Author: Eiji Otsuka
Manga-ka: Housui Yamazaki
Publisher: Dark Horse
Rating: Mature (18+)
Release Date: February 2010
Synopsis: “The dead don’t walk in Kurosagi — that is, not without a little help . . . and it’s a shock to the system when the delivery service finds out what’s making their clients rise up! Then, for Numata to take off his sunglasses for anyone, it must be a grave matter . . . or, more likely, a matter of someone not yet in their grave…”
A new face arrives on scene and strange old myths resurface in this tenth volume of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Spiritual powers may been the KCDS’s bread-and-butter (on the rare occasion it actually pays) but with technology springing up to both challenge and compliment their work, it’s becoming a whole new ballgame in the corpse finding business.
It’s interesting looking back at the evolution of Karatsu’s powers over ten volumes. At the series’ beginning corpses could talk through him to rely information, and at the time that was impressive enough. Now his ability to bring corpses back to momentary life in order to right a last wrong is a commonplace occurrence among his band of merry corpse-hunters. Even more casually displayed is the mysterious figure that aids Karatsu in the use of his powers – before they were only an occasional outline, now they’re a repeat appearance in full scarred-and-loving-it glory.
But there’s still plenty the story hasn’t given up yet. The mystique around some of the cast’s powers remains, and though it plays a strong role in the allure of the series itself, most readers will continue anticipating a more upfront explanation someday. This tenth volume delivers on this to a point, delving briefly back into the past of Numata – the group’s dowser. Readers see how he learned the art of dowsing in his youth from a master of the art who utilizes coat hangers. The reason for Numata’s enthusiasm towards this skill is revealed with a pit-in-your-stomach cliffhanger that we can only look forward to being continued in volume eleven.
As volumes before it, this instalment of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service also brings in a distinctive new character – one who definitely makes his mark in the context of this volume’s story. Of course it remains to be seen if he’ll be returning again but it’d definitely be a nice surprise. Travelling across the country on a bike, Kazuya Iijima is a snazzily dressed individual who uses a specially charged glove to bring bodies back to life hours after their death. It works much like Karatsu’s abilities but with a more technological power source.
Kazuya’s appearance coincides with the delivery crew learning about AED – the electronic device used to resuscitate someone after their heart has stopped. It creates a whole new issue (of sorts) for the team when they realize that a body that was a corpse one moment could suddenly be brought back to life the next. Certainly not ones who would choose death over life however, the team is content to keep an AED on them just in case – even if they’re much less enthusiastic about the dull seminars explaining it.
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service remains a must-buy on many manga readers’ lists and for good reason. The supernatural element of the story repeatedly proves both thought provoking and intentionally eerie while the realistic rendering of the story’s lead cast is often the most engaging element. Casual, curious and never short of entertaining, you really feel like you’re following a band of human beings. Whether they’re all drinking at a pub or digging up a body, you’ll be no less enticed to keep up with them in this compelling modern-day suspense story adorned in Dark Horse’s remarkable ogle-me-now packaging.