Story & Art: Yoshimurakana
Translation: Christine Dashiell
What They Say
Mass murderer Kuroko Koumori has two passions in life: taking lives and pleasuring the ladies. This doesn’t leave her with many career prospects, but Kuroko actually has the perfect gig–as a hit woman for the police! A license to kill other killers, and plenty of opportunities to get a little loving on the side? That’s some serious job satisfaction right there!
The Review! (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This release from Yen Press has a few glossy color pages in the front that do well to convey the artist’s grim presentation of scenes that are black and white splattered with red blood. The minimalist use fo just the three colors are attractive. The rest of the book is put together well with clean printing and good alignment on the pages. There is also a useful Translation Notes section with some good background on various aspects of this volume.
The art is fair with standard levels of detail, but what I enjoyed about it is the variety of character designs from the protagonist’s appearance that reminds me of a psychotic Yuko from xxxHolic, to big-eyed young girls, rugged male cops and a nasty old dude reminiscent of the old men in Masaki Segawa’s Basilisk and The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls. The protagonist, Kuroko Koumori is simultaneously attractive and creepy at the same time. Kuroko is tall and busty with long black hair, but she also has ever-present bags under her eyes and disturbingly small pupils. Fight scenes are downright brutal with plenty of horror genre styled blood and guts. Then there are even multiple lesbian sex scenes that are surprising in their length and lack of actual nudity. Mostly like today’s R-rated sex scenes that tend to lack nudity.
The translation had a few sporadic grammar problems, but otherwise read just fine. The original Japanese SFX and sign text remains with smaller English translations alongside.
Lady Kuroko is a pro with guns and the ladies! Her looks and lifestyle is almost a cross between James Bond and Golgo 13. Basically, she is an ex-mass murderer that the government captured and then “rehabilitated” into an agent with a license to kill and a handler named Hinako. Hinako is a young girl that acts as the intermediary between the government and Kuroko. Hinako also goes along on missions and takes great pleasure in driving Kuroko’s Lamborghini Murciélago when they go out.
This first volume kicks off with lesbian sex and a quick history of Kuroko’s penchant for killing. But unlike well-known fictional assassin’s like Golgo, Kuroko kills because she enjoys it. It is difficult to determine which she enjoys more, killing or bedding beautiful young girls. Regardless, Hinako and Kuroko head out on a mission to bring down a pro wrestler that killed an opponent in the ring and then disappeared.
The first thing Kuroko does is visit a crime lord that she knows for some information. It is a quick glimpse into one of Kuroko’s likely former employers. This interaction also shows that even a powerful crime lord is scared to death of upsetting Kuroko in any way. We are quickly treated to just how badass she is when she “questions” a gang of thugs that attack her an alley. And by question, I mean kicks their corpses and curses herself for not leaving any of them alive to actually question.
Kuroko’s misadventures continue from one body bag to another as she follows the government’s orders. Well, she sort of follows her orders. The sort of part gets her hauled into the police for questioning a few times. But one call from the “upper management” and they must let Kuroko and Hinako walk with no further questions asked. It makes for an interesting dynamic and could lead to more in the future.
Murciélago proves it isn’t a one-trick pony with Kuroko just doing assassination jobs for the government. Aside from that, she is quite the horn dog, so if she isn’t reading porn or scoring dates off online dating sites, she is getting dragged into crazy survival games with a hundred other killers!
Murciélago is a wild adventure from start to finish. Sex, guns, and drugs, the only thing Murciélago has missing are rock and roll. This first volume sets up a unique anti-hero story in that it has a female lead and she is proudly and openly gay. She is also a twisted killer that genuinely loves spilling a man’s guts. Quite frankly, she creeps me out. Kuroko is attractive, but also has little sunken eyes and has a habit of cocking her head so far to the side it should break her neck. I find her both sexy and scary at the same time, which is an odd dichotomy.
Since this is the first volume, it must first find itself by introducing and then hopefully building up the characters before we can see if there will be any deep character development that gives us something to grab onto and cheer for. That is what makes an “A” series for me, personally. But don’t get me wrong, I also love series that are plain action focused for the sake of titillation like Yen Press’ Triage, and so far Murciélago kills at that. Also, there are some cool angles the author has taken with the story by naming it Murciélago (Spanishi for bat), giving the protagonist a Lamborghini Murciélago, and giving her a last name that sounds like bat in Japanese.
Highly recommend for fans of gun-toting badass women who love women!
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 24th, 2017