Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, The Hippest New Kids on the Block

I don't suppose you can escape from comparisons with Scooby Doo when you are a bunch of pesky kids racing around in a mystery mobile solving crimes...

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service has what I tend to think of as a suitably crazy manga-plot. It is a brilliantly inventive, daring, knowing satire on horror manga, whilst still, itself, being a horror manga - but one not without humour.

Written by the author of MPD Psycho, Eiji Otsuka (who introduces an old favourite as a guest in Volume 4 in the series), The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service sees a bunch of five hard-up misfit students at a Buddhist university, Kuro Karatsu - a student Buddhist monk with the ability to "speak" with the recently deceased, Makato Numata - a dowser for the dead, Ao Sasaki - skilled hacker and general computer expert, Yuji Yata - who wears a felt puppet on his hand that channels an alien intelligence, and Keiko Makino - a licensed embalmer, who are interested in communicating with the dead, channeling, dowsing, and all things supernatural form the Kurosagi (a Black Heron-their ominous bird logo) Corpse Delivery Service:

Whether suicide, murder, accident, or illness, we'll carry your body wherever it needs to go to free your soul!

Thrown together while attempting to earn extra credit at University by helping the police search a popular suicide-spot in the forest for corpses, the the newly-formed group soon develop into just the people you want to see when a corpse keeps turning up in your wardrobe.

The illustrations are superb throughout and in the expertly balanced pages, drawn by Housui Yamazaki, the pesky kids look the part - not just like someone idea of how youngsters might look. The entire thing has a very modern feel to it and just hits the right note, with the zombies and other assorted horrors carrying just the right mix of horror and humour, without lapsing into pastiche. Any resulting anime and live action movies will be warmly recieved, I have no doubt.

The overall design of the books from the covers by Bunpei Yorifuji to the Black Heron logo is perfect without being arch. It could all, of course, be perfectly designed with one-eye on merchandising, but it doesn't feel like that, it feels as if it has been designed that way for maximum fun and enjoyment.

If brilliantly written, brilliantly drawn, slightly macabre humour is your thing, then this is for you. Trust me, it's a joy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree it's impressive how Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service blends so many horror elements but retains a strange sense of levity. It's definitely one of the most appealing things about the series and it acts as a pleasanter contrast to the continual trauma that is MPD Psycho. Definitely one of my favourite manga at the moment. :3

P.S. Sorry about the deleted comment previously. I spotted too many typos!