Ningyou Kyuutei Gakudan (also Grand Guignol Orchestra, The Royal Doll Orchestra and lots of other names) is a manga series by Kaori Yuki.
The series name should actually be read "Guignol Kyuutei Gakudan", but by the time this was clarified it already got known as "Ningyou Kyuutei Gakudan".
This work provides examples of:
- Berserk Button: Don't hurt Gwindel's hedgehog. This is a Yuki manga. So there's more to it.
- Crapsack World: You are in constant danger of being infected by a virus that will slowly turn you into a mindless monster. Once infected there's no escape. The only ray of light are a group of musicians who seem VERY doubious, but with their music they can destroy the zombies and even turn them into humans for a moment before they die - however, said group consists of wanted criminals. And even if YOU are not infected... chances are high one of your loved ones will be. You'll have to watch them turning into brainless, bloodthirsty monsters and are forced to either get bitten or to kill and burn them (unless of course said musicians happen to be around). Best part? Once someone in your town is infected all you have to do is sit back and wait for a lighting sent by your not really emotionally stable queen to nuke your town into oblivion. And this doesn't even include all the shit that's going on AROUND said queen. There's a reason she's crazy.
- Creepy Doll : The enire premise of the manga is this: A virus turns infected people into zombies that look eerily much like old dolls, complete with crack marks on the skin (resembling old, cracked paint) and prominent joints. Since this is a Kaori Yuki manga things are a tad bit more complicated. The virus is a curse, it befell the queen once who released it onto her people, there are people trying to use the virus to obtain eternal youth... and this probably is just the beginning.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady/Gender-Blender Name: Lucille, who's often mistaken for a girl. Also, various other characters provide gender confusion.
- Dysfunction Junction: Dear lord. Celes under her usually cheery demeanor still feels awfully guilty for living while her twin brother died, grows increasingly confused and disturbed about her companions and their true motives... and of the whole group her set of problems seem the smallest in comparision... which tells you how messed up these guys actually are. Good old Kaori Yuki...
- Ho Yay / Foe Yay : Berthier is rather blunt about his interest in Lucille.
- Magic Music: Duh. Music done by the right people can destroy and purify the Zombies. A certain collection of songs performed by people with said ability can end the Zombie Apocalypse. And then there's still the thing with the song the queen occasionally will sing...
- Morality Pet: Several. For one, Celes is this for the whole group, especially to Lucille and later, Gwin admits he very much feels about her that way too. Then there's Gwins hedgehog, the beloved pet of his dead daughter. In a twist Gwin was involved in her death. As punishment he had to accompany Lucille who handed the hedgehog back to him. To watch his behaviour. If Gwin stopped treating his hedgehog properly Lucille would suspect him turning dark side again and kill him. And their back story revealed that Spinell was Lucilles Morality Pet too in their school days.
- Really 700 Years Old: Le senat; also implied with the Philomelas, including Lucille, Berthier and Spinell.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: At the end we see Celes as a young woman. An ADORABLE young woman. who still keeps Gwins hedgehog
- Spell My Name with an "S" : Is it Lucille or Rutil?
- Tsundere: Spinell to Rutil/Lucille. Very much type A.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: The girl Celestial who dresses as a boy and goes under the name of her deceased twin brother Eles. Lucille often is confused for a woman and has absolutely no qualms about using this for his own end. Justified in that he is what they call a Philomela in his world. An artifical human being, which biological sex only develops later as the person grows and develops an own Gender identity.
- Doesn't even begin to describe how Cordie/Queen Gemsilika feels towards Lucille. The First Queen "Grand Guiniol" also counts. Also her father was one for her.
- Berthier towards Lucille to insane amounts.