The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 1, by Eiji Otsuka

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery ServiceThis… this is a very weird book. I read a blurb about it in Booklist and put a hold on it immediately — “Full of gore and humor, this tongue-in-cheek horror series follows five university students as they find a way to turn a profit while granting the last requests of lost souls.” Sounds awesome, yes? Maybe?

I think it’s a great concept, but somehow the execution just did not work for me. I think part of it is that it’s a manga, as you might have guessed, and manga and I don’t always get along. The pictures are fantastic and gory and disgusting, but the dialogue is sparse and jumps around weirdly and in some places is either poorly translated or intended to make absolutely no sense, which doesn’t please me.

Here’s what I did like: everything else. The main characters are super strange, most with some sort of power. There’s a guy who can dowse for dead people, a guy who can strike up a conversation with them and apparently convince them to move about, and a guy who wears a puppet on his hand and channels aliens. As you do. They’re all part of this little band of Buddhist university students who decide to use their powers to find dead people, fulfill their last requests, and profit. This does not always work out.

Unlike my good friend Death Note, each chapter within the volume is its own separate, monster-of-the-week story. A corpse shows up, the KCDS has a chat with it, they find a home for it while possibly fighting bad guys, then go for shawarma. (Not really that last part.) I liked this setup a lot, and I’m glad to know that if I ever want to try Volume 2 I’m not going to have to rack my brains to remember what’s going on.

So, maybe someday I will track down Volume 2. For now, though, I think I’ll stick with things that have a more fleshed-out story and make more sense. Well, I’ll try, anyway!

Recommendation: For those with strong stomachs and an appreciation for the weird.

Rating: 7/10

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Death Note Vol. 8, by Tsugumi Ohba

Nrrrrrrt.

That’s about the only sound I was capable of making after this book EXPLODED MY BRAIN. If you’ve read any of my other Death Note reviews, you’re going to be like, “Yeah, yeah, I get it with the brain explosion, get a new phrase, lady.” But I can’t. Because my brain has exploded. Again.

Okay, so. Light’s sister has been kidnapped, and the kidnappers, led by a chocolate-loving mini-L want the notebook in trade. Light comes up with a plan to not do that last part, but the kidnappers are way wily-er and they temporarily hijack a plane and take Light’s dad out to the desert where they’re keeping his daughter underground in some crazy revolving door trap and there’s no choice but to give up the notebook and now the kidnappers are like, sweet, and go killing all the people they don’t like.

But of course there’s still another notebook, and a person who can see people’s names to write them down in it, and so Misa is still useful and Light still hangs out with her, even if her sexy underpants do absolutely nothing for him. Poor Misa.

AND Light is working with the American special ops team headed by the other mini-L, who at first acts like he’s never heard of the first mini-L and then is like, “Oh, no, I totes know him. And must defeat him.”

Oh, also, there’s a third Shinigami who apparently owns one of these notebooks? I don’t remember this from the previous books but I remember so little that I will go ahead and believe it, and he totally messes everything up.

And then a bunch of people die, and then Light contemplates killing, like, everyone else, including Misa. Because that’s what you do to the people who love you, right?

This is all very confusing, I’m sure, because the book is super confusing, and there are still like five books to go and I might suffer a mental breakdown before I finish them. But I still want to finish them. There is something very wrong with me.

Recommendation: Probably you should NEVER read this series, because you’re just going to get sucked in and your brain is going to explode and you’re going to think it’s a good idea to keep reading them. But still, you should read them.

Rating: 7/10
(RIP Challenge)

Death Note Vol. 7, by Tsugumi Ohba

Hey there, Death Note! How have you beeeeeen for the last seven months? Good? Good!

So when last we left off… um… stuff was happening. There was this notebook, and you could write people’s names in it and they would totally die, and that was kind of interesting, and then this kid with God-aspirations was like, “I’m’a totally kill all the bad guys in the world” and that was pretty awesome except that there are, like, laws and stuff and so the police decided to go after God-kid, who happens to be the son of the police chief guy, which is all complicated, and then God-kid started having to kill some good guys, which is terrible, and then God-kid made with the crazy-ass LOGIC and PSYCHOLOGY and managed to escape the police largely by forgetting that he ever had this mysterious notebook in the first place.

Yes. That. That’s totally what happened.

And I don’t recommend forgetting all of that yourself before reading this seventh volume, because right from the start the writers are like, lets have some weird stuff happen that makes no sense but we’ll explain it later! Which is good, except when I don’t realize that I shouldn’t already know what’s going on and sit there with a confused look on my face instead of reading the five pages I need to get to the part with the explaining. Not that the explaining is very explainful. I’m still confused.

