The Pirate and the Princess tells the story of a princess whisked away by a pirate. She goes on a sea-going adventure and what she learns turns her world upside down.
The Pirate and the Princess, by Sapphire, is a historical romance centered around two characters: Princess Kirianna of Altira, an optimistic, intelligent, and dutiful woman, and a pirate captain who appears to be an intimidating man.
As a warning, this review discusses some spoilers for The Pirate and the Princess!
Kirianna is ready to meet a suitor but is not having much luck. That is, until she happens upon the pirate captain, telling him her true interests. Before she is about to accept Philippe’s marriage proposal, the Captain barges in. She is captured in hopes of getting her father to pay a ransom. Her father agrees, but she is taken away, even though this wasn’t the original plan.
The Pirate and the Princess has compelling characters and storyline. Kiri realizes that marriage is political. She is about to marry before she is whisked away to a pirate ship, the S.M. Hellfire. It was interesting to see Tristan, the cook on the pirate ship, challenge her on marrying at such a young age (20), and on the logic behind an arrange marriage itself.
I liked how Kiri goes from not trusting the pirates to realizing they aren’t bad people after all. They are shown as anything but villains or monsters who are out to get anyone. Her change of heart begins with Tristan, the cook, the cabin boy Finnean, and later with other crew members. All of them act like a family.
At first, it seems curious that the Captain has a dress to give Kiri. However, it is later revealed that the Captain, who overthrew the previous captain, Adrian, is a woman in disguise. She looks androgynous and is not very hyper-masculine, unlike some other crew members. As the comic goes forward, Kiri and the Captain are drawn toward one another. For instance, the Captain helps Kiri when she is terrified by a thunderstorm and later reveals her name as “Mathias” and later as Maria, which turns out to be her real name.
The webcomic, which has more than 80 episodes, is written and illustrated by Sapphire, with new issues posted every Sunday. This is her first webcomic. It was originally written in 2013 by Sapphire and her girlfriend, now wife. According to Sapphire, it was rewritten four times before it came to the current version!
Some of the webcomic’s strongest features are its vibrant colors and style, whether the characters or the backgrounds. They jump off the screen, whether the comic is read on a computer or a mobile device.
The webcomic deals with heavy topics such as homophobia, child abuse, sexual assault, death, and more, making clear that assaulting a woman is not okay. Even Kiri is in shock after accidentally killing a man, and her world is turned upside down when learning the truth about her father.
There are also classic themes of evil, devious characters like Samuel and those despicable in another way, like Kiri’s father. I liked the quieter, less tense moments of the comic too. This includes when Kiri finds a black cat, with heterochromia, on the ship and names it Bartholomew, or when she reads a book to the crew.
Apart from Kiri and Maria, it was confirmed that Adrian is bisexual, Tristian is a closeted gay man, Nathaniel is a trans man, and there are many possible ships among the characters. According to Sapphire, in a Q&A, the story was influenced by The Princess Bride, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Goonies, Peter Pan, Treasure Planet, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
The same Q&A confirmed that the story will be long, with 40 chapters coming to a total of 218 pages or over 145,000 words! Since it is a historical romance of sorts, it is based loosely on the 18th century and how pirates lived. Another Q&A said that all the characters are in the LGBTQ community.
The Pirate and the Princess is one of the many recent stories which have focused on or featured pirates. This includes the space pirates in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Resistance, and Star Wars Rebels. There’s also the space pirate doppelgangers in Cleopatra In Space‘s “Pirates” episode, the sea pirate captain Lukkage in Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Santiago Montes, an eight-year-old sea pirate in Santiago of the Seas, or the space pirates in Edens Zero.
The webcomic also reminds me of the Mysticons episode “The Princess and the Pirate,” where Zarya Moonwolf, a magical warrior, and Kitty Boon, a sky/air pirate, embrace each other. Their romantic relationship was confirmed by series creator Sean Jara. Unfortunately, a kiss between them was not included in the episode. Opposition from a specific show partner caused to be not be included even though Nickelodeon supported the kiss!
The Pirate and the Princess makes me think about the recently concluded anime series Fena, Pirate Princess. That series shares some of the same themes as this webcomic, although unintentionally.
The Pirate and the Princess is available to read on WebToon.
For more great webcomic recommendations, check out our Wednesday Webcomics archives!
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