After a miserable life of being mistreated by his father, Kaito Sena is murdered by his tortured, just to be summoned by another torturer, Elisabeth Le Fanu, the Torture Princess. She wants him to be her servants while she is on a quest to kill 13 demons before being killed herself as “the proud wolf and lowly sow”.
This LN is rather dark, as the title implies. The first thing I appreciated when reading was the prose, especially Elisabeth’s. She has an eloquence befitting of her moniker. There is also a certain ethereal and fantastic atmosphere, as little is said about her power, the world or anyone in fact. All it takes for her to summon torture tools is a snap of her fingers.
Now, on the weaker side, I think that this first volume is too fast. So many enemies appeared already, just to die in the same chapter. But even worst sadly, is that the horror elements just relies on numerous short description of visual gore. At first, it can make one uncomfortable. The beginning was greatly for Kaito
But you get used to them and the writing doesn’t linger on them, or the emotions of the witness.
Kaito is not the best emotional vector in my opinion. He may be weak, but an immortal body and Elisabeth as a powerful ally weaken all fear, dread and tension in the story. In the end, you are just left with a list of grotesque visions. I would have preferred fewer but long moment pushing the imagination to all the human senses with raw emotions being the icing on the cake. Just picturing them isn’t enough. I wish it was even sicker.
Stylistically, it’s written in third person from Kaito’s point of view, with a good mix of narration and dialogues. It flows well with a rather descriptive and imaged narration. It’s a step above a lot of isekai.
The coloured artwork are just fitting with an ethereal air to them. B&W may have some blood, but that’s all. Instead, we either character introduction, or rather important moment moment.
Honestly, I think this would better fit the anime format. The pacing fits and the horror can be handled by the visual work. Music would also enhance the atmosphere, and more than anything, giving voice to Elisabeth with a sweet and haughty voice.
So, Torture Princess is a theatrical tragedy with sadly a little bit too cardboard decoration for my taste. I may probably pick the next volume, but somehow, the first volume feels already like a complete one shot. Not many questions are left and the final enemy of that volume already sounded like a final boss. The bad part seems a bit long in this review, but I think some people may enjoy it more than me, especially if they associate gore with horrors, unlike me. Synopsis of volume 2 picked my interest as it may add more tension to the story.
There is a 15 chapters manga adaptation which faithfully covers the first volume. Visuals does heighten some of the horrors, but the LN also have some very graphic description. Some are better in each.
Author: Keishi Ayasato