Koucha Ouji (also known as Black Tea Prince or Tea Prince) is a shoujo manga by Nanpei Yamada, which was serialized in Hana to Yume from 1997 to 2004 and compiled into 25 volumes.
According to a legend, at midnight during the full moon, if you mix a cup of tea in a white china cup with a silver spoon in the reflection of the moon, a tea prince will appear to grant you three wishes! Well, as it turns out, the legend is true, as Taiko, Yukiko and Haruka of the Tea Association soon discover. Earl Grey and Assam appear ready to grant the wishes of those who brewed their tea but they can't really grant big wishes.. nor can they go back to their world until their summoners use all three wishes...
It has a Sequel called Koucha Ouji no Himegimi that focuses on Taiko's daughter Anri, which ran from 2013 to 2018.
Tropes used in this work include:
- The Beautiful Elite: All the tea princes and princess are very beautiful people that can turn heads whenever they appear in their full form.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Taiko and Assam with Taiko being the one that regularly throwing punches and kicks. It gets to the point that even when her memories of him had been erased, she still attacked him as a reflex when he gets her flushed.
- Daddy's Girl: Taiko was very close with her dad before his death. And in the sequel, her daughter with Assam is very huge on this trope too.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: The student president Kikuka was quite cold and harsh in her first few appearances. But once Peco came to her, Kikuka changed and smiled a lot more, her demeanor also became more gentle and motherly.
- Express Delivery: It took not even a month after conception for Assam to be born since his mother is a human living in the Tea World where time flows much slower compare to Human World's.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ceylon. He's maybe very abrasive but the guy also has a much softer side that shows up now and then.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Assam, his mother was human but he himself isn't that much different from people on his father's side.
- Interspecies Romance: Happens when a human and a tea prince(ss) fall in love with each other, which often leads to the Love Hurts and Sadistic Choice scenario below.
- Love at First Punch: In the "Snow White" Omake, the prince (Assam) falls in love with Snow White (Taiko) after the first time they meet where she kicks him, and then after the second meeting ends with him on his ass once more, he decides to marry her.
- Love Hurts: Almost any kind of relationships between a tea prince/princess with a human will eventually end in tears because once the three wishes are fulfilled, the former will need to return to their kingdom and the latter cannot summon another one again. Even if the summoner tries to delay it by not wishing at all, their tea prince will inevitably outlive them. And God help you if you two actually fall in love with each other. Because of that, some tea princes make a rule for themselves to not get too attach with their human master, often by nagging them to finish the wishes fast so they can go home, or if they're an heir to their kingdom, will quickly inherit the throne as soon as possible to stop going to the human world altogether.
- Love Triangle: Both Assam and Haruka loves Taiko and unfortunate for the latter, Taiko only sees him as her childhood friend while returning Assam's feeling.
- In the past, Darjeeling, Gopaldhara and Aliya. But it was much more complicate than the above example as in the beginning, Gopaldhara didn't love Aliya but kept her around to make sure he wouldn't lost Darjeeling. He did seem to come to care for her during their marriage and believes that until her death, Aliya was still in love with the other man. Howerever, according to Darjeeling, at some point during her marriage with Gopalhara, she has actually fallen in love with him for real or at least care enough for him to see Gopalhara as Assam's actual father. Not to mention, people have observed that there was no way that Assam was a child that was raised between two people not in love with each other.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Once the secret about Aliya, Assam's mother, and her summon prince Darjeeling is revealed, it becomes doubtful whether Assam is actually Gopaldhara's son or not, but everyone said that at some points in the past, Aliya fell and miscarried her baby and then married Gopaldhara to have Assam. Turn out he's really Darjeeling's son, and Gopaldhara just used the accident as an excuse to make up the miscarriage and presented Assam as his own son.
- Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: The student president Kikuka and her tea princess Peco are very, very close. The mangaka's love of ship teasing them, especially in the Omakes doesn't help.
- To be specific, In the Snow White side-story, Kikuka was acting as the evil queen and Peco as her Magic Mirror, the mirror accidentally ate the poisonous apple and the queen immediately saved her with a kiss! The story ended with the queen and the mirror lived happily ever after together!
- Similarly, in the Alice in Wonderland side-story, Kikuka (playing the Queen of Hearts) also have a very close bond with her Magic Mirror (played by Peco) and said Mirror acts like a scorned wife when the Queen shows too much interest in Alice, resulting in Mirror cursing both Alice and Chesire. Then both Kikuka and Peco play Alice's sister and her maid; again, they're very close.
- Sadistic Choice: When a tea prince/princess falls in love with a human, they have three choices and none of those can lead to a full happy ending.
- The first choice is that they don't follow their heart, get the three wishes done, return to the Tea World, moving on with their lives and duties and accept that they will never meet again. Yukiko chose this because she knew her tea prince cannot falling in love with her without causing both of them great pain.
- The second choice is that they bring their human lover to their world to live together, but because time flow different between the two worlds and the human's time is still that of a mortal, they will suffer Rapid Aging and other side effects (such as lack of sleeps) and then dies of old age after a few years in the Tea World. The most recent victim of this choice was Assam's mom who passed away as an old woman while Assam was still very young. Alternately, the prince stays in the human world but they would eventually see their lover grow old and die.
- The third choice, the tea prince/princess becomes mortal to be with their lover in the human world; but the catch here is that everyone's memories of them, including their human lover's, will be erased and there is no guarantee that the two could fall in love again. Though it shows that even with that, there're still chances that those memories don't completely disappear and can even return with the right trigger. Taiko and Assam chose this path, with the latter promised the former that even if she did forget him, he would make her fall in love with him again, and he did.
- Theme Naming: Obviously, all the tea prince and princess are named after the tea that would summon them, like Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon, Pekoe, Princeton, and Darjeeling.
- Three Wishes: What a tea fairy will you after you successfully performed the summoning ritual, but it should be noted that you cannot wish for something that's too big or affects other people except for certain circumtances when it allows so. It also depends on what prince you get that you can have a lot of flexibility in wishing, too. Some princes will freely perform small magics to help you in daily lives and save the wishes for more important things; some other princes will only strictly perform his magic for you when you actually make a wish.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Taiko as the tomboy and Yukiko as the girly girl.
- Yandere: It's ambiguous whether it was romantic or not, but the whole mess of the main plot point started and three people lost their lives because Gopaldhara loves Darjeeling too much to let him go and have all memories be erased. In the present days, he wants to start it again to not lost Assam too.
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time flows slower in the Tea World, so a year there is amount to 10 years in the Human World, or 2 days in Tea World is about 2 weeks of Human time. The catch is that because people that cross between the two world are still bounded by their native time so a human living in Tea World will age very fast and die in about 5 years there (from the natives' perspective) while a tea fairy can live with their human friends for a few years but barely age themselves.