Genre: Action, Yuri, Comedy
Publisher: Square Enix (JP), Yen Press (US)
Serialized in: Young Gangan
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Original Release Date: January 24, 2017
Review copy provided by Yen Press
In the history of famous duos, there’s Holmes and Watson, Jordan and Pippen, Batman and Robin, etc. For infamous, there’s Bonnie and Clyde, FUNimation and Nico Nico, Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy, etc. No matter where you look — a book or a movie or a music video — a pairing exists that’s either legendary or disastrous.
Koumori and Tokazura in Murciélago might transcend both categories, as they’re protagonists of a visually more violent and hornier version of You’re Under Arrest and Yurikuma Arashi, and I’m all in on this one.
Yoshimurakana establishes immediately that Kuroko Koumori is a master executioner. But instead of being put on death row, the state enlists her to kill “abnormals”. Who are these abnormals? Well one happens to be a former wrestling star powered by unsafe and inhuman drugs. The other is a dude who escaped the psych ward and sings Ode to Joy in German while ripping bodies apart on a train. So yeah, the ones the police can’t handle are the ones Kuroko takes care of.
Yoshimurakana also establishes Kuroko’s desire to be with women… takes like 4 pages into chapter 1. If she spots a cute girl, there’s a high chance she can’t control her libido. While she has certain tastes (she might complain about their breast size though), she shows all the disdain to guys, especially any who messes with her girls.
So in truth, Kuroko makes me think of Jessica Jones, except her superpower is pleasuring ladies and taking lives.
The characters in Murciélago are one of the best parts of the manga. Kuroko stands out from everyone else, but you have her Robin, Hinako Tokazura, an expert reckless driver that’s insanely dumb; the typical tough guy police offer Tsuru who can’t believe he has to deal with these two; and even a random chick that enters Kuroko’s life manages to be memorable despite her generic personality.
It helps that the situations are outrageous enough to make these characters shine. I mean, it’s obviously illogical to drive your car inside a building and reach the roof, but that’s what happened here.
It’s also illogical to pull a wrestling bell out of your breasts and engage a burly babyface wrestler that’s doped up, but that gets done anyways. So a lot of stuff happens, but it’s done in a manner that’s enjoyable and not absolutely out of nowhere.
The romancing of the girls is also a major standout, and one that’s either your style or is not. For example, one chapter has Kuroko getting turned on even as hundreds are gunned down and sliced right around her. Later in the volume, you have some pages where she totally takes advantage of a girl using a dating site.
But at least in Volume 1, the yuri element is not quite as dominant as the violence. It’s not that people are just getting killed violently, but Yoshimurakana draws the entrails of a human body in gruesome detail — and then you get a moment where a car falls from a tall building and the wheel lands on an intestine.
Needless to say, the biggest problem will be the moments where it tries to get serious, and for a manga that’s embraced being nonsense, the seriousness only comes off poorly. So I can only tell you there’s no point in taking Murciélago super seriously. It’s a nonsensical read that’s super fun, super violent, and will make you feel bad for reading it. But then you’ll just desire to read more, though make sure your desire’s not too strong like Kuroko’s.
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