Saturday, 5 April 2014

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service: Do Yourself a Service and Read This Series!

A Review By: Amelia
I’m a huge fan of Dark Horse and–conveniently for me–they frequent English adaptations of one of my favourite kinds of manga: anything darkly humourous. That’s how I stumbled upon Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service–funny characters mixed in with a dark plot–what’s not too immediately love? 

The story behind The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is a simple one that gets a lot more complicated the further into the series you get. Put simply it’s about five recently graduated university students who have formed a company which specializes in dealing with the dead and their last wishes.

The author of the series is Eiji Ōtsuka and the illustrator is Housui Yamazaki. I couldn’t dig up much on Yamazaki, but Ōtsuka is a social critic and novelist that has a degree in anthropology, women’s folklore, human sacrifice, and post-war manga. In addition to his work with manga he’s a critic, essayist, and author of several successful non-fiction books on Japanese popular and otaku (a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests) sub-cultures. Aside from Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service he writes Multiple Personality Detective Psycho.

The characters this manga series follows are a rag-tag group of young, Japanese adults that–for one reason or another–have a strange talent or connection to the dead. There’s Karatsu who is able to speak to recently deceased people by touching their bodies. Sasaki is the brains of the operation with excellent hacking skills and a general computer expert. Numata is the heavy lifter (the one that lugs bodies around) and uses dowsing with a pendulum to locate dead bodies. Yata is a timid guy who channels a rather crass alien through a puppet on his had and has a vast knowledge of things like math and literature/urban legends. And last, but not least, there’s Makino who is a licensed and very talented embalmer–which is a rarity in Japan as most are cremated and not buried.

This colourful cast of characters are all so good: I could gush about them forever! They’re all very human and, even though they all have such weird and peculiar talents and lives, they’re very relatable. Numata and Karatsu are my favourite pair because they’re hilarious together! All the characters will give you a good laugh here and there, but these two are consistently comical. Of course that makes their tragic back stories all the more heart breaking when you learn of them (Numata’s especially, at least by my standards of seriously tragic).

The art in Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is great. It’s a realistic style of art, and when I say realistic I mean the characters are proportioned like actual human beings and buildings and landscapes aren’t stylized. Some of the characters expressions can be a little wild but they’re not at, say, Sailor Moon manga level. Besides, it’s a manga after all–allowances have to be made!

One of the creepiest story lines featured this thing here!
Everything this manga does is just right. The art style? Just right. The characters? Just right. The ‘monster of
the week’ formula? Just right. The number of creepy things this manga presents its readers? Just right. This is a seriously dark, creepy, funny, compelling manga series and–even though I just said it, I’m saying it again! Everything this manga does is just right!

My final thoughts on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service are that it’s great. It’s so super disturbing and gross and for mature audiences only–I can’t stress that point enough! Despite being one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is also one of the funniest, saddest, most touching manga I’ve ever read. If the gore puts you off, please–I beg of you!–stick with it anyways; this is a manga that should not be missed or ignored. Trust me, you’ll want to read this before the corpse delivery service comes for you!

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