By Leroy Douresseaux
January 31, 2011 - 12:39
|Grand Guignol Orchestra Volume 2 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rated T+ for “Older Teen”
The Grand Guignol Orchestra is a small orchestra led by a beautiful singer named Lucille, a man who dresses like a woman. Singing for the masses, they travel a land infested by people infected with the Guignol Virus. The virus turns people into “zombie dolls” that are intent on killing humans. Clestite, who masquerades as her late brother, Elestial, is the newest member, playing piano and getting deeper into the orchestra’s mysteries.
Grand Guignol Orchestra, Vol. 2 (entitled Tragedie Lyrique) contains two storylines. In “The Queen and the Jester,” the orchestra returns to the capitol city where they find themselves under arrest and facing death by order of Queen Gemsilica. In the title story, “Tragedie Lyrique,” the orchestra travels to the Abbey of St. Vienne by order of the Queen. Lucille and company are to find the legendary Black Oratorio, which is in the abbey, but the Queen has also sent an assassin after the orchestra, a killer with ties to Lucille’s recent past.
THE LOWDOWN: As in her other Gothic-inspired comics, Kaori Yuki revels in the just-plain-creepy with Grand Guignol Orchestra. Truthfully, this is a strange series. On the surface it is historical fiction, but occasionally something comes up that reminds the reader that this is some kind of post-apocalypse scenario. There are pretty boys who look like girls, an element which adds to that bishounen touch, but there is also an edgy cross-dressing and drag element that takes the sheen off the pretty.
Still, this unusual horror comic book is a good read, mainly because it is always springing surprises on the readers. Most of the characters, as likeable and/or interesting as they are, seem like Goth-Loli character types. However, Lucille and Elestial are well-developed, with intriguing personalities and fascinating motivations, not to mention their conflicts with other characters. Strange as it is, this is a manga I will continue to read.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans looking for unusual zombie comics will want Grand Guignol Orchestra.