On a return voyage from the African continent, the cruise ship Cradle mysteriously capsizes in the middle of the ocean. Inverted, torn apart, and sinking, the road to escape is now a hellish one as a result of the ship's twisted environment. Making matters worse for the remaining survivors, some passengers have turned mindlessly rabid and have begun attacking one another, spreading a contagious frenzy with each assault.
Student Makoto Ayukawa awakens in the midst of this situation. Fortunately, she is rescued by fellow classmate Yuuya Takigawa and the pair manages to regroup with more of their classmates. However, they remain unaware of a crucial factor essential to survival: choosing trustworthy allies, for the undead are not the only menace aboard the ship. With time being of the essence, the group begins their tumultuous ascent to escape the cradle of monsters alive.
This was terrible, which surprised me after very decent Hoozuki no Shima. It’s been long since I flipped through pages on pure rage to tear a work apart properly in a review.
Among the many factors that make you question your choice of hobby while reading this manga the atrocious hamfisted fanservice is the real star. It has no contenders in making you want to hit your head on the table from the complex combination of ire, cringe and lameness overflow. I am understanding of fanservice in manga, really, truly, I promise, but this time it got to me and it got to me bad. And
I think it’s not my fault. One of the first things you see in Mouryou no Yurikago, even before learning anything about the story or characters, is a schoolgirl pissing herself with fear, attention on her crotch and labia majora, and her crotch, and her labia majora, and more crotch… – hope you catch my drift. The girl is made to look very earnest in being scared. Every girl in this manga is made to look very earnest, to provide tits'n'ass nonstop and be dumb as a brick (sorry, bricks). The level of grace with which this is handled is, say, a blind girl is nearly raped, but manages to escape by hurting her attacker in a living hell situation – this scene is used to make something like a pin-up of her for a colored page, her peach-like ass visible through a torn skirt and breasts outlined through a wet shirt. Or a twisted “bad” girl dies and her last thoughts are about forgetting to put on panties. No, sadly it’s not funny in the context. And all the female characters are like that, there’re about 5 pages combined in all the manga where they are not extremely irritating, 3 of those pages dedicated to the female MC swimming silently. The author also seems to have a thing for the “golden shower” (women piss a lot in this manga, boys don’t at all though, lol). It’s not erotic, it’s not motivated, it doesn’t have a good flow, it’s just “look tits” and half of the cast turned into trash. Damn this stuff to the bottom of the ocean.
The male cast fares somewhat better, since they at least don’t show their dongs left and right and some of the tropey personalities initially had potential. At the beginning we’re introduced to a stoic type that pushes people away, to a caring womanizer, to a psychopathic “effectiveness” guy still on the “good” side of dnd alignement and to a wheelchair guy with the moral dilemma of fighting for his life vs. being a burden. But later on many of these make 180 turns out of nowhere, some (nearly all) end up being wasted. There’s also a bunch of “weird foreigners”, including a sword-wielding Russian religious fundamentalist without any context or explanation.
Speaking about the context, when the backstories start to roll out, it doesn’t get better – it gets worse, for heaven’s sake, and that’s rare in fiction. The author shoehorns wild things in the cast, with children being also specialists – they are circus acrobats, “my relative built this ship” walking asspulls, tormented prodigies and language geniuses and I’ve already mentioned the psychopathic guy. Not to mention that their school trip involved going on a cruise liner to dig some ditches in Africa – yeah, don’t ask, don’t let me think about the logic and consistency in Mouryou no Yurikago anymore, please, I’ll conf… Sorry, got off-track. And the schoolkids also talk about each other in terms of “he won’t die, he isn’t that sort of guy”. Alltogether it holds water as well as the sinking ship they’re on.
You could've named the plot of Mouryou no Yurikago ambitious, if not for the huge amount of “hell on a sinking ship” movies filmed around early 2000-s, which this manga tries to copy, just with a Japanese schoolkids cast. And there’s a whole genre of similar “trapped on a spaceship with monsters” fiction. Manga has a lot of good catastrophe survival stories too. This – this is not a good survival story or a good sinking ship story, because it's not a good story at all. This manga is long enough and not amateur enough to have brighter moments, of course, but the overall quality of writing is catastrophic. One good thing I can say about it is that it doesn’t stray too much - no sudden alien invasions, no excessive breaking of the 4th wall.
I guess, two other things I can call remarkable is the sheer tonal deafness of the author and the art. The tone deafness is simply impressive. The art made at least my angry fast reading possible, since it’s easy to understand and detailed enough. It reminds me of good shounen art with characters designed in a few recognizable features and honest immersive backgrounds that do a fine job of being backgrounds, but not much else, and maybe also Ibara no Ou a little. The debris is drawn very nicely. Though, despite the events taking place on an overturned sinking liner, I can’t say that there were many memorable places where the landscape reigned the atmosphere as a character on its own (which manga is very capable of and which totally should happen in such a setting). So the art is good, yeah, but not good enough by far to redeem everything else.
