The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Vol. 09)
Eiji Otsuka (Story) & Housui Yamazaki (Art)
Published by Dark Horse (May 2009)
My favourite part of this volume would be its last chapter, which gives focus to Yuji Yata and his alien hand puppet, and the group’s embalmer, Keiko Makino. Though the two are there for nearly all the cases, they tend to get the short end of the attention stick. Yata in particular is often shadowed over because having the power of an obnoxious hand puppet is rarely as useful as it sounds. Yet in this chapter we not only learn a great deal more about these two, er, three characters, but we also see Yata and his partner exhibit a skill of power that’s quite impressive indeed, and sort of a shame we haven’t seen more of it until now. A little surprise fluff topped it off at the end for a sweet endnote, a contrast to some of the darker flashbacks in the chapter itself. Although, is it just me, or is Keiko teenage girl mannerisms of speech much more pronounced in this book?
Other episodic events in this volume involve a girl hounded from beyond the grave by dolls, a bodiless peeping tom in a woman’s changing locker, and my favourite of the corpse-involved, a story about a group of boys with special powers to hear things from another world. There wasn’t much in the way of connecting plot devices as previous volumes have been including but the character-driven strength of the cast of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service still keeps each chapter interesting. The nurse who shares powers similar to Karatsu does return though, as I’d hoped she would, and as much as I love the added chance for corpse-encounters she brings to the story, it’s the three-way love triangle being poked at that actually interests me all the more.
Many of the stories throughout the series work from inspiration of current day events, historical facts and urban legends, and this fact along with an attractively grounded art style and real sense of personality and flaw from these characters, makes the whole series that much more compelling. There’s also the humour, which never fails to amuse. Numata, you alone never cease to entertain.
Though a little sad that previously insinuated plot directions aren’t continued here in the ninth volume, there was still the usual quality of creepy story telling along with a great final chapter chock full of character goodness. I also never tire of the quality of Dark Horse’s releases: reads well, looks awesome and has lots of translation notes for the curious. As per usual, next volume please!