Vol. 2 of this series carries on in much the same way as vol. 1 did. There’s plenty of over-the-top thrills on tap here, but not a whole lot of depth to go along with them. The first two-thirds of vol. 2 are dedicated to wrapping up the “Murder Party” arc from the previous volume as our lady-lovin’ psych protagonist Kuroko eventually finds herself going tongue-to-toe with the unfeeling maid bodyguard of the mansion’s master. Other characters figure into this arc, but they only exist to provide exposition, die in order to build up the threat, or are Kuroko’s airheaded follower Hinako who is here to provide (weak) comic relief. The battles featuring Yukari, the maid, are the high point of this part and mangaka Yoshimurakana handles them with style. Kuroko’s utter amorality in this struggle continues to be refreshing when compared against your average shonen, seinen, or even American comic book protagonist.
That said, the only time this series becomes thought-provoking is when I ask myself, “Is it okay to be entertained by scenes where the antagonist is threatened with sexual assault by the protagonist if they’re both women?” Yes, “Murcielago” is that kind of series. Kuroko’s lasciviousness doesn’t manage to become off-putting until the final third when she “rescues” a little girl who may have seen her dad murder someone on DVD. Our protagonist is insistent on getting the little girl to strip so that she can see if the girl has been abused. Forget character consistency, that’s just fucking creepy! Fortunately in Hinako’s one worthwhile action in this volume she manages to convince Kuroko that it’s not necessary before taking her in for a bath to calm the girl down. A bath which is at least thankfully free of any casual nudity.
If I seem hard on Hinako here, that’s because I think her character description from vol. 1 to vol. 2 has changed. Where she was a bubbly airhead” in the first volume, now it looks like she has to occasionally be reminded to breathe. Hinako becomes a focus of the last third with an underwear thief plot at school and that, along with the aforementioned creeper business, makes this section noticeably less entertaining than what has come before. I’m still onboard with Yoshimurakana’s stylish brand of action trash, but let’s make sure any new characters have at least reached the age of consent and are smarter than Forrest Gump, okay?