Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kurosagi Corpse Deliver Service Vol. 4

Written by Eiji Otsuka
Art by Housui Yamazaki

Once again, I'm surprised by how much I enjoy the The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.  With each new volume I read, I'm more convinced that the creators have stumbled on a winning formula - the horror sitcom comic.

KCDS is about a group of Buddhist graduates who have formed a business designed to help the dead complete their final wishes, which usually involve having their corpse returned home for them.  While it's not a winning business formula (I'm not sure if they've ever received more than one payment from their clients), it works very well as a structure for stories.  Among the employees of the service are a medium who channels a distant alien consciousness into a sock puppet, a guy who can speak with the dead, and another who has the ability to dowse the location of corpses.

This issue has four stories in it.  The first involves the discovery of an 'alien' body.  The second involves a conspiracy centred around a Bodyworlds-like exhibit, where some evil scientists are 'plastinating' the bodies of the dead.  The third story features the haunting of a baby-killer (and features a guest appearance by a character from one of Otsuka's other manga series), while the fourth is a weird story about parasitic slugs and a traveling American student.

All of these stories are deeply weird at their core, but are played lightly.  Otsuka's characterizations are strong, and very consistent.  One would think that there are only so many ways to tell stories that involve wronged corpses, but with each additional volume I pick up (so far there are twelve available in English), I'm surprised by how fresh the concept feels.  This is good stuff.

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