The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Vol. 12

By Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki. Released in Japan as “Kurosagi Shitai Takuhaibin” by Kadokawa Shoten, serialization ongoing in the magazine Shonen Ace. Released in North America by Dark Horse.

It’s been a long, long wait, but it’s great to see a new volume of this horror/comedy/workplace series. The reasons for the long wait are many: first off, I imagine Carl Horn was quite busy, as he also edits all the Oh My Goddess and Evangelion titles for Dark Horse, and OMG was on a ‘speed-up’ release schedule. He also had Excel Saga 22 and 23 in there somewhere. But mostly I suspect it’s due to poor sales, as Carl admits in the liner notes. This is why the cover for Vol. 12 is now a normal manga cover as opposed to that cardboardey-feeling cover we had for 1-11. Luckily, the content inside is still excellent.

That cover image above comes without the little ‘Parental Advisory: Explicit Content’ sticker partially obscuring Sasaki’s face, but the sticker is most definitely needed, as this particular volume has explicit sex to go with its explicit gore. No, Karatsu hasn’t gotten it on with either Sasaki or Kikuchi – though he and Sasaki are absent from the last story for a “trip to Hawaii” that’s apparently in Vol. 13. Instead the first story deals with the dangers of virtual reality RPGs, and also trying to sell your identity – or buy another one. As you can imagine, when unscrupulous people get a hold of something shady that needs marketing, bad things happen. Note this is not only the most sexually explicit in the volume, with both sex and nudity, but it’s also the goriest – “Talk about loss of face!” is a grotesque pun here. It also has the most unpleasant of this volume’s villains. Luckily, she gets hers as our heroes make another of their grand entrances. And as a bonus, Sasaki gets to wear another ridiculously impractical outfit, even if only in VR.

The middle story was my favorite, even though I knew it would end poorly. It features a washed-out comic and a club hostess who meet cute, immediately fall for each other, and are basically adorable. In *this* series? You know how long they’ll last. That said, the adorable is there, and it’s refreshing seeing Eiji Otsuka writing the closest this series will ever get to romantic comedy. This story deals with both discorporation – the talent of the hostess girl – and the Japanese housing market, which proves to be as bloody and cutthroat as anything else in this series. It’s also a rather cynical take on the world of showbiz comedians, with the villains here giving off a very seedy, sub-Jerry Lewis vibe. It also has the happiest of the three endings – well, as happy as you’re gonna get.

Lastly, we have a story about a dollmaker longing for his dead sister, who passed away during World War II. Unfortunately, this also ties in with both Korean politics (which the authors have gone into before, possibly as it makes Japan very uncomfortable, and they love pushing buttons) and realdolls (complete with many creepy otaku and some cameos of dolls based on Ayanami from Evangelion and Yoko from Gurren Lagann). It’s the weakest story in the volume, possibly due to Karatsu and Sasaki’s absence (Makino is there but doesn’t do much, as per usual, but that does leave the bulk of things to the “goofy” characters), but not without merit, and has a morbidly cynical punchline. Plus there’s some more Makino/Yata ship tease, which pleases me.

For those wondering about the small fragments of plot that have been going through previous volumes, well, there’s none of that here. What we get is a strong horror manga, with dark veins of comedy and a few heartwarming spots (OK, very few). It’s a solid series that needs more love.

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  1. I’m such a huge fan of this series, and am SO glad this volume was finally released! I’m sad that the sales haven’t been that great, because it really is a series that does dark humor fantastically. I was sad to see that the plot that seemed to be building wasn’t gone into again- after all these clues I’d expected it to go full-on into that storyline, but in a way I’m not too depressed about it since some of my favorite bits are the ones where the group is just all the members being themselves, getting into wacky messes because of their abilities.

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