What’s the manga? Murcielago – Volume 1.
Oh? Sounds exotic. You’re a straight white dude; everything remotely foreign sounds exotic to you.
Quiet you! What’s it about? Well first of all, let’s get a big ol’ TRIGGER WARNING up there, because I know it’s bound to trigger someone, cause it sure as heck did me! (Note: For the sake of a more pleasant reading experience for all, images of extreme gore or sexuality are not imbedded in this post.)
You? Triggered by something? Wait, don’t tell me, was it sport? No! Trigger Warnings are about content not genres.
‘Kay, so what is it about?! So Kuroko is a serial killer, she’s got 715 names to her belt to date, so what’s a girl on death row to do? Why join the Japanese Police Force as a ruthless hired assassin, to clean up the worst filth on the streets, yes worse than herself! She’s partnered with bright and bubbly Hinako, a driver who gets where she needs to go by any means necessary.
Serial killer who kills serial killers, huh? Sounds a bit ‘Dexter’, yeah? I don’t know what that is.
Well anyway this certainly seems like a change of pace from the things you’re usually into. Don’t you hate violence in anime and manga? I don’t hate violence, I just don’t really care for it. And this manga is no exception to that, well except…
Except what? Kuroko is just so f**king cool! Like I know its in our stupid f**king DNA as a species to idolise serial killers for some dumb reason, but seriously Kuroko is one of my favourite main characters in anything ever.
Elaborate. Well, she’s a deranged serial killer but she has a sense of right and wrong, she’s got a twisted sense of humour, she’s unconventionally attractive like a Tim Burton heroine on steroids and she’s smart and savvy to boot. Oh, and did I forget to mention she’s a perverted, horny lesbian who’s super into cute girls?!
So basically she’s you except not a serial killer and also not a girl. This manga made me want to be a fictional cute girl just so I’d get the chance to be in the same room as her.
In the same room and doing? *blush* a lady never tells!
Okay that’s weird, even for you. Judge all you want! Your words are but scuffs in my armor!
Right, so enough of this creepy hero-worship. What’s the manga like? What kind of things happen in the first volume. Have you ever seen the movie ‘Crank: High Voltage’?
Uh, I don’t know, probably not, more importantly—why—have you?! The why’s not important, but basically take that film in all its cartoonish, gory violence, its rampant libido, its fast-paced story and its off-kilter humour and supplant Jason Statham for a Kuroko, a lesbian, sex-obsessed, serial killer!
O…kay then? So what about that trigger warning you gave to yourself and others like you? I take it’s not related to the sexual content of this manga. As much as I love this manga, some of the violence and gore is just relentlessly confronting. Maybe I’ve just got too much empathy but even seeing a nameless background character torn in half with their intestines spooling out behind them was enough for me to need to take a breather occasionally.
That bad, huh? It’s graphic and unforgiving, but I kinda get what they were going for, it’s the whole ‘it takes a monster to defeat a monster’ kind of thing.
So how do you go about recommending something like this? It seems dependent on the individual’s tastes a lot. Yeah, I mean there will be those who are the opposite of me, for whom the gore is no problem but the sexual content is too confronting, there’s all sorts out there, but I think in this particular instance the setting and situations and especially the characters make it an easy sell, as long as you’re in the mood for something very subversive. In fact, just so you know what you’re getting into I’ve prepared some super NSFW images from the manga below, click at your own risk!
Should we be worried about conflating sex and violence like this? There’s already so many troubles in the world. Disclaimer: This is a product intended for adult audiences only; if you are young and impressionable do not read Murcielago.
Yeah… that’ll work… Well what do you expect me to say, this a review for entertainment purposes, I’m not responsible for what susceptible individuals make of someone else’s content.
Fair ‘nuff, so final score and recommendation? If graphic, disturbing and explicit violent and sexual content is not your thing, then this isn’t the manga for you. If, however you like things a little more wild, a little more dangerous and yes, a little more perverse, then Murcielago may be just the book for you! Personally, despite being “triggered” a couple of times due to the violent content, I was enraptured by this world, this story and especially the protagonist Kuroko who is the perfect anti-hero. 91 out of 100.