Grand Guignol Orchestra 4

August 31, 2011

Kaori Yuki – Viz – 2011 – 5 volumes

Hmm… it always takes me a bit to get my bearings in a new volume of this series. There’s a lot going on, and it can be complicated, but I like it. It’s definitely less complex and character-heavy than Angel Sanctuary, but it’s still probably best enjoyed by reading all the volumes back-to-back.

This volume starts off with a focus on Kohaku, the only member of Lucille’s orchestra who hasn’t had his own storyline yet. His storyline was a bit disappointing, since his situation was very similar to what happened to Eles. His story is a little anticlimactic as a result, especially since you know what the eventual outcome is. Not a whole lot of time is spent on him, and I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t fleshed out as much as Gwindel and Lucille. He’s still a fun character, though.

After a disappointing opening, things get much better when Lucille and company infiltrate Le Senat. I was a little baffled by this storyline. It’s suitably creepy, and Le Senat’s role and what they’re doing make sense in the context of the story, but I was confused since… they just send Lucille off to retrieve the Black Oratorio, the item that Lucille has been looking for, and he does. Granted, there’s a living corpse and a complex wind-based booby trap blocking his way, but not a whole lot of time is spent on this. Lucille just… goes and gets it, and brings it back. The Le Senat story ends abruptly after this, too.

If I’ve noticed a weakness in Yuki’s stories, it’s that she gets these really great, creepy ideas and then condenses them down and rushes out the details too fast. This series would be amazing if it spent a little more time developing the plot and characters, but as it stands, it’s just pretty good, with a lot of good ideas that seem to be wasted too fast. Then again, part of the charm of her stories is that there’s something inhuman about her style of horror writing, and lingering on it any further would take that away since it would give things a face, so to speak.

And in case you’ve forgotten, even with the quibbles I have with the story, the art is still very much worth reading this series for. Yuki does excellent period pieces, and this is no exception. It’s the main reason I put up with Fairy Cube, after all.

The end of the volume sets things up for the finale. Now that I know everything that’s going on between Lucille and Queen Gemsilica, I’m prepared to forget all of this and then be confused when the final volume comes out.

Just kidding. I have no idea where the story is going right now, which is rare. They hint at a kind of revolution, both magical and political. I’m intrigued.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

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