Every year, teenaged orphans dream that they might be one of the lucky girls adopted by Lord Nicola A. Bradherley. The honor means a place in the household as well as a spot in the famous Bradherley opera troupe, and many such as Diana, Ruby and others wish nothing more than to be chosen. However, what the girls don't know is that being picked means traveling to a brutal, horrifying fate that is worse than death...
Bradherley’s Coach is a manga by Hiroaki Samura, author of Blade of the Immortal and Ohikkoshi. And it’s probably one of the most disturbing manga I’ve ever read. Story and characters Every chapter tells a short story around the “central” plot, which is about Lord Nicola Bradherley adopting tons of orphan girls. The adopted girls are said to become part of his family and members of an opera troupe, but the amount of girls who actually get on the stage is far lower than the amount of adoptions – of course this means something doesn’t add up, and the tags (horror, sexual abuse, physical abuse, mature themes, explicit violence, explicit sex) tell the rest of the story. The first two chapters are the most disturbing when talking about the visuals. The things that happen to the girls are quite disgusting, and combined with the explicit artwork it creates an experience you won’t lightly forget. After those first chapters the horror becomes less graphical, but the knowledge of what is probably going to happen to those girls while they’re happily doing whatever they want makes it hard to read in a different way – it’s a sense of foreboding brought about by the experience of the previous chapters, making you dread the next events. As horror stories I much prefer the later chapters, but another thing that was nice about those chapters was that they didn’t always focus on the girls. The stories of the other involved parties were interesting to see, even if the characters couldn’t always be looked at in depth (it’s a natural consequence of having 8 short stories instead of 1 long story, but it’s nonetheless disappointing). The ending was ok too imo, although it could be said that everything was wrapped up a bit too neatly. Art The artwork was really nice. The character designs were nice to look at, the look of the world was pretty… this guy is just a great artist. Overall I personally have a hard time rating this manga, because the initial shocking scenes are really harsh, but as a horror it’s pretty good afterwards. If you have the stomach to get past the graphical torture scenes and you like horror, it might be worth giving this a shot. Read and reviewed for the Daily Manga Marathon Club - November 2016 edition!
The art is pretty but the story is ugly. The general idea is interesting and has potential but is poorly executed. Understand that this is not for the faint-hearted or squeamish. While I have read some pretty hardcore manga like Gantz or Berserk or Battle Royale those were more action-oriented while this is just plain disturbing and depressing. Rather than drive the plot or character development I find the scenes of sexual violence simply exploitative, not in any sense of titilation but rather it seems the author is merely trying to shock the reader. That's not to say it isn't shocking, it is, but unfortunately this overshadows anything else of interest within the work to the point where when I try to recall something from Bradherley no Basha I cannot remember a single character or plot point. I would recommend only if you're the sort of person like myself who has a morbid interest in exploring the evil of mankind, otherwise there is little this manga can offer.
There is violent gang rape--torn-off nipples, broken hands, smashed in faces, bodybags. Thankfully, the manga doesn't indulge in the rape scenes. It does portray them, but the portrayals aren't extensive or pervasive and the last several chapters don't include them at all. More often, you'll see the battered bodies betwixt rapings or just an unsuspecting girl riding off in the horse-drawn carriage with the understanding that it's bringing fem to a Paschal Festival (the name given to these organized rapes). Each chapter covers different characters and angles of this conspiracy--the girls being raped (with a backstory usually included on their time in the orphanages beforehand), the girls who actually made it into the opera troupe, the guards, and even the prisoners. We do get a few glimpses of Bradherley, but fe's barely touched upon other than as the shadowy figure behind it all. I think the variety of stories kept the disturbitude fresh and also worked to show how wide-reaching this conspiracy was.
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