Manga-ka: Satoko Kiyuduki
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Teen (13+)
Released: May 2008
Synopsis: “Regularly mistaken for a boy and/or vampire, the traveler Kuro roams the land, clothed in black from head to toe, a Kuro-sized coffin on her back. Accompanied by her snarky bat friend, Sen, the mysterious duo meets all sorts of individuals en route–some good, some evil, some just plain crazy! But Kuro never stays in one place for long, begging the question: What exactly is she searching for? And what exactly does she intend to do with that coffin?!”
The art style was what first grabbed my attention when I looked at the book. As a friend had suggested, it was just the sort of thing that I would be interested in. When I first opened it, I was put off a little by the way the paneling was put together. Like a number of recently released titles from Yen Press, it follows the ‘four panel’ style. Still, I liked the way it was drawn, and the premise for it was interesting enough, so I dove right into Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro.
And it was good!
This story follows the ‘start in the middle’ style, and plays it up rather well. A collection of stories about a traveler named Kuro and those who travel with her. They’re traveling from place to place, with Kuro and her bat companion Sen seeking out a witch. Along the way, they collect a mysterious pair of cat girl twins named Nijuku and Sanju.
The story tends to jump around a lot on the timeline, which can be a little confusing in the beginning of an individual story, but overall it doesn’t retract from the delight of it. The book starts with the four traveling together, but also jumps back to when it was just Kuro and Sen traveling. It tells the tale of how they met the twins, as well as a number of odd, yet delightful, characters. Even the supporting cast, who only occasionally make a reappearance, are very detailed with defined personalities.
The end of this volume leaves a number of questions regarding Kuro’s journey. She strangely requires bandages upon her body to be changed frequently, but we don’t know why. It seems to hint that perhaps it has something to do with the reason she carries the coffin around with her everywhere she goes.
With a curious start, and with an even more curious ending, this is a series with a great deal of promise. I for one will be looking forward to the next volume!