28 Oct / The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (vols. 5-9) by Eiji Otsuka, art by Housui Yamazaki, translated by Toshifumi Yoshida (Taylor Engel and Toshifumi Yoshida, vol. 7), edited by Carl Gustav Horn
It’s been almost two years since I first discovered this series (vols. 1-4) and they certainly haven’t lost any of their chilling zing! I don’t remember that they came with a “Parental Advisory | Explicit Content” warning sticker before, but they certainly do now, so I’m taking out the “Young Adult” from the reader category. So kids, these are NOT for you! Sometimes, life just isn’t fair …
… which is certainly the case for most of these not-yet-soulless dead whom the dedicated staffers of the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service – psychic Kuro Karatsu (who has protective spirit Yaichi attached to him), corpse dowser Makoto Numata, hacker Ao Sasaki, embalmer Keiko Makino, and alien channeler Yuji Yata with his sock puppet Kereellis – must help to their final rest. As students enrolled at Chiyoda Buddhist University, the team spends most of the time trying to make money … unlike many of their fellow students, they don’t have posh family temples to graduate into and must make their own careers.
In spite of being regularly called upon by Sasayama, an ex-cop who now works in the Social Welfare Office, who needs the team to find the next of kin for anonymous corpses that land in his office, the team still has to resort to taking odd jobs like moving headstones, testing robots, and professional mourning to keep themselves out of the red.
Competition out there is tough! The sinisterly mysterious Shirosagi Corpse Cleaning Service – ‘shiro’ means white, which makes them the ‘white crane’ service to Kurosagi’s ‘black crane’ service! – keeps showing up at the most inconvenient times. And even the local post office is making money from the dead, pre-arranging corpse deliveries for suicide victims before they make their final departures!
From mummies to cryogenic frozen heads in vol. 5, hidden children to Jack the Ripper in vol.6, a long-lost beauty icon to a desperate filmmaker’s assistant in vol. 7, after-death matchmakers to airplane crash survivors in vol. 8, and a crazed fan to a World War II survivor in vol. 9, each of the corpses have horrific tales to tell … and the Kurosagi team somehow manages to find them peace, one way or another.
Each volume dovetails into the next (which will make you only want to keep reading more, more, more). Each volume also ends with some of the most informative, entertaining ,and enlightening endnotes found anywhere on this side of the living: “It is suggested the reader not constantly consult this glossary as they read through, but regard it as supplemental information, in the manner of footnotes, or perhaps one of those nutritional supplements, the kind that’s long and difficult to swallow.” But oh so good for you, so definitely not to be skipped.
Published: 2007-2009 (United States)