Grand Guignol Orchestra, vol. 1

The world has gone mad, with people infected by a virus which turns them into zombie dolls. There is one group who travels through the land fighting the zombies–The Grand Guignol Orchestra, led by the singer Lucille. But the members of the Orchestra each hide their own dark secrets, which may come back to haunt them.

Yuki is known and loved for her convoluted, angst-filled Gothic horror manga series and Grand Guignol Orchestra is another dark addition to that legacy. The elements her fans adore are all there: beautiful characters, gender ambiguity, horror themes, blood and gore, and, of course, gorgeous costumes. Her plot in this, her newest work (released in Japan in 2009), is almost too complex and it requires readers to grab hold and hang on for a little while before they begin to get the threads of the story straight. But the interesting thing about Yuki’s work is that her stories are compelling enough to move things along even when they are confusing. Many plot points are not fully explained, which is okay since this is just the first volume and that means that readers are left wanting more. Even trying to discuss the characters is difficult without giving away the twists of the tale, but it is enough to know that they are ambiguous in all the senses of the word, but especially in their relative goodness. Yuki likes characters who are shades of gray.

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Grand Guignol Orchestra, vol. 1
Kaori Yuki
ISBN 978-1-4215-3636-1
VIZ Media, October 2010