Shannon, here – Halloween is my favourite holiday and to honour it I’m counting down 13 manga throughout the month that I think best capture the Halloween spirit. They aren’t all horror manga, as to me Halloween is about more than scares: it’s about a sense of fun and wonder. It’s about discovering that there may be more to this world than meets the eye. So with that in mind, there’s everything on this list from action-packed shounen to romantic-comedy to children’s manga to some lock-the-doors-and-leave-the-lights-on horror. (See all 13 Days of Halloween so far…)
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5. Kurosagi Delivery Service
Everyone has their own personal squick buttons. Kurosagi Delivery Service manages to push all of mine. If there’s one kind of horror that gets under my skin more than any other, it’s body horror. Body horror is known for being gross as much as it is for being scary. Bodily fluid and functions are often at the forefront of the scares, earning EWW!s as well as AHHH!s from the audience. But once you get past the disgusting surface, body horror is about something much deeper than humans’ gut reaction to grossness. Body horror forces us to confront the fact that, for all our dazzling intellect and capabilities to reason, we are still stuck in these hulking, often gross physical forms, which will eventually perish and rot away.
Aside from the works of David Cronenberg, Kurosagi Delivery Service is the best example of body horror out there. The series follows a group of students at a Buddhist university. All of them have different talents (embalming, dowsing, communicating with the dead, etc) but quickly realize it’s hard to find work using these skills. The most ambitious among them, a computer-savy woman named Sasaki, decides that what they need to do is start a company of their own. And so the Kurosagi Delivery Service is born. The way it works is that the group finds a corpse and promises the dead spirit they will carry out its last wish in return for payment. While it sounds like a straight forward premise, practically every case becomes a lot more complicated very fast, becoming more and more twisted (in every sense of the word) with each horrifying revelation.
Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is not only unnerving, it’s also very smart, with constant of commentary on society and its customs for both the living and the dead. Despite how dark and gory the stories can get, the cast manages to keep things light with their bickering and banter. Dark Horse is doing an amazing job with the series, including a ton of adaptation notes in the back which help highlight some of the manga’s themes and references.
Lissa has reviewed quite a few volumes of the manga right here.
I love the cast of Kurosagi- like a more modern-hipster, japanese take on ScoobyDoo for grownups, but without of a talking Great Dane. It's a fun series.
[…] Melinda Beasi and Michele Smith discuss creepy comics in their latest Off the Shelf column at Manga Bookshelf, and Shannon Fay continues her Halloween series with a look at Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. […]