The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service 1 by Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki: B+

From the back cover:
Five young students at a Buddhist university find that there’s little call for their job skills in today’s Tokyo… among the living, that is! But their studies give them a direct line to the dead—the dead who are still trapped in their corpses, and can’t move on to their next reincarnation! Whether you died from suicide, murder, sickness, or madness, they’ll carry your body anywhere it needs to go to free your soul!

I really wasn’t sure whether I’d like this series or not. I’d heard it was funny in a macabre kind of way, but worried about excessive levels of gore. Though there was one page that was truly gross, there were fewer disturbing images and more amusing snippets of dialogue than I’d been expecting and I ended up enjoying it quite a lot.

The five members of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service each had a different specialty they brought to the table, and their personalities meshed well. At times, I felt like I was watching a genre TV show—one of those with dashes of morbid humor—which is a compliment. My favorite character so far is probably Numata. His special talent is dowsing for corpses and though he looks all tough, he proved a couple of times to be a great big softie.

In the first chapter, the KCDS was formed (thanks to a winning lottery ticket that a grateful corpse gave them), and the three subsequent chapters dealt with different “cases” they came upon. Though each case was interesting, the recurring mystery of the spirit who hangs around one of the team and aids and protects him was what intrigued me the most. It was more genuinely creepy than anything else in the volume.

Lastly, Dark Horse provided extremely thorough notes at the back of the book, including a sound effects glossary and explanations of cultural references. This was good for a couple of giggles, too, and I’m sure the editor had fun describing sounds like “an organ hitting floor” or “foot bumping severed head” when he could’ve just written “thud” or “bump.”

I’m looking forward to continuing with this series; Dark Horse publishes a couple of other things by Otsuka and Yamazaki, too, which I might also check out eventually.

ETA: I’d originally classified this as shounen, because it was serialized some in Shonen Ace. However, it’s currently serialized in Comic Charge, which is definitely seinen. And it simply feels more seinen, so… there’s my rationale for switching it.

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  1. mark thorpe says

    Awww, come on, “excessive levels of gore” is a benefit, not a negative;) Both KCDS and MPD-psycho have some disturbing moments, but neither comes close to the brilliant blood and chop orgies of Berserk or Eden or Blade o/t Immortal.

    Stay strong. If I can read and love Ranma 1/2 and One Pound Gospil, I’m sure you can stomach Kurosagi and it’s close up eyeball removal surgery scene.

  2. Hee. Well, consider that this is the first horror manga I’ve ever read. That might excuse some of my trepidation. 🙂

    I have just ordered the first two volumes of MPD-Psycho this morning; it sounds cool, but again I’m a little worried about freakiness. I tolerate general gore okay, but I don’t like seeing still-living victims enduring pain.

  3. I’m glad you wound up liking it. It’s one of my favorite series right now. I sometimes forget that rotting bodies appear, some of the other stuff is just so bizarre that it’s easy to overlook. Plus I’m probably just desensitized to a lot of it now ^_^;

    My favorite part in the glossary, I think it was in the first volume, was when a sound effect was described near the end of the book as “bolt falling through eyeglasses at terminal velocity and driving into eye socket” or something extremely specific like that. I often read those notes first, they’re sometimes just as funny as the volume itself.

  4. Yeah, I remember that one. 🙂

    It’s not really the rotting bodies that bug me. It’s living victims, like the panel of the chick waking up at the salon.

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