Torture Princess: Fremd Torturchen, Vol. 4

By Keishi Ayasato and Saki Ukai. Released in Japan as “Isekai Goumon Hime” by MF Bunko J. Released in North America Yen On. Translated by Nathaniel Hiroshi Thrasher.

I had mentioned that I was reading this new volume on Twitter, and someone replied to me “isn’t that just torture porn?”. It’s a reasonable question, given the title of the series and a good deal of the content. This fourth volume has slightly less grotesquery than previous ones, but that’s only by degree: there’s still many scenes here meant to disgust you. That said, I would argue it isn’t torture porn for the good reason that anyone reading this series ONLY for the gore is bound to be disappointed. The start of this book delves into mystery briefly, as Kaito and Hime try to discover what or who is slaughtering villages of beastmen. The end of the book, meanwhile, opens the Pandora’s Box of its lore and mythology, showing us that there’s far more disturbing creation myths than we really expected. The gore is there to drive the plot like all the other elements. And, once again, we have a book that is well-written if a bit off-putting because, well, intestines.

There’s also, surprise!, another Torture Princess, who we see on the cover here. Fate/Zero fans may have a head start on this one, though fortunately she doesn’t (so far) share her historical namesake’s fetishes. Jeanne de Rais was created much as Elisabeth Le Fanu was, only her sacrifices were 100% consensual. She’s thought to be the one behind the village massacres, but it turns out to be far more complex than that. She actually ends up being more of a guide/mentor figure, gathering everyone to a place the Church does not want to be seen and then showing them all what’s inside. She’s a fun new villain, though her method of speech takes some getting used to; half the time she sounds emotionless, the other half she talks like a foul-mouthed cowboy.

As for the others, well, fans of Subaru and Rem who want them to get it on will want to read this one, which may be as close as you’re going to get. (it does cut away before coitus ensues, so those reading for THAT will also be disappointed.) Kaito and Elisabeth continue to get very angry with each other for trying to sacrifice themselves so the other can live on, in a way that is half heartwarming and half hilarious. Izabella continues to be a trope that Japan loves, which is the one true believer in an increasingly corrupt Church. Sadly, she’s having a very bad last few weeks. And then there’s the Butcher, who has sort of been a comedy relief figure so far in the series, but here is shown to have a FAR larger role in everything that’s occurring, being a sort of combination of Judas and Mary Magdalene. I wonder what he’ll be doing going forward.

The book ends with a series of revelations about the world’s past religious history, and I suspect that the next book will involve the Church condemning absolutely everyone who found out about it to, well, torture. that said, with Elisabeth AND Jeanne on the same side, I doubt they’ll get far. Torture Princess can be grotesque, and is not for the faint of heart, but it’s far more than mere torture porn.

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