Kodansha Comics’ Museum Vol. 3 collects the final six chapters of Ryousuke Tomoe’s thriller-horror series, as well as an additional story by Tomoe entitled “Some Would Say We’re Best Friends.” Does the volume end the series satisfactorily? Do the two stories mesh well together?
Much like the series’ previous installments, Museum Vol. 3‘s strongest attribute is its artwork. In both the Museum chapters and the side story, Tomoe delivers near-perfect visual storytelling. Almost every single panel delivers vital information in terms of plot, emotion, or movement. There’s a lot to be said for trimming the fat in art, for making sure that every detail serves a purpose. In addition to his sheer efficiency, Tomoe also crafts visuals that are just plain visually pleasing to look at. The textures and shading throughout are divine, as are the composition choices.
My main qualms with this volume pertain to its writing and the inclusion of two separate stories. As far as the Museum chapters go, they’re solid. The characters’ emotions are wonderfully conveyed, and the very end contains some surprising but highly effective choices. I’m not upset about what is present in these chapters so much as I’m disappointed by what they lack. One of the killer’s most interesting facets throughout Museum was the way he approached his killing as an art. The series’ final chapters, however, barely lean into the art theme at all. The ending, though of a high quality, doesn’t seem all that thematically different from less unique crime dramas. It’s disappointing that the concept of the killer as an artist didn’t get pushed further to its limit by the manga’s end.
As far as the side-story, “Some Would Say We’re Best Friends”, well…its inclusion just doesn’t feel necessary. The art is divine as always and the writing isn’t outright bad, but it’s far from Tomoe’s best. The surrealist plot isn’t particularly original and without super likable or intriguing characters there’s not much to make up for its relative predictability. More problematic than the story’s content, however, is its location in the volume. After finishing Museum, a story that took two and a half volumes to complete, I wasn’t enthused to read an unrelated and inferior story. The story’s position at the back of the book took away from the main story’s impact by placing an effective conclusion in the middle of the volume, and following it up with a piece that served no purpose.
Overall, Museum Vol. 3 is a solid end to the series. The artwork throughout is near perfection, and the writing on the main story is good, though it does have some disappointing aspects. The volume’s main con is its back-up story, and even that isn’t bad — it just doesn’t feel related to the rest of the series. If you’ve enjoyed Museum thus far, you’re likely to feel satisfied with the way it ends. You might just want to save reading the back-up story for a separate sitting from the main story.