corner corner The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Volume 1


The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Volume 1
by Eiji Otsuka, Housui Yamazaki | Graphic Novels
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 10/13/2010
Average 9 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by Esme-Weatherwax): to be read

9 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

9 out of 10

I discovered this series after stumbling across Vol. 5 at a local used book store, and promptly fell in love with it; I picked up the first couple of volumes and am on my way to collecting the whole set. The TV Tropes page calls it a black comedy horror manga, which certainly fits, but the actual mix of emotional, spiritual, mundane, funny, and gruesome elements is hard to describe.

I also like the unusual cover design. For one thing, the covers have a matte finish rather than the typical gloss; for another, each one includes a stylized illustration showing one or more of the subjects from one of the cases in the book. (This can include some spoilers, so purists may want to avoid examining the covers too closely!) The covers also include pictures of each of the team members, with that of the "corpse-whisperer" (aka "psychic") always staying the same, while the others are presented in a different style on each book.

I'll try to avoid any major spoilers, but may mention some things that might be better enjoyed if you discover them for yourself, so depending on your personal preferences regarding spoilers or other advance knowledge, you may want to stop reading here and come back when you've finished the book.

OK? OK! The first story opens with a full-page illustration of a lovely forest, Mt. Fuji rising in the background. Very pretty and tranquil - but turn the page, and you see a view inside the heavily-wooded area, where a corpse is hanging from a tree. Next page features a closeup of its face, bloated and fly-blown (I did mention that the stories can be gruesome). And then its fingers twitch...

Scene shifts to show a shaven-headed young man sitting on a bench listening to music on his MP3 player, near signs that identify the location and include a "Suicide Prevention Message Box". This turns out to be a place known for frequent suicides - a place that actually exists, btw - so there are messages posted to try to dissuade people, and there are periodic sweeps to retrieve the bodies of the unpersuaded. Our hero has come along in answer to an ad on a bulletin board at the school he attends, a request for people to give prayers for the dead (and earn community service points along the way). [The ad's darkly humorous: "Chant sutras. Be a volunteer. Let's go see some dead people!"]

Kuro, our hero, meets up with several other points-seeking folk, including Ao (she runs a message board for gruesome-photo fans online), Numata (who has the ability to dowse for the dead - not making this up), Makino (a cute girl who's been trained in embalming, rare in cremation-oriented Japan but handy when you wind up having to keep corpses around for a while), and Yata (who might be cute if you could see under his eye-shielding bangs, and who channels aliens via his nasty-tempered hand-puppet).

As if that's not weird enough, a ghostly hand reaches out from behind Kuro and touches his shoulder; he spins around and sees a corpse on the ground behind him, apparently having crawled to get there! And Kuro admits to his new companions that he can hear the voices of the dead - and this one tells him he died in a suicide pact with his girlfriend and wants to be buried with her. But there's no other body nearby...

All that kicks off the first case, which gets darker and darker as they investigate - but is punctuated with snarky remarks and with the group's ongoing need for cash. [There's a lottery ticket in the pocket of the first corpse they meet - if "meet" is the right word - and when Kuro asks the guy who it should go to, he says they can have it. Their first score!]

ANYway (and no, I'm not going to recount all the plots of all the stories; this is just to give a flavor of the book and the series): this Romeo-and-Juliet tale gets very dark (with explicit gore and squick and general nastiness) before resolution is obtained, and our little group learns more about each other's abilities - and the possibilities - along the way. The lottery ticket pays off, and on the premise that other corpses might have ways of paying for assistance as well triggers the formation of (ta da!) the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service!

The mysterious spirit whose hands appeared earlier returns, and while Kuro seems to react to his/her/its presence - waking up when summoned, etc. - it isn't clear that he knows that there is a spirit there. But it seems that this spirit must be involved if Kuro is going to do more than speak with corpses; with its help, he can make them move... [We do learn more about the spirit as the books progress, but never much at a time. It has long hair and flowing robes, dark nails and hollow, piercing eyes, and several ragged scars across its face. Stay tuned!]

The next story touches on the concept of "Dendera Field", a place where the elderly of a village would be left to die. This is supposedly an ancient custom no longer practiced, but our heroes come across a corpse in an unexpected place and it wants to go to Dendera Field... [This story was rather sweet and sad, with a look at social and religious customs - and a few moments of surprising action-hero business from Numata.]

