Random Manga Theatre 34: Art Gallery of Imagination

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Kuusou Garou, by Minakami Kaori

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Minori is a plain high school girl (aka the most generic intro to any manga ever), but I guess the big twist this time is… her fancy-schmancy rich girls-only art academy is haunted! Scary right?? Well, no, not really. All the teachers are just adamant that everyone leave after sundown, and especially don’t enter the art gallery – it’s tradition. Even Minori’s late grandmother, an alumni of that very art academy, told her to never go into the gallery after sundown. And hey, you better listen to old ladies who draw protective sigils on your back. They tend to know their shit.

Still, that doesn’t stop Minori from following her friend Nana into the locked-up school after dark, where they run into a ghost named Sae and her various crazy demon animal familiars. The charm Minori’s grandmother drew on her nearly three years ago suddenly comes to life, becoming a sort of spirit owl, and defuses the situation – turns out Sae isn’t really evil, just kind of dark and lonely and a ghost, who happens to control a bunch of demon animal familiars. Still, the trio manages to bury the hatchet and become friends, which mostly means Minori and Nana only go to the gallery when they need Sae’s ghostly opinion on paranormal mysteries going on in the school.

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Paranormal happenings and vaguely lesbian undertones in a single image? Who knew this entire manga could be summed up so quickly?

At least they would, if this manga was more than 5 chapters long. All in total there’s only a few paranormal adventures, and the one that takes two chapters is, of course, the one about lesbian adventures. Did I mention it’s an all-girls academy? Is this typical in all-girls schools, for them to all be feeling each other up and making out in the bushes and stuff? At the very least, I wouldn’t actually label this as a yuri manga, since it’s more a matter-of-fact thing that’s just… happening, I guess, while the paranormal bits take center stage. They’re in an all-girls school, so what else would be happening? Girls wishing horrible bloody death on other girls so they can sex up their senpais is totally normal, right?

Verdict: It’s Okay I Guess
What is this “effort” you speak of? You want me to actually write something here? Oh, fine. Yeah, this was decent – better than I expected, all things considered. It is short, but that means you can read it quickly without wasting too much time on something mediocre. A few moments are startlingly dark, but the ending is fairly heartwarming, considering. Apparently it was the mangaka’s first professional work, and I suppose keeping that in mind, I can’t really expect much more than the bland, mostly inoffensive product we got. Take a gander if you really have a fetish for ghosts with questionable sexuality – otherwise, stay away.

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