For a series that started off so very well attuned to my (trashier) sensibilities, “Murcielago” has been doing a lot to get me to not like it. After lesbian mass-murderer protagonist Kuroko Koumori enthusiastically came on to an underage girl and the rock-stupid antics of Hinako in the last volume, the series plows into some new aggravating territory here. It turns out that there’s not one, but two serial killers that need to be tracked down in this arc and one of them isn’t above the age of consent. (No, the cover isn’t a hint in that regard. Why would you even ask such a thing…) What’s more, one of them has a penchant for brutally murdering good dads and we find out this person is very successful at this. That’s just depressing. The one interesting thing to emerge from this amusement park-based section of the story is in regards to Hinako. It turns out that there may have been a very good reason she was placed in Kuroko’s care as she’s very, VERY focused on payback for anyone who injures her physically.
The other thing which this volume has against it is the developing conspiracy which suggests that someone may be behind all of the killers Kuroko and company have faced up to this point. Moreover, said conspiracy may be the reason she was recruited by the police in the first place. This has the potential to become interesting, but currently it all feels like a mess. A tangled mass of unknown players, mysterious motives, and wild supposition. This is the bad kind of “conspiracy” plotting that got me to stop watching “The X-Files” in its later years.
On the plus side, the action is still top-notch as Kuroko’s showdown with the other serial killer in this volume is a great example of what this series does well. That the volume also ends with her trying to infiltrate a cult filled with beautiful girls also has potential as well. Still, the quality of “Murcielago” is on a gentle downward trend at this point and it needs to focus on delivering stylish and sexy action (with characters who aren’t minors) in order to get back on track.