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Manga / Tis Time for "Torture," Princess

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The Hordes of Hell and Imperial Army are in conflict. The Hellhorde has captured the Imperial Princess, who is also captain of the Third Legion, and imprisoned her alongside her talking holy sword, Ex. The Grand Inquisitor Torture Tortura has begun to interrogate the Princess with the most inhuman "tortures" she can conceive, like... fluffy toast, video games, and... bubble wrap?

'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess (Hime-sama, "Goumon" no Jikan desu) is a weekly manga written by Robinson Haruhara, with art by Hirakei, that focuses on our brave Princess' attempts to resist the demons' attempts to get her to spill the Empire's secrets with their horrible temptations. The original manga is published on the Shonen Jump Plus website, and an official English translation is available for free on Manga Plus.

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'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess contains examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Louch Brittan's first attempt to rescue the Princess goes awry when he gets caught up casting a teleportation spell that requires close proximity, and his hand creeps up and grabs the Princess's breast.
  • Afraid of Needles: In Chapter 19, Tortura prepares to give the Princess a check-up, but the Princess is so afraid of getting stuck with a needle for a blood sample she ends up talking anyway.
  • Anachronism Stew: The story overall seems to be set in a medieval fantasy world, yet it has video games, smartphones, PCs, digital cameras, and many more modern things.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In chapter 18, it looks like Tortura is getting serious when she brandishes a hot iron... but then she uses it to melt some Raclette cheese, which is the real "torture".
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    • Chapter 37 introduces Vanilla Peschutz, a vampire girl who seems to be the most threatening Harm-Marshal of all... then it turns out her idea of "serious torture" is a roller coaster, which backfires when it turns out the Princess loves thrill rides.
  • Barefoot Captives: The regular attire of the Princess, from the very first chapter onwards, is a ragged oversized shirt, a chained choker, some underwear, and nothing else, with her legs and feet left completely exposed to the cold hard stone floor during "tortures". She sometimes switches to more comfortable casual attire (including shoes) when there's no "torture" going on, or the "torture" takes place away from the dungeon, but she's seen in this outfit more times than not. This actually ends up being intentionally used for the "torture" involving cats, where the thing that gets her to give up the secret is a cat adorably nuzzling against her bare toes.
  • Beach Episode: Chapter 29's "torture" involves beach sword fighting, so we get to see the Princess and her captors playing around in swimsuits.
  • Benevolent Boss: The Hell-Lord is this, to nobody's surprise. When Vanilla ends up unable to get information from the Princess for a second time, he notes that her failure must be dealt with and declares that...he and all of his followers should be extra supportive so that she doesn't get discouraged.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In Chapter 3, Tortura's lieutenants Inki and Youki get the Princess to crack by offering to let her play Super Jump Plussers (a combination of Super Smash Bros. and Shonen Jump Plusnote ) with them.
    • Chapter 8's "torture" involves "Gorilla's March" cookies, a play on the real-life cookie brand Koala's March.
    • Chapter 14 features Tortura showing off her "torture" skills with a can of Sappari beer (a pun on the real-life Japanese beer brand Sapporo).
    • The "torture" for Chapter 32 involves french fries and a chocolate pie from Ryoutsunalds (a parody of McDonalds combined with the name of the MC from Kochikame, Kankichi Ryoutsu) with the "torture" itself involving biting a hole into the pie and dipping the fries into the chocolate.
  • Cat Folk: Beast Master Krall, one of the Hell-Lord's lieutenants, has cat ears and a tail.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Thanks to the Princess's strict upbringing, she's tempted by even the simplest pleasures, like takoyaki or video games.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The "tortures" never include anything truly harmful, and most of them include tempting the Princess with something she really wants and denying her that until she caves in (which is, every time).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: For all her moronic moments we're shown, the Princess is a genuinely badass swordswoman. This is shown in the "Beach Swordfight" chapter, where she effortlessly defeats her opponents. Yeah, even the demons themselves forgot that she's this strong. Of course, she ends up having so much fun she completely forgot to escape.
  • Dark Horse Victory: In chapter 34, the Hell-Lord's arranged it so that Mao-Mao will have to choose "someone you like" for the borrowing race, expecting her to choose him over the Princess. Mao-Mao instead chooses her mother the Queen, who hadn't appeared or been mentioned in the story before.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite playing it up with their Card-Carrying Villain attitude and calling their interactions with the Princess "torture", none of the demons in this story can actually be called "evil". For all they "torture" the Princess for various secrets, their methods are often ultimately harmless and they frequently allow the Princess to indulge herself beyond what's needed as her reward for talking.
