毒姫 1 [Dokuhime 1] - Mitsukazu Mihara winning

YES. This had everything, I love about manga all wrapped up in one well crazy world. I tread lightly on "goth" fantasy because sometimes the characters do not match the feel of the manga. It was been quite a long, long, long, time where I have had such a horror gothic manga grab me. Why?

1) THE TORTURED CHARACTERS. The cast is amazing---from the beginning of the Poison Princess, I was going through the pages intrigued, terrified, and even squeamish at times when you first meet Belladonna and the boy that wants her... This is just the prologue, and sets the tone of the manga and the introduction of our favorite poison princess! After you meet full cast of characters and start seeing their different plights, you just sit there suffering along with them---thinking will there even be a decent resolution?

2) THE WORLD. Excellent world-building from the start. I'm immediately transported to these crazy kingdoms and rulers---each trying to plot whether for revenge or keep a stable kindgom---along with the art is just breathtaking. Talking about your gothic royal movers and shakers...

3) DEXTER ELEMENTS. Psychotic-madness is inflicted upon many characters and it's just scary and great at the same time. It has creepy undertones that reminiscent of this old French movie Jeux interdits or Forbidden Games

I'm not going to spoil this manga...but it is definitely one of my new favorites!