You see, I‘ve been seeing this trope for years and only recently realized how weird that is. It’s not always a little girl, nor is it always a demon king, but it’s definitely always someone that can be thought of as a minor with someone else who is definitely not. More often than not, the other person tends to be at least a century old.
Whether you are hesitant to call that pedophilia or not, I call that weird.
So what brought me to this thought? Recently, I’ve been reading manga for no other reason than because I felt like it. And I found an app that gave me access to tons of titles, including one called (or roughly translating to) Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts by Yu Tomofuji. It’s about a human girl who was supposed to be eaten by a Demon King during this annual ceremony, but somehow manages to become his queen (or queen candidate) instead.
To be quite honest, I love this story and it’s super cute, but there is no denying the fact that the main character, Saliphie, looks 12 at best. A young 14 on a good day. And whether the demon king in this story is 99 years older (as she’s the 99th sacrifice) or not, it doesn’t stop the fact that he is noticeably older than Saliphie.
However, I can’t pretend that is the only story to do this. Ancient Magus Bride has a similar setup with a different premise. Inuyasha’s Kagome is 15 when she meets our favorite dog demon. Even Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, came under fire when people realized that the female lead, though 19 at the time, was still in high school when she meets her 939-year-old love interest.
(Y’all should really watch Goblin, it was sooo good.)
So, why is this a thing? And I’m not going to even imply that this is an Asian TV thing, because Twilight exists. Buffy also exists, but she got with Spike during the later college seasons, and I just plain wasn’t watching when she was in high school with Angel.
I don’t get it. Like, yeah, I’m still gonna read The Seven Deadly Sins, but that doesn’t make it not weird that an over 3000-year-old demon is constantly groping a sixteen-year-old, reincarnation of lost love or not.
Even if the little girl is your honest to God soulmate, there’s nothing wrong with sending shorty on a life quest until she turns 25 or something. You waited a millenia for her, a few more years won’t hurt.
So I wrote this almost two years ago, not remembering that I too had intentions of using this exact trope in my writing. I briefly thought about changing it, but its a plot point that I really don’t want to let go of. My Demon King has no intentions of marrying a little girl, but I do intend to talk about the stigma around being betrothed to a child, and how a society that accepts something as wild as soulmates decides to handle such an uneven situation.
And so the trope lives on.
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