Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 9

Written by Eiji Otsuka
Art by Housui Yamazaki

Not being a big manga reader, and not knowing a whole lot about Japan, I think this series has really coloured my perception of that whole country, and its culture.  In this ninth volume of the brilliant series The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, the writer Eiji Otsuka shines the spotlight on one of the stranger aspects of Otaku culture, the stranger air-defence techniques used in the Second World War, and the theme of suicide in Japanese culture.  Along the way, as always, he makes the book a great deal of fun to read, and completely unpredictable.

The first story in this volume deals with "solo hide-and-seek", a game that somehow involves imbuing a doll or stuffed animal with the spirit of a dead person, so that it will come find you when you hide it.  This game is being played on a beautiful young television personality, with bizarre results.

The second story involves urban myths of headless motorcycle riders and an invisibility suit.  The third involves an old man who could hear the voice of heaven, who as a young man was made to sit in a shallow bunker listening for American bombers.  Apparently this really happened.  The final story is the quietest and most personal, as the two most over-looked members of the Service's staff, Yata and Keiko, bond a little over stories about their childhood, and how their parents died.

This series really is remarkable.  It is grounded in a pretty absurd idea for a serial - that the people of the Service help deliver unclaimed and unidentified corpses to their final resting place - yet it is surprisingly personable and affecting.  The ideas that go into this series are always bizarre, but there is a comforting sitcom-like quality to the book that makes you want to overlook any amount of implausibility.  I can't recommend this series highly enough. 


Gitte Feingeist said...

My favourite Manga so far... i love the emotional turnovers within the characters. Although acting supertough almost everyone of them carries a secret that makes them vulnarable. Great character range.... can t wait to read the rest

thingslikei said...

I agree completely. Thanks for commenting!