A manga by Mitsukazu Mihara, who also wrote Beautiful People
, this is about a group of women raised from birth to be assassins and have had all their bodily fluids
converted into lethal poisons.Dokuhime
starts with poisonous herbs under the cradle. Then under the sheets. And inside the clothes. Even mixed in the milk that they feed the newborn. This way the child gradually gets used to poisons and becomes the perfect assassination tool — the “Poison Princess”, whose every kiss, tear and even touch bring death. Her only chance of survival is to fulfil her duty as an assassin and find a way to live on in the enemy land to which she is sent… if her heart is strong enough.
Tropes featured include:
- Acquired Poison Immunity: All of the Poison Princesses. It's only a problem for them if they can't have poison.
- Adult Fear: Being targeted for assassination almost constantly.
- And Call Him George: Kait has a habit of accidentally killing things like pets, random animals, and his dad.
- Badass Cape: The King of Gandol wears a pretty cool dark red one.
- Bad Boss: The Queen of Mitragnya.
- Bare Your Midriff: Mao's outfit is fashionably ragged.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Both Hal and Mao qualify, though technically Lycoris is Hal's mistress (though Mao may possibly be more of a bastard).
- Can't Catch Up: This causes Lycoris and Hal to take levels in badass.
- Christmas Cake: The Evil Queen used to be very beautiful but recently has become aware she is getting older and may soon lose her looks.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: The medieval methods are particularly gruesome too.
- Costume Porn
- Crapsack World: This is NOT a happy place.
- Crouching Moron Hidden Bad Ass: Kait, who's stuck in the body and mind of a 13-year old as a result of guilt and trauma, is actually a genius engineer who finds the kingdom's secret water supply out of sheer curiosity and has the whole water supply memorized - something fake king Hal can't do without a map.
- Cultural Blending: Arabian Nights Days / Tipis And Totem Poles: The desert kingdom of Ischia is mostly American Indian-influenced with touches of Arabia and Mongolia.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Every single one of the main characters suffers from this.
- Deadly Decadent Court: All of the kingdoms seen so far.
- Decoy Protagonist: Belladonna served as main character for the first chapter, but then died and was replaced by Lycoris from then on.
- The Evil Prince: It has been prophesied... maybe.
- The deposed prince of Gandol is plotting against the current prince(s).
- Averted (so far) with Prince Haoma of Ischia, who only looks sinister due to his tattoos and piercings.
- Eyepatch of Power: The two Zakuro wear patches on their opposite eyes, though the stories of how they lost their eyes are very different.
- Fake King: Hal masquerades as his father, the previous king.
- Foreshadowing: In chapter 24 Lycoris dreams her hands are filled by red flames; by the end of the chapter her red hair is falling out because she hasn't gotten her regular diet of poison.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen isn't a very nice person.
- Half-Identical Twins: The triplets started out identical, but after the king's death they started changing (or not, in the youngest-looking one's case). The twins who hunt Lycoris are mirror-images due to one blinding herself to be her punished sister's other eye.
- Meaningful Name / Theme Naming: Most, if not all, of the princesses are named after flowers or plants, and usually toxic ones at that.
- Military Coup: How the princes' father became King of Gandol.
- Not So Different: Lycoris and Hal plus the two other brothers — one's a poison tester and the other keeps accidentally killing things.
- Not What It Looks Like: With Hal summoning Lycoris to his room every night, most people assume they're lovers. In fact Hal is just a sadist who likes to humiliate her regularly.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Kait.
- Offing the Offspring: It is part of their mission to stay and face the consequences though.
- Older Than They Look: Kait. He's 17, just like Hal and Mao, but he hasn't grown at all since he killed his father when he was 13.
- Younger Than They Look: Hal looks considerably older than his brothers since he secretly replaced his dad, despite the fact that he usually wears a mask when he's in public as the king.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Everything Lycoris gets to wear, as well as the Queen's outfits.
- Poisonous Person: It's right there in the title.
- Red-Headed Heroine / Evil Red Head: Lycoris, depending on the characters' POV. Also a Red-Headed Stepchild since her hair is "evil-colored" according to the queen and the poison mistress.
- Royally Screwed Up
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: What the Evil Queen is afraid of.
- Sadistic Choice: Most of the missions end up like this.
- Secret Test of Character: When the Queen of Mitragnya first met the princes' father, she set up a prank that involved poisoning people disguised as royals. He saw through it immediately and she's hated him ever since.
- Kind of an accidental one: Prince Haoma of Ischia nearly forfeits his right to rule when he interrupts his test of endurance to save a little girl. He accepts his punishment but then his father tells him that his compassion proved he's fit to take over.
- Screw Destiny: Lycoris is going for this. So was the king, when he gave his two other sons the cursed mark and dressed, raised, and treated them alike; it didn't work out too well for him, though.
- Single-Minded Twins: The Zakuro, who became assassins for this exact reason.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Lycoris has feelings for Kait, the kindest of the three brothers and the only one who cares for her.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Princess Belladonna and food-taster slave Asebi never had a chance together.
- There Are No Therapists: Justified in that it is the medieval period.
- Training from Hell: Childhood if you are a Poison Princess.
- Traumatic Haircut: After they out Lycoris as a Poison Princess, Hal hacks off most of her long hair. True to reality, parts of it are left uneven.
- Tomboyish Sidetails: Averted. Lycoris is left with this type of look, but she still continues to wear her hair in very feminine styles.
- Twincest: Zakuro; if nothing else, it is really heavily implied.
- Tykebomb: All of the Poison Princesses are these. And Kait, though this is mostly his brothers' fault.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Three princes and only one princess. And touching the princess means death. It was bound to happen.
- You Can't Fight Fate
- You Can't Go Home Again: Once the Poison Princesses have been sent out on their mission, the penalty for returning home is death.