‘Cause basically, in this one, God-kid, aka Light, remembers that he had the Death Note thing, and it turns out that he totally planned to remember this and that he’s got some crazy logic/psychology plan to get his Death Note back without getting caught as the killer, and also to kill anyone who might ruin said plan. And it’s brain-hurty but also awesome, and it mostly works, except that the killing-people part only encourages NEW people to come out of the woodwork to track Light down, like I didn’t already have enough characters to keep straight. Which I did.

Luckily, I have the next two book in my possession now, so I might actually get around to reading them in a timely manner!

Recommendation: Oh, you should totally read this series (if you don’t mind things that make your brain explode), but you should probably start back at the beginning. 🙂

Rating: 8/10
(A to Z Challenge, Global Reading Challenge: Asia)

Death Note Vol. 6, by Tsugumi Ohba

Oh. Em. Gee.

This is another of the books I’ve read recently only because they were due back at the library. After things got very wonky in the last book, I was not sure I was going to like this next one.

But I did.

Things? Still wonky. L still doesn’t trust Light, which is as it should be, but now also he’s decided to go after Kira whatever the costs while the ex-police guys are like, um, shouldn’t we try to stop him killing people even if we can’t catch him? So there is a split, and Light gets caught on L’s side even though he doesn’t like it on account of the handcuffs that keep him attached to L at all times. Oh, and also on account of his girl-thing Misa being really excited about being used as bait to find Kira.

But! While Misa is doing the bait thing, she discovers that in fact she used to be a Kira and that Light was also one (they had made themselves forget this previously), so now she has even more leverage with the new Kira, provided she doesn’t slip up in front of the people who want to capture her. Who are also the people she is acting as bait for. And it’s all crazy and stuff.

But but! It gets even crazier when the plans start to come together and the new Kira is being chased and herded and almost caught… but then the book ends in a bit of a cliffhanger. And to make things worse, my husband says that what happens next is EVEN MORE INSANE. I am going to have to go track down book 7, like, yesterday. Sigh.

Recommendation: This stuff is insane, yo. Read it if you don’t mind your brains EXPLODING EVERYWHERE.

Rating: 8/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Death Note Vol. 5, by Tsugumi Ohba

Another one of these Death Note books… in this one things get rather more wonky than they have been previously, which is to say VERY WONKY.

Light gives up his Death Note (that thing that lets him kill criminals), and with it his memories of using said Note, which leaves him wondering if he could ever have been Kira — could he kill people in the name of justice? He thinks probably not. Mmhmm.

And he does it in a pretty strange fashion… he lets L (the guy trying to find Kira) see him locked up, with no one dying, then after he doesn’t remember anything anymore a third Kira starts killing people, so now L thinks maybe the power just gets passed around? And maybe Light was Kira but now he’s not? Which seems like not the right way to go about it, but okay. Also, L is a jerk and spends too much time testing people and eating cake and not enough actually solving crimes, so far as I can tell. What will the next book bring?

Recommendation: Um, well, you’ll want to start at the beginning. But I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who is intrigued by ethical dilemmas and doesn’t mind being very confused very often.

Rating: 7/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Death Note Vol. 4, by Tsugumi Ohba

Not much to say here… this series is really addictive and also confusing beyond belief. In this book we have shenanigans with the second Kira, who has the ability to learn anyone’s name just by looking at that person (thus being able to kill said person more easily than Light can), more “I have to say this or L will suspect that I’m Kira, but also saying it might make him think I’m Kira too so, um, crap,” and then a ridiculous ending that I for one did not see coming and which can only make the books after this even more confusing. AND it was less boring and repetetive than the last one. Good work, everyone!

Rating: 7/10
(Support Your Local Library Challenge)

See also:
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.

Death Note Vol. 3, by Tsugumi Ohba

I am like super in love with this series. It’s like one of those television shows that you start watching because you’re bored and then you have to watch to the end because OMG WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? You know? No? Oh.

Well. Anyway. I’m not going to worry you with the details of the series, you can read about that at that linky I gave you just now. The important thing in this book is that Light and L are going head to head against each other. As in, L has decided to show himself to Light, which devolves into the mind-twisting-est of mind-twisting plot lines, wherein both Light and L are trying to predict and out-predict each other, all, “If I say this, it means I’m the killer, but if I don’t say it, L might think I’m hiding the fact that I’m the killer, so maybe if I say it in just this exact way I will protect myself!”

It hurts the brain, it does, and it takes up waaaaaaaaaay too much of the book. If Volume 4 is anything like this, I’m giving up.

Rating: 6/10
(Support Your Local Libary Challenge)

See also:
things mean a lot (Volumes 1-3)
Rhinoa’s Ramblings

Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.