  • Doting Parent: The Hell-Lord towards his daughter Mao-Mao. When she manages to get valuable information out of the Princess, he refuses to use it because he wants to frame and display it in his room. In another instance, he watched a video about her playing in the park so much he forgot where he put the army's password book. Chapter 27 doesn't even involve the Princess at all and focuses entirely on the Hell-Lord spending a day playing with his daughter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Beast Master Krall is introduced torturing the Princess by taking away a baby polar bear's toy... but Krall is such an animal lover, she immediately feels bad for doing it.
    • In chapter 40, the Hell-Lord refuses to defile a grave, even if it means getting his hands on a powerful artifact buried there.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • Despite being the main character of the story, and hearing numerous tales of adventure and secrets from her, we have yet to learn the name of the Princess, with everybody simply calling her "princess".
    • We also haven't learned the Hell-Lord's name, but seeing as he doesn't get involved in the plot much beyond interacting with his subordinates and daughter, all of whom would of course only refer to him by title or as "papa", that's more excusable.
  • Evil Overlord: The Hell-Lord, who is the king of the demons. That said, the "evil" part is nearly nonexistent. He's an honorable guy who loves his daughter very much and regularly hosts fun events for his people. According to the characters, the Hell-horde army also has rules to ensure the members' well-being. Even the Princess, ostensibly a prisoner of war, is treated incredibly well.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The worst tortures the demons can think up seem to involve things like letting instant ramen get soggy, making cute animals cry by taking away their toys, or eating "Gorilla March" cookies without taking the time to enjoy the little pictures of gorillas on them.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Krall is in charge of taming ferocious monsters for the Hellhorde, but she tends to gush over them like house pets, as seen with Mad Wolf in chapter 16.
  • Food as Bribe: A common "torture" for the Princess is to show her delicious food and offer it to her in exchange for information. The first chapter shows this happening with crispy toast and beef stew. The Princess often falls for these ploys quickly because they're foods she's never had and/or has always wanted to try. The few times she doesn't fall for it right away, it's because the food is something she's already eaten plenty of times or dislikes, at which point Tortura adds some unexpected twist that makes the Princess fold. For example, making cup noodles and not opening the cup after they've been left to sit for three minutes, which threatens to make the noodles soggy and inedible.
  • Food Porn: The manga goes into rather vivid detail at times describing the delicious foods with which Tortura and her lackeys tempt the Princess.
  • Friendless Background: The Princess had such a strict upbringing, she had little interaction with others outside of sparring during weapons training. Which means she's tempted by social activities like playing video games or going to an amusement park.
  • Friendly Enemy: Despite the "tortures" she endures, the Princess quickly becomes good friends with her tormentors, especially Enki and Youki. In one instance, the Princess immediately gives up information, not because of any "torture", but because Youki had gotten sick and she wouldn't be allowed to visit until she talked. This eventually ends up lampshaded in Ch.36, as when the Princess says that while she may be enemies with the Oni sisters, they are also friends, Ex questions how both of those can be true simultaneously.
  • Funny Background Event: In chapter 34, Inki and Youki's little brother Insuke apparently ended up borrowing a car for the borrowing race, and proceeds to drive it to the finish line.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The demons may call it "torture", but the entire premise of this manga is the Princess playing with them. We don't even see any actual antagonistic conflict among the characters.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Tortura gets these when contemplating how to prevent the Princess from earning her freedom by winning a beach sword fight. Only instead of having an angel and devil, she has a devil and a politician, with the devil representing emotion and the politician representing logic. Both of them tell Tortura to cheat, with the politician saying to do it using loopholes.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • The Princess often outright helps the demons in their torture, in the name of her chivalric code.
      • In chapter 39, Gilga tries to use a divine flaming sword to make fried rice for the Princess' torture, but she can't control it so she asks the Princess to do it. Instead of refusing this outrageous request, the Princess is touched by Gilga "throwing away her pride" and helps her make the fried rice. Yes, she later gave in to the torture and spilled another secret.
      • In chapter 42, Tortura steps out to take a phone call, leaving a bowl of rice behind. Instead of just eating the rice, the Princess insists they wait until Tortura returns so the "torture" can properly commence. After learning the reason for the phone call (Tortura's cousin was about to deliver a baby), the Princess immediately tells a secret without any tortures so Tortura can quickly go to the hospital.
