Chihiro Sakutake made their debut as a gag manga author in 2017 with a fantasy parody of the Four Heavenly Kings. Later, they made a series on school geniuses, and then a religious isekai comedy (no, not KamiKatsu). The common trend among most of Sakutake’s works so far is that they’re only a few volumes long, and they’re mostly fantasy comedies. It wasn’t until December 2023 that they would be published in English with My Poison Princess Is Still Cute.
Like most of Sakutake’s other manga, My Poison Princess is a short series at three total volumes and is a moe-style comedy fantasy. The main difference here is that it’s a romantic four panel comic this time around. Specifically, it stars the demon princess Raffy whose emotional states cause her body to emit toxic gas. To contrast this, the love interest is an immortal knight named Loren who can respawn in nearby clothes upon dying. After they’re forced into a political marriage, the two form a more organic bond over time.
Given the sporadic nature of Raffy’s toxin ejections, one might expect her personality to have grown sour over time. Perhaps she might be the tsundere trope with how difficult it is for her to have any sort of a relationship. But instead of turning her physical trait into a literally toxic attitude, Sakutake makes this more of an unfortunate curse forced upon a demon princess. She can be a bit cold sometimes but most of the time she’s shy and anxious. This causes her to emit even more poison as her feelings for Loren increase. This decision works well in tandem with Raffy’s moe demon girl aesthetic, and that’s good because there’s not much else to praise about the art aside from her design. Not that this looks bad at all, it’s more of a standard cutesy style that gets the job done for a four panel comic. My Poison Princess certainly does well at showing you how gorgeous Sakutake’s monster girl illustrations can look.
Loren as a love interest is the funny, excited guy who will also die for the one he loves. And here that level of loyalty is showcased in a fun, charming way that plays with that idea in a literal way with his respawning. He learns how to handle her deadly pheromones thanks to his ability, but the joke of Loren suddenly appearing in different clothes wears off quickly. It’s a unique spin on immortality for sure, but I was hoping for a little more than the recurring koi fish outfit gag. The supporting cast, consisting of a ghost butler and two small living doll maids, keep the hijinks going in the mansion but they won’t stick with you much when you’re done. They do, however, display the many flavors of facial expressions Sakutake excels at.
One potential influence for My Poison Princess is an older shoujo manga called Dokuhime (literally “Poison Princess”) where women were forced from birth to be assassins with deadly bodily fluids. Another influence might be The Duke of Death and His Maid, which takes a much more lighthearted approach to themes of flirting with death and a cursed touch. In the end what we got here felt more akin to your general slice of life, fantasy romance with an adorable demon princess. The poisonous gimmick itself doesn’t play that much of a role aside from repeatedly killing Loren. And I personally felt The Vampire Dies in No Time did that joke better.
My Poison Princess is cutely serviceable. You’ll have a fun time with this first volume for sure, especially when it comes to Raffy. Watching her blush and learn about love for the first time is a nice occasional release of serotonin. The four panel style here keeps the focus on the comedic expressions, but the art really shines when it comes to Raffy. Her cutesy yet elegant demon girl design can easily shift from adorable to gorgeous depending on the mood. And her nervous feelings towards Loren are adorable, as is their dynamic. I don’t know if I’ll remember to get the other two volumes when they come out, but My Poison Princess Is Still Cute is a solid English debut for Chihiro Sakutake. I’m sure we’ll get more monster girl cuteness from them in the future.
My Poison Princess Is Still Cute, Volume 1 is available now on Amazon.
Title: My Poison Princess Is Still Cute, Vol. 1
Media Type: Manga
Publisher: Yen Press
Story & Art: Chihiro Sakutake
Translation: Andria McKnight
Lettering: Carolina Hdz