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