Murciélago Vol. 1 Manga Review


Violence AND sex!

Kuroko Koumori is a serial killer who was given a reprieve by the government by agreeing to work for them as an executioner tasked with carrying out extra-judicial executions. She’s also a voracious lecher, and, in fact, the book opens with her having enthusiastic sex with Chiyo, the daughter of a yakuza boss, right before her partner Hinako shows up with a job. And, thus, the murderation begins.

I was a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed this first volume; I’d read a lot of folks really talking up how graphically violent it is, to the point that I was expecting it to be a fair bit more guro than it turned out. Don’t get me wrong – there are a hell of a lot of torn limbs, trailing entrails, disembodied spines, and other nastiness here, but I was anticipating something more along Blood-C-style violence, and this wasn’t quite that. Which is great! Because I really enjoyed this trashy, fantastic manga in which an unrepentantly awful woman stabs, shoots, and slices a lot of folks in between having mind-blowing sex with an attractive woman. (I’m still just as absolutely astonished that this got licensed as I was when the license was announced.)

Speaking of the sex scenes – these do tend to be absurd and not particularly realistic, but there’s something incredibly refreshing about sex scenes in a manga in which everyone is having a 1000% good time and is totally delighted and enthusiastic about the whole thing. And I appreciated the complete lack of coyness about it, something which honestly meant that they didn’t come across as sleazy in the manner in which so much of sex in manga does… which likely sounds a bit odd, considering I’m talking about totally uncensored sex in a pretty trashy manga. It may be better to put it as that it doesn’t feel creepy.

What about the story? What, indeed, about the story! Well, there isn’t really much to it, its all about Kuroko killing bad guys and hitting on and sexing up pretty women, and Hinako demonstrating driving skills James Bond would probably envy. There’s the start of an arc toward the end (there is some flashback-type material following it) involving a mansion in which a rich old man has trapped Kuroko and other criminals in order to kill them all in terrible ways, but, well, the details don’t really matter so much as that it surely means more ridiculous deaths and sex are in the offing.

I read the digital release of this from Yen Press, and did so on my laptop, as I’ve got one of those ones where the screen can be swiveled completely around so it becomes like a wicked clunky tablet. Anyway, I note this as it meant I was reading it in Adobe Digital Editions, and I’m unsure if the digital file doesn’t do two-page spreads at all or if it was simply a limitation of Digital Editions. Whatever the case, it was a good release otherwise, with clearly reproduced pages and crisp text.

Ultimately, Murcielago is very much not for everyone, although if you’re on the fence, I’d say spring for it unless you really, really can’t do gore. Actually, if you enjoyed Triage X, this would likely be up your alley, too – doubly so if you enjoyed Triage X but could’ve done without the threats of sexual violence! Whatever the case, it’s so nice to get some yuri in English that isn’t about schoolgirls for once. Thank goodness this thing already has nine volumes out in Japan.

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