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A manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki, Embalming is set in a turn-of-the-century Europe where a number of people are using the notes left behind by one Dr. Victor Frankenstein to do their own crazy monster-building experiments. The resulting creatures, called Frankensteins, come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and mental states: from grotesquely monstrous to seemingly human, and from slightly nuts to batshit insane.
Instead of one main character, Embalming features an ensemble cast: revenge-driven Fury Flatliner, who wants to destroy all Frankensteins; happy but dumb Frankenstein girl Elm and her misanthropic human companion Ashuhit Richter, who belong to a secret society dedicated to Frankenstein research; John Doe, a mysterious and dangerous Frankenstein, and others.
The full title is Embalming - The Another Tale of Frankenstein, but that's both too long and too Engrish to be used in real life.
The manga provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Wraith's alcoholic father
- Ancient Conspiracy: Polar Route, a secret society of Frankenstein creators
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Fury's friend Wraith is killed then revived as a Frankenstein within the first chapter. At the end of the first arc Fury realizes that he too had been turned into a Frankenstein by Dr. Peabody, having died in the same event that killed Wraith.
- Anti-Hero: John Doe, Ashuhit Richter, Dr. Peaberry...
- Awesome McCoolname: Fury Flatliner? Wraith Allen? Elm L. Renegade? Come on...
- It doesn´t help, that Elm is supposed to be German.
- The name "Ashuhito" consists of the English word "ash" and the Japanese word "hito" (person). The character is German. Of course it is a cool complex meaningful name, but...?
- It doesn´t help, that Elm is supposed to be German.
- Came Back Wrong: Even if a Frankenstein is created using nothing but the original human's body, they will not come back as the person they used to be. At best, they will develop a different personality but at the worst, they will become Ax Crazy with both memory loss and personality change.
- Death Is Cheap: Once at least. A dead human can still live on as a Frankenstein but Subverted once it's found out that they will not come back as the same person.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: Elm, who has the body of a 13-year-old
- Expy: Edel is very similar to Mahiro from Busou Renkin, both in design and personality.
- First Episode Spoiler: Fury is reviled to have been turned into a Frankenstein at the end of the first arc.
- Frankenstein's Monster: Duh!
- Genki Girl: Elm
- Gratuitous English
- Gratuitous German: A LOT. Examples include "Eisen der Arm", "Panzer das Bein/Bain", the obligatory Baumkuchen-joke and don´t even get me started on the use of the word Frankenstein.
- It's borderline Bilingual Bonus in the second oneshot, when the German word for "liar" appears written on two signs, and of course it turns out that Kiefer is lying and it's all a trap.
- Harmful to Minors: Fury and Wraith watch their parents get murdered by a Frankenstein when they are 13. And Ashuhit is attacked and crippled by John Doe, who also kills his friend Elm right in front of him...
- Well, in typical Watsuki fashion, half the characters have horrible childhood traumas.
- Historical Domain Character: Jack the Ripper, Queen Victoria and knowing Watsuki, many will follow.
- Ho Yay: Wraith is very, very, very fond of Fury.
- Hunter of His Own Kind: Fury Flatliner was created by Dr. Peabody to destroy other Frankensteins.
- Idiot Hero: Elm, of course.
- Fury has also been called a "Country Hick" more than once.
- Knife Nut: Fury's weapons of choice, usually one in each hand.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Frankensteins are brought to life when struck by lightning. Lightning, however, cannot bring them back the way they were.
- Madness Mantra: When Fury enters combat with three other Frankensteins, he continues to yell 'Kill All Frankensteins!' while he tears them to piece.
- Mad Scientist: In spades
- Magnificent Bastard: Dr. Peaberry. Once you realize that all events in the first volume have been playing into her hand, including the deaths of, well, all other characters. In the end, she has exactly what she came for: a vengeful, strong Frankenstein that she can use in her own quest for vengeance.
- Replacement Goldfish: Robert Weiss adopted Edel because she looked very much like his lost daughter. So he gave her the same name. And planned to transplant her eyes with the right eye colour. And turn her into an undead Frankenstein so he would never lose her again. Also Elm, who was revived by Ashuhit's father after Ash begged him to do it. Ash, however, is not content with the Frankenstein Elm and will do anything to have the real Elm back, even if it means killing the Frankenstein Elm's personality in the process.
- Revenge: Fury's drive. Partially due to the death of his parents, and partially for the events of the first arc.
- Interestingly, despite wanting to destroy all Frankenstein gets along quite well with Elm.
- Shout-Out: A little more than that, actually. Upon arriving in London, Ashuhito meets with a man called Mike Roft, who then sends his younger brother to search for Fury and Dr.Peaberry...
- The Ditz: Elm
- Victorian London