Torture Princess: Fremd Torturchen, Vol. 7.5

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 suspect a lot of people looked at the decimal point in the next volume of Torture Princess and went “Really? NOW is when you decide to release a short story volume?”. After all, we JUST began not only a new story arc, but a story arc that is missing three of the four main cast members, and was promising even more horrible things happening to both deserving and undeserving people, and also possibly snarks and boojums. But also, honestly, this volume is a bit of a relief. The last book was excellent but emotionally exhausting, and I wasn’t quite sure whether I was ready to dive right into more torture games. This is not to say that all the stories in this book are fluffy fun. Come on. It’s Torture Princess. The content warnings are baked in. But compared to the rest of the series? Yeah, this is fluffy fun. Ah, yes, and one more thing: don’t read this out of order – the other stories may all come at the beginning of the series, but the last one is a prelude to Vol. 8.

The volume has four “main” short stories, interspersed with two smaller ones split up. We see Kaito, still struggling to be Elizabeth’s manservant, being haunted by a half-flayed ghost; Elizabeth being invited to a grotesque banquet by a bunch of folks who love her for all the wrong reasons; Kaito and Elizabeth realizing that Hina is missing, and searching the entire castle to try to find her; and the last story, which I will get to in a bit. Each one of those has a “front” and “back” side, showing first one POV and then the same events from another POV – while this can be annoying when you’re reading the same dialogue twice at times, that is kept mostly to a minimum. We also get several first-person monologues from the Saint, and a series of short interludes showing us Alice and her “father” are still deeply screwed up. But hey, bunny!

The final story shows us a celebration dinner for Elizabeth’s third anniversary as Captain of the Peace Brigade. Kaito and Hina are back at the castle whipping up a grand feast, inviting all their friends, and flirting shamelessly. The reader is, of course, aware that this is a giant pile of bullshit, as is Elizabeth, but she goes along with it as long as possible, and we get a few scenes that we are likely never going to get near ever again. What makes this so interesting is that some of the narrative critiques the fact that events are still proceeding as they are – in other words, it’s yelling at the author, in-universe, for not stopping Torture Princess with Book 6. I mean, I did that too! But in a review, not in a Torture Princess story. It’s fascinating and layered, and in the end I think the author does actually justify going forward. Which is good, because in reality Kaito and Hina are still locked in their Cage of Stasis, and Elizabeth has to fight a war.

This is not really a skippable short story collection – the end literally leads straight into Book 8 – but that’s OK, as it’s worth reading even if you do normally skip them. A strong stomach is needed as always, but it’s another winner from this author who writes horribly gratuitous gore much better than the author of Roll Over and Die.

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