    • The Hell-Lord himself isn't any better in this regard. At the end of chapter 42 above, he refuses to listen to the secret the Princess told, because it's not good manners to abuse the Princess' good will.
  • Horned Humanoid: Common but not universal among the Hellhorde, including the Hell-Lord, the Queen, Mao-Mao, Enki, Youki, and Tortura.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Chapter 6's "torture" involves the Princess relaxing in a hot spring with Giant, another of the Hell-Lord's minions who throws in a big, bosomy hug for good measure.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Chapters are called "tortures".
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: A common gag in the series is Ex proudly proclaiming that the Princess will never bow down upon such lowly temptation, only for the Princess to get tempted in the very next panel.
  • Irony:
    • Many chapters make a big point of describing the Princess's past exploits or her stern training and upbringing. However, it's often exactly because of that strict upbringing that she's tempted by the "tortures" inflicted on her, as they frequently involve offering her things she never got to try because of it, such as video games, various foods, or even just playing on the playground with Mao-Mao.
    • In chapter 37, Vanilla threatens the Princess with a massive, scary roller coaster... but Vanilla ends up blabbing one of her secrets because she's more terrified of the ride than the Princess.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Chapter 31's "torture' involves having the Princess play with two cats, one who likes to sit on laps and the other who likes to nuzzle. Just from their mere presence the Princess almost instantly reveals a secret before being stopped by Ex, and when it comes to the actual "torture", the lap-lover stays there until her legs fall asleep, and the nuzzler rubs against her bare toes, which causes her to go into Cuteness Overload and spill her secret.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: A semi-recurring character is the knight Louch Brittan, who's doing his best to rescue the Princess. He... doesn't really live up to the image, being rather below-average in terms of looks. He does indeed mean well, though, and he only really fails because each "rescue" is performed in a way that makes the Princess not want to be saved by him.
  • Meaningful Name: Several of the characters have names relating to something about them, from the obvious (Giant the giant, Tortura the "torturer"), to the subtle (Beast Master Krall, who deals with things that "crawl"), to the somewhat obscure (Louch Brittan, a sorta-princely knight, being a reference to Lelouch Britannia, a sorta-knightly prince).
  • Minion with an F in Evil:
    • Granted, calling the demons in this story "evil" is a major stretch, but every time Mao-Mao has tried her hand at "torturing" the Princess, she's completely failed to get anything out of her due to being too harmless, not even damaging in the emotional sense. The only reason she managed to get anything out of the Princess at all was because of how endearingly cute she is.
    • Another case is Vanilla Peschutz, who also does a terrible job getting secrets out of the Princess. However, unlike with Mao-Mao, whose failures come about from being too harmless, Vanilla is actually pretty good at coming up with "tortures", she just has terrible luck making them work on the Princess, such as her first "torture" involving a roller coaster failing because the Princess loves thrill rides, and her second "torture" involving a homemade cake failing because she's so strongly moved by how the Princess fully understood and appreciated the effort she made in baking the cake, despite her terrible job decorating it, that she lets the Princess have it without giving up a secret.
  • Mundane Luxury: Pretty much the entire reason all of the "tortures" the Princess goes through work without fail. Every one of them may just involve letting her enjoy normal everyday life things such as food, entertainment, and friendship, but the fact the Princess was raised her entire life deprived of anything that could be considered "normal" makes her heavily susceptible to those "tortures".
  • Mundane Utility: Chapter 39 sees the Princess and Gilga the blacksmith use a powerful Flaming Sword to... make fried rice.
  • Naked on Arrival: In chapter 20, Louch Brittan makes another attempt to rescue the Princess with a new teleportation spell, but this one can't send living and non-living matter at the same time. When the Princess realizes this would lead to her ending up naked in front of who knows how many of her subjects, she panics and chickens out.
  • Not So Above It All: In one chapter the demons decide to interrogate Excalibur instead of the Princess. They do so by having their blacksmith perform maintenance on him such as sharpening. Just as he's really starting to enjoy it, she pretends to give up and mentions that it's a shame he won't cave otherwise she could give him the full treatment. He caves.
  • Poke the Poodle:
    • The various "tortures" inflicted on the Princess consist of offering her foods she's never had or has always wanted to try, playing video games with her, or showing her cute animals. The primary gag of the series is that these seemingly silly "tortures" regularly work, as the Princess succumbs to eat that food, play games with her new friends, or cuddle with cute critters.
