Torture Princess: Fremd Torturchen, Vol. 2

By Keishi Ayasato and Saki Ukai. Released in Japan as “Isekai Goumon Hime” by Media Factory. Released in North America Yen Press. Translated by Nathaniel Hiroshi Thrasher.

The first thing that threw me off about this second volume of Torture Princess was seeing the main antagonists get whittled down so fast. We’re given a list of about twelve in the first book, which deals with taking out the most dangerous one (though for Vlad fans, an echo of his soul is left behind to provide considerable plot points in this book). I had assumed that the next few books would have us going through the list one by one. Imagine my surprise a seeing the main antagonist here, the Grand King, using four or five different villains with her mind control, all of whom get dispatched in some way or another by our heroes. Oh, and they also take out another one at the start. Isn’t that going too fast? What will you do if you run out of bad guys? Actually, the cliffhanger ending to this book suggests what might happen. For the moment, however, let’s concern ourselves with the Grand King, a woman who doesn’t like Elisabeth but sure loves torture.

Last time we focused on how weak Kaito was compared to his Torture Princess benefactor and his Ball-Jointed Doll Maid who loves him. He is aware of this, so spends much of this book trying to gain more power of his own that he can use to protect the few things in this new world that don’t disgust him. He’ll need that power, too: the Grand King has sealed off Elisabeth’s powers and she is incapacitated for much of the book, and the Grand King is also leading an army of mind-controlled slaves to go to Elisabeth’s castle and kill everyone. Sure, Hina can take out a lot of them, but there’s only so much she can do on her own. No, Kaito needs more power. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to look far to figure out how to get it, he just has to do what he’s proven to be best at: suffer, get tortured, and bleed. A lot.

Again, the big drawback in this book is also its biggest draw: the torture. It’s cartoonish in nature, particularly when you get the descriptions of innocent humans with innards everywhere and insanely eating their own stomachs, etc. Fortunately, we actually manage to save one or two people here, though I won’t be surprised if in a book or two Kaito finds out the boy and girl he saved turn out to be used in the new leather coat he just bought or something grotesque. The strength of the book likes both in its grand guignol tone and characters. No one is shy and repressed in this book – Kaito comes closest, but after what he does towards the end of the book you end up both impressed and also appalled. His relationship with Hina reminded me of a darker turn on Subaru and Rem: appropriate, as like Rem in the current Re: Zero arc, Hina ends up in a magical plot coma, which is likely for the best, as her and Kaito’s story comes to a very satisfying conclusion here in Book 2 of about 11, so no doubt we need to figure out where we go from here.

Again, this is a book only for those who can tolerate a LOT of graphic violence – it’s the entire plot. For those who can, though, Torture Princess still proves surprisingly resilient. To my continued surprise, I’ll be reading the next one.

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