“Be Careful What You Wish For” – Bradherley’s Coach (Manga) – 6/10 Sugar Cubes

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

Genre: Horror/ Drama/ Psychological/ Historical

Review Status: Full (8 Chapters/ 8 Chapters or 1 Volume/ 1 Volume)

Licensed: Unlicensed in the US

Art: At first I thought that it wasn’t particularly well-done, but as I read on I realized that the rough sketch-like style suited the gritty, dark stories within. Good for this particular manga.

Summary: Every year, Lord Nicola A. Bradherley, one of Europe’s leading aristocrats, sends his coach round to various orphanages to adopt little girls and trains them to join his opera troupe. But most of these girls never make it onto the stage — a far more sinister fate awaits them, sacrificed in the name of the greater good. (From MyAnimeList.net)

Review: I want to get this off of my chest: This has got to be one of the most meaningful-but-pointless manga I’ve ever read. Confused? So am I. This manga is a series of one-shots, in chronological order, about girls who are deemed “worthy” to be in Lord Bradherley’s Opera, but most of them never make it.

In the first arc you get to know what’s really going on, through the viewpoint of a girl who was unfortunate enough to be chosen and not be used as one of the opera girls. As her days pass in pain and suffering, growing worse each day, she commiserates with another girl about what’s going on and reminisces about days gone by. Through this you get a pretty good idea about what’s going on.

The rest of the arcs just emphasize the cruelty, explaining the reasons behind it, why the girls would be so desperate to go (and what some of them are willing to do to be chosen), and even going into one arc that’s from the prisoner’s POV.

Eventually the stories lead to the end of the “program”- thank God.

So why the pointless? Because through it all, hardly anyone suspects what was really going on, even though after a few years it should have been obvious to most anyone with half a brain. In the last arc, it even has the gall to say that Lord Bradherley has tried, in his own way, to atone for what he’s doing. I just don’t buy it. He could have broken off the program in the first place, but even under the direst of conditions he continues a cruel and inhumane practice.

So I think it’s total Bull. Shit.

But what truly embitters me and is also the reason why I can’t say it’s bad is that I think it could have happened. The nobility have always been fond of blood sport at the expense of their subjects- during the Roman period, there were the Gladiators. During the medieval period, they were fond of bear-baiting and dog fighting. In the 1600’s there was Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was never truly punished for her heinous crimes. During the Industrial Revolution in America, dog- and cock-fighting were still popular, as was bare-knuckle boxing, etc. So the problem is that there’s really no reason it shouldn’t, or couldn’t have happened at some point in history.

That is the only reason that I can’t mark it lower- the realism is too high.

Overall, this is a horrific tale of young women put into tragic circumstances. I don’t suggest picking this up unless you have an interest in this sort of thing (and if you do, don’t tell me about it!).

Recommended: 16 and up, kids. This has implied torture and *somewhat* detailed depictions of rape. Nothing that you wouldn’t see in your average horror film, but still stomach-churning. Preferably not for those weak of heart or stomach.

Others you might like instead: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (manga)
Higurashi: When They Cry (manga or anime)
Lament of the Lamb (manga)
Or read the book “The Lovely Bones”.


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