Name: Black Musem – The Ghost and The Lady
Author: Kazuhiro Fujita
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Horror, Historical
Lenght: Two volumes
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Summary: There is a place in London filled with actual proof of a great number of misterious events that took place in the territory of the queen, it receives the name of The Black Museum. This time the item whose history shall be told is a weird looking piece of metal, said object is in fact two bullets that fused together as the result of a head front collision, a success that shouldn´t be possible and yet there it is. The listeners of such tale will be us, the readers, and the curator of the museum, while the one in charge of narrating will be a ghost who haunted the place where the item was found. In his history we will learn about his meeting with Florence Nightingale and how the both of them made a contract that linked their fates together, like if they were two leading characters in a Shakespeare´s play.
Black Museum: The Ghost and The Lady is the first series from the author Kazuhiro Fujita that has been published in english (his work is actually popular in France and Italy), he is mostly known thanks to his first long series, Ushio to Tora, you may have heard about it, the anime adaptation ended some months ago, but the actual manga has been over for decades before that. It has some ovas back in the day, but nothing big, Fujita may be respected in Japan, but his work is underappreciated compared to another old school mangakas. Well, letting that aside, it´s time for starting the review for real.
Black Museum: The Ghost and The Lady is a series with two volumes, but it is also related to another series called Black Museum: Springald (it only has one volume though), because both stories are about items stored in the Black Musem, in fact the curator of said place appears in both of series as a listener and sometimes a narrator too, she tell us the tip of iceberg and the visitors narrate the whole history behind the object.
I have to say that I found this first volume pleasant and easy to read, even if some times there it was a little slow, maybe because I awaited to read it a lot, but also because the story itself made me want to keep reading and the main characters were interesting:
- Florence Nightingale: To be clear, I hadn´t hear about her before reading this manga, but I found her persona in this series quite interesting and pretty compelling as the main character, patient, strong-willed and full of kindness, to the point of choosing death over not being able of helping others. That´s why she made a pact with the ghost, so he would kill her if she ever tasted true despair and lost her will to help people.
- The Ghost (Grey, former professional duelist): I find him interesting and likeable too, he is a well-rounded character that can be scary, funny and cool at the same time. In fact he makes me think of another Fujita´s character, I am talking about Tora, as they both want to kill their co-protagonists and usually start acting in a tsundere way when they end helping them. Male monsters tsunderes co-protagonists, Fujita should copyright that, it´s a pretty good recipe.
Aside from the historical context, where I can only say that Fujita did his good research, I also found pretty interesting something that Fujita added to this series universe, the invisible monsters called Eidolons that live in every person without exception. Those creepy looking creatures react to the emotions of their owners and when people argue, those creatures start to fight with their weapon-shaped arms, leaving the loser exhausted and without will to talk back. These things make clear Fujita´s lots of experience in creating creepy beings with interesting origins, even if this time they are mostly here to make the relevant conversations more interesting to see and give Grey something to fight with.
Florence will confront a lot of these beings during this volume, all of them belong to people who want to get in the way of her mission to help those in need. Her will becomes stronger as the story goes, showing how patient and smart she actually is, being very aware of her situation and acting smartly, even if sometimes Grey lets her a hand out of admiration for her theatre worthy performance, like it was said before, attacking those being, saying that they wronged her honor and fighting in her place under the rules of dueling.
The first volume was overall pretty good all along, with the entertaining and funny relationships that Fujita is used to give to his readers, together with a pretty good story and well-delivered moments. Both main characters did grow during this volume and we found about their histories, Florence having the usual call of god having being born in a wealthy family that didn´t approve of her mission, while Grey has a pretty sad origin story, so sad and tragic that he actually didn´t remember how he died at all. Story related, the only thing that I didn´t like were the antagonists (wich is weird, because normally I love this author´s bad guys a lot), mostly because they don´t seem to have good reasons and are assholes just because, that said they almost didn´t appear in this volume, so maybe that will improve in the second and last one. There is also the thing with Florence unnecessary nudes (mostly representing her soul being destroyed by the Aidolons), that said, it´s simply nudity though, so most of these scenes can barely be called fanservice.
Talking about the art, I have to say that I love this author´s style, he is pretty good at transmitting emotions in many ways, may it be with the general mood of some scenes or with the incredibly expressive faces of his characters. That last bit is actually amazing to see, Flora and Grey have quite the spectrum of faces, going from her in-pain expressions to her burning with determination ones, without forgetting the ghost who can have the most nightmare-like face that one has ever seen and make you laugh two pages later with the silliest one. The monsters are also interesting and well designed, but sometimes Fujita fails with the battle scenes and it´s difficult to see what is going on, even so, it´s not always like that and most of them are impressive.
In short Black Museum: The Ghost and The Lady is a pretty entertaining manga, thanks to its two great main characters that boost each other charisma when they interact, the context is not boring either, but it wouldn´t be the same without these two. Art wise I really like Fujita´s way of drawing all together, but I understand that everyone have their own tastes (I, for example, think that Nakaba drawing style is better than Mashima´s) The only thing left to say is that I recommend this manga a lot and I hope that you will give a chance to its two volumes (even I haven´t read the second one yet), it would be great that thanks to this series more Fujita´s works end finally being published in english, his others short series would be a great start. Thanks for reading and bye-bye.
Pd: This is a spanish blog, this post being the only one in english so far, if I end buying another manga only edited in english maybe I will write another post in english, but it´s not something that will happen often. That´s all, sorry for any weird sentences that I may have written up there 😄