I recommend not wasting your time and energy on this thoroughly disappointing work. Too many things are wrong with it. Even if you think you’re fine with a poorly placed fanservice, crippling plot problems – in everything: progression, character development, logic, backstories – will remain and bother you in the end. Really, there’re better things to read out there. Wade in only if your very survival depends on finding a new survival manga or you are such a dedicated enthusiast of the piss fetish that you have ran out of all and every work containing it out there.
This series you might say, is underrated. Yes, underrated. Why you ask? It hasn't reached many people yet. Basically when I started reading this the first thing that came to mind was the titanic plus zombies combined. Was fairly decent.
It did not have the best start, but it picked up greatly later.
Plot (7) after reading other zombie mangas, I can say this is possibly better than HSOD, which most people have read. Not to mention the fact that zombies and being trapped in a titanic is simply brilliant because you're always 'cornered' and have to move on. It did have it flaws, and referenced a
movie, but hey, it was pretty good.
Art (7) I won't say this art is bad but rather good, but it's different from what I've seen which is good actually for serious and zombie moments, but the zombies don't exactly look like 'zombies' more like berserkers.
Character (7) the character setting was good for this series for everyone, though the heroine let down a bit, but it didn't annoy me so I bet you can deal with it.
Enjoyment (8) it's not everyday you come across a good zombie series considering how many are bullshit and this actually has a ending compared to others.
Overall (7) while I would like to give this a 8, it fits more like 7.2/10 but comparing to others, this is still great.
I highly recommend reading this, but I suggest you wait until the end of September because the last two chapters are not translated yet.
I read Hoozuki no Shima a while ago, and I found that I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm very into the horror genre as a whole, so it's not surprising I forgave it for its issues. Today I was browsing the manga list trying to find something to read, when I saw Hoozuki again. I decided to check out the author, Sanbe Kei, and it led me to this manga, known in English as "Cradle of Monsters".
Zombies in general have always been an iffy subject for me. They are hardly ever scary, and are instead used when the "horror" aspect refers to gore, which
I don't feel is true horror. Luckily, the author made the right choice by not really making the monsters zombies. Instead, they are normal humans who get infected and slowly get consumed by bloodlust. They can still talk and act rationally, which led to some decently horrific scenes.
Unfortunately, there isn't much more good I can say about this manga. The characters were pretty standard for a horror survival situation, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions can't really make up for the rest of the cast as a whole, however.
The art was, in my opinion, passable. The gore was pretty detailed, but nothing else ever stood out to me much (except the fact that the women weren't sticks, which I enjoyed). Also, the story is supposed to take place in an upside down cruise ship, but the author messed up a lot of details with this, such as surveillance cameras on the ceiling, which means they were originally on the floor, and stairs going up, meaning that the ship had stairs on the ceiling. Those details weren't a major issue, but were jarringly distracting when I noticed them.
Even though I didn't have much good to say about this manga, in the end of the day I found it vastly enjoyable. The characters that were interesting kept me going, and for once in this kind of fiction I wasn't sure who was going to survive. This lead me to pursue the story to the end, and if I enjoyed it, I guess that's the whole point. I'd recommend this for horror or survival fans, but if you aren't usually into those genres it could easily be a hit or miss. I'm on to Sanbe Kei's next work!
Mouryou no Yurikago, or Cradle of Monsters in English is an interesting departure from the standard zombie plotline in many ways. First and most notably the fact that the manga takes place on a capsized sinking cruise ship, which, in addition to meaning the cast must contend with both the living dead and escape before the ship sinks, it also means that, unlike most zombie media, firearms are not available to the cast.
Secondly, the zombies featured are neither the Night of the Living Dead-esque "slow zombie" or the 28 Days Later "fast zombie", but are a new, more dangerous
breed, the "sentient zombie", which are as intelligent as normal humans, and are capable of wielding weapons or even setting traps. Not to mention possessing the usual superhuman strength and durability.
The more dangerous nature of the zombies, lack of firearms, and the constant impending threat of the ship sinking into the depths give Mouryou no Yurikago a sense that the cast are in far greater danger than than in some other zombie media.
That said, Mouryou no Yurikago is not without its faults. The characters are OK, but they run the typical zombie fare of male lead, female lead/love interest, psychopath who is as dangerous as the zombies etc. While I liked Mouryou's plot a little more, I thought that Highschool of the Dead's characters has a lot more personality and stood out more.
The artwork is fairly good, but really, not out of the ordinary. Overall, I give Mouryou no Yurikago an eight out of ten.