    • The secondary gag of the series is the Hell-Lord usually dismissing the secrets gained by this, no matter how big or small, often for petty reasons such as because taking advantage of the secret would involve missing his Sunday morning anime as they're broadcast and he doesn't like to watch them later.
  • The Power of Friendship: In a rare instance of this being exploited by the bad guys, Enki and Youki exploit the Princess's Friendless Background by offering her the chance to hang out with them and have fun.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Even though the Princess is a prisoner, she still wears a small crown.
  • School Festival: Chapters 33-34 take place during a sports festival at Maomao's school, Hellholm Pre-School.
  • Sick Episode:
    • Chapters 30 and 31 have Tortura come down with a sore throat, which prevents her from effectively "torturing" the Princess until she gets better. She gets around this in Ch. 30 by preparing a meal that lets the food do the talking for her, but for Ch. 31 she just stands on the sidelines and lets somebody else do the "torture".
    • In chapter 43, it's the Princess' turn to fall ill, with Tortura looking after her.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • In chapter 14, the Hell-Lord decides to put Tortura to the test by having her "torture" him.
    • In chapter 15, Tortura decides to "torture" the Princess's Talking Weapon Ex.
    • In chapter 27, the story foregoes the "torture" entirely in favor of the Hell-Lord and Mao-Mao spending the day together.
    • Subverted in chapters 33-34; the story looks like it's going to be about the Hell-Lord and Mao-Mao at her school's sports day, but it turns out the Hell-Lord has a "torture" in mind for the Princess.
    • Chapter 36 involves another "torturing" of the Hell-Lord, this time with the Oni sisters needing to get a secret out of him during a promotion exam.
    • Chapter 38 again foregoes the "torture", this time having Tortura enjoying hotel food while on a business trip.
    • Chapter 41 foregoes the "torture" to have Mao-Mao make cookies with her parents' help.
    • In chapter 43, Tortura takes care of the Princess while she's ill, putting the "torture" on hold.
    • In chapter 44, the Princess is invited to the Hellhorde's "great gathering", which this time involves potato-digging.
  • Talking Weapon: Excalibur, Ex for short, is the Princess' trusted companion who's aided her in many a perilous endeavor. He currently acts as the Only Sane Man when it comes to all this "torture" business, alongside him gradually losing faith in his former image of the Princess as an unflappable warrior.
  • Team Mom: Giant the giant manages to win Princess over with her kind, motherly demeanor, to the point Princess actually starts calling her "Mama".
  • Third Eye: The Hell-Lord and Mao-Mao. The Hell-Lord's third eye is orientated vertically on his forehead, while Mao-Mao's third eye lacks the black sclera of her other eyes.
  • Tyke-Bomb: It's never focused on, only used as the explanation for why the Princess will be able to "resist" the "torture" for each chapter, but it's shown that prior to being "captured", she was raised by the human kingdom as a living sword wielded against said kingdom's enemies, with her barely having a life outside of that. Of course, this fact is a large part of the reason the "torture" works, because the ways they "torture" her involve essentially treating her like a person, with needs and wants beyond her continued survival.
  • Villains Out Shopping:
    • Chapter 27 features the Hell-Lord and Mao-Mao playing together.
    • Chapter 38 features Tortura savoring hotel food while on a business trip.
    • Chapter 41 features the Hell-Lord and the Queen helping Mao-Mao bake cookies.
  • Warrior Princess: The Princess is the commander of the Third Legion of the Imperial Army, and has experienced various hardships and come out on top every time. Or so we're told. In the series proper she's an idiot who falls for the slightest "torture" and has no chance to display her badassery... until the chapter where she and her "torturers" play beach sword fighting. THEN we finally get to see that she truly is a complete badass, even if only in a completely non-lethal situation. She blitzes one of her opponents, popping their balloon without any time to react, and completely parries every shot from a gatling water gun. It makes one wonder why she hasn't made any attempt to escape by force...
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: The Hell-Lord only wears a cape on his upper body.
  • Wham Shot: The end of Ch.36 gives us the introduction of another new character, Vanilla Peschutz, one that seems much more intent on doing actual torture than the other demons. Even the short end-of-chapter narration worries about if things might get serious soon. Ultimately subverted when Vanilla's idea of "real" torture is a roller-coaster.
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