Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service 14
August 30, 2015
Eiji Otsuka / Housui Yamazaki – Dark Horse – 2015 – 20+ volumes
I am so, so very happy about this series coming back. Tell your friends they should buy the omnibus! Apparently if that doesn’t do well, we may not see more. I think it’s coming out in a week or so (from now, which is August 24th, I’ll probably post this in my next round of reviews). If you haven’t given it a try yet, and you have any love at all for horror manga, this is one of its true gems in English. Forgive the art in the first volume, it gets way better.
I was re-reading the series a bit before this arrived, or else the content might have… surprised me. Not because it’s particularly graphic (although Karatsu does, at one point, resurrect dozens of murder victims that had been dumped over the course of 40+ years), but because it’s just plain strange. In a 2-chapter story in the middle of the volume, the drawing style reverts… to be more cartoony? Like Saturday Morning Cartoons in America cartoony. Which is precisely what it is, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service retold in an American setting, drawn in a broad caricature. For some reason. The best reason I can come up with is the bad joke at the end of the second chapter, but that seems like a lot of work.
The two more “realistic” stories deal with political protest, mostly, this time around. In the first, a corrupt politician campaigns to end dam building across the country (presumably because he sees it as a government handout job-kinda situation), but continues the construction project in his own hometown. He is hiding something. There is also an ugly internet rumor about the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, which turns out to be related to a copycat group that uses the same logo and, hilariously, look and dress like members of the team.
The third story is about another politician who feels that we waste too much time conferring in committees to get things done, so he conducts a massive experiment involving murder victims that is very Kurosagi-like. Sasaki finds herself in the line of fire this time.
The characters (and Carl Horn, a bit, in the back) seem to have a little fun at the expense of unusual museums. The characters visit, for all intents and purposes, The Museum of Torture of Japan. If you, like me, are a fan of both the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service and macabre museums, and happen to be in America, then you may want to check out The Museum of Torture (hilariously located) in Wisconsin Dells , the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities in Philadelphia (whose tagline is “Are You Ready to Be Disturbingly Informed”), the Museum of Death in Hollywood, the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, or the Museum of Surgical Science, located in a Gold Coast mansion in Chicago. Of those, the Mutter Museum is the best by far. <3 The Iron Maiden also comes up in this volume, those are sometimes on display in Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums, which are all over. I’ve seen six of them. I live the life.
Anyway, we even get a couple tidbits about the characters this time around, I live for that in these volumes. Here, we learn a little about Numata’s family and the ultimate end of a man involved with them. We also get a few rare glimpses of unguarded Sasaki (she gets kidnapped, texts for help, and we also find out about her internship), which is also worth mentioning. Funny that, 14 volumes in, we know next to nothing about these characters save for the fact they may or may not be attending college together.
Basically, this volume does not disappoint. The editor notes in the back are hilarious as always, and made even better by the fact that the cartoon segment doesn’t have sfx translations because they are all in English or Romanized in that section. We’ve been waiting years for this to come out, and I was not disappointed. I will only be bummed if we never see more again. Buy the omnibus of the beginning of the series! This is the good kind of wacky, very smart and interesting, and reads kind of like a corpse-resurrecting Scooby Doo, where they pull the flesh off people’s dead skulls at the end instead of the usual rubber mask.