of left field? Not really, but I think it’s a rather safe revelation (not very twist-y, in other words). I think the more out of left field part is how the truth comes to light, as I didn’t think there was this sort of magic in Ozmargo. That’s something I’ll be paying more attention to on a re-read of Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts, even moreso than clues of Leonhart’s birth.
That aside, volume 14 does a fabulous job going from Leonhart’s self-banishment to a group adventure aimed at stopping the burgeoning revolution. I did feel a little emotional knowing I’ll only see everyone one more time (well, until the anime airs), but I kept smiling fondly at seeing what the heroes have been longing for is almost in their grasp.