What better way to rest up and relax after an event than a little light massive amounts of violence and sex? None, obviously, so upon returning home from Nijicon, I cracked open MURCIÉLAGO, Volume 4 (ムルシエラゴ), by Yoshimura Kana.
We ended Volume 3 with Kuroko entering a girl’s only school/organization/enclave/something known as “Virginal Rose.” Unsurprisingly, psychopath and predatory lesbian Koumori Kuroko is captivated by the inhabitants, all cute girls with a tragic story of violence at the hand of a man, and the school’s chairwoman, the extremely well-endowed Gold Marie.
Kuroko and I were both delighted when Gold Marie chose to welcome Kuroko in her room with some consensual, adult sex. As Gold Marie comments, in an environment like this, same-sex relationships are bound to happen, so they accept both sexual release and pair bonding when it occurs. Oh, well okay then.
Kuroko is given a new name when she is accepted into the school – Halfeti, which turns out to be a very dark, as close to black-colored rose as exists. As Halfeti finds herself intoxicated by the school and it’s inhabitants, we turn to Polina, a resident who is about to “graduate.” We, the readers, see that the graduation ceremony is nothing of the sort, but that Polina is slaughtered, her organs and blood consumed and her body chipped into the fertilizer used for the roses that Virginal Rose is known for.
Although Kuroko was asked by Chiyo’s friend, Nanami to investigate, she doesn’t, until Chiyo and Hinako, wondering what the hell has happened to Kuroko, arrive to take her home. Kuroko rejects Chiyo’s demand that she return, refuses to answer to any name but Halfeti and returns to the school. Chiyo snaps.
While Chiyo is fighting the students, Hinako is ninja-ing around. She discovers the secret underground room with one of the students and learns that this is where “graduation” is held, and that there is a beautiful creature living in the pool in the center of the room, who calls Gold Marie her oneesama. As they investigate, Anna realizes what has happened to Polina.
Chiyo fights the school’s champion, Teresa, but is knocked unconscious by Kuroko.
Gold Marie asks Halfeti to bring the intruder to the underground room. It is there that we learn that “Rose Marie,” the apparently female being that lives in the basement and desires blood, is in fact Gold Marie’s brother, who sacrificed his body to save her and who now needs blood to survive. Hinako, who is hanging on to a rope at ceiling level, feels it start to move, so she swings off it, so that it’s trajectory is altered and instead of Kuroko, Gold Marie is killed. Snapping out of her hypnotized state Kuroko is like, “Let’s go and get something to eat.”
Having rescued Nanami, Kuroko, Chiyo and Hinako go visit Ringo, the recovering loli serial killer from the previous arc, and insist that they’ll take care of her. Kuroko gets to be creepy and pervy, and I get to ignore it.
The bonus chapter covers a game Hinako is designing that stars herself, at various levels of skill.
I very much liked this volume, especially as compared with last volume. Consensual adult lesbian sex with two psychopath leads totally works for me. And I’ve discovered while I don’t enjoy violence not associated with fighting, it’s tolerable when completely decoupled from sexualization or victimization. Polina’s death was distressing, as she is an innocent, but Gold Marie dying the same way is acceptable, if a little predictable.
The best part of the manga was Teresa and Chiyo’s fight, which had the advantage of being between-well matched rivals and gives Teresa a chance to uncover for us whether Chiyo really likes Kuroko or not. “Are you a lesbian?” Teresa asks. “No, I’m not like that. It’s just her.” Chiyo responds petulantly. “That’s the kind of thing lesbians say,” Teresa laughs, which pisses Chiyo off. This leads to her beating Teresa, with a rather clever sword vs naginata move.
Art – 6 Even when it’s supposed to be “pretty” it’s really ugly
Story – 7 Several kinds of violence and lesbian sex
Characters – 8 More Evil Psycho Lesbians per page than anything else I read
Service – 10 Nothin’ but
Yuri – 9 This one is definitely a Yuri manga
Overall – 9
I’m not going to lie, this manga is ugly and gross in many ways, but I really like it. I’m not recommending it. I just like it.