The third story switches back to a gruesome, psycho-killer note - you've got to be careful turning the pages in this book, as you never know what image is going to fill your mind. Kuro's ability to speak with the dead - and his spirit-guide's ability to activate them - are tested even more here.

The final story deals with an insurance scam involving some unusual uses of actuarial tables, and is both creepy and funny. And Kuro's spirit gets a wee bit more background here when he calls to an unconscious Kuro saying "I need your living hand to work through."

That's the last story but it's not the end of the book. One of the delights of this series is the "disjecta membra", the glossary and notes. While many of the entries in the glossary are simply an explanation of the Japanese-character sound effects ("sound of a distant helicopter", "sound of a fly landing on eye", that kind of thing {grin}), there are lots and lots of notes about elements in the story, from the popular songs used as chapter titles to a discussion of real-world places or customs featured in the stories. And the notes are written in a wonderfully wry and informative manner, well worth reading, even when (or especially when) the editor natters on about something only marginally related to the panel. "If you want to grow up to be an editor and get good car insurance rates (see 167.3 below) it is especially important to practice good spelling online, as that is where people do most of their writing these days.... Never mind the porn filters, we need bad grammar filters to protect our children." 

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, July 05, 2011

9 out of 10

I've been enjoying this series so much that I thought I'd offer this one for a bookray (see the forum thread here).

The book is a softcover that weighs under 8 ounces; I hope this will be useful when estimating postage costs. I'm willing to make it an international ray if I get enough participants who can mail internationally and cover all the necessary hops. [US participants can get postage estimates at the USPS site here.]

Please post a reply in the forum thread if you'd like to participate, and include any mailing restrictions or list-order preferences you may have.

Bookray instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.

Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookray book at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within one month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the book, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)

When you're ready to pass the book along, please add your comments about the book and indicate where you're sending it, either through a journal entry or through the controlled-release-note option using your country/state/city as the location. If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.

Participants so far, in tentative mailing order:

laevina [USA - CO]
AKSarah [USA - AK]
azuki [USA - FL]
Minerva101 [Canada]
JudySlump612 [USA - MN]
DrSlump612 [USA - MN]
lils74 [Nepal]
dutch-book [Netherlands]
Esme-Weatherwax [Ireland]

Update: the book has successfully finished the bookray. Thanks to everyone who participated! 

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, July 05, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (7/5/2011 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm sending the book to BCer laevina in Colorado to kick off the bookring. Hope you enjoy it! 

Journal Entry 4 by laevina at Denver, Colorado USA on Friday, July 08, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Received the book in the mail today. Thank you for starting this book ring since a few pen pals have recommended this series. 

Journal Entry 5 by laevina at Denver, Colorado USA on Saturday, July 09, 2011

9 out of 10

I usually don't read horror but this one, so far, it's good . . . Creepy . . . I won't be going to sleep for awhile . . . and somehow, I still want to read more. Note: the glossary & notes are a riot and helpful. 

Journal Entry 6 by laevina at By Mail, Book Ring -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, July 09, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (7/9/2011 UTC) at By Mail, Book Ring -- Controlled Releases


off to the next person . . . 

Journal Entry 7 by AKSarah at Fairbanks, Alaska USA on Friday, July 29, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Arrived today. Looks good! 

Journal Entry 8 by AKSarah at Fairbanks, Alaska USA on Sunday, July 31, 2011

9 out of 10

Now that was thoroughly enjoyable! A detective-zombie-dark comedy! Too many funny and endearing parts to list. I enjoyed the concept of helping the dead find peace and closure...even if it is for profit! Thanks for sharing! I'll now be on the lookout for vol. 2.... 

Journal Entry 9 by AKSarah at Fairbanks, Alaska USA on Thursday, August 04, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (8/4/2011 UTC) at Fairbanks, Alaska USA


Mailed to azuki for the bookring. Enjoy! 

Journal Entry 10 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Saturday, August 20, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Just got it in and can't help reading it already...
It's totally gruesome, and like all such things... difficult to tear your eyes from... Yikes.
Quite an interesting cast, and definitely a great depart from the cute and beautiful Ouran High School Host Club I was just reading.
Will put the book on TBR till I finish reading the book I am on, and then properly read it through.  

Journal Entry 11 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Tuesday, September 06, 2011

10 out of 10

Now I really wish I had snatched the copy of Kurosagi at the BC Convention book buffet table a few months ago. But at that time I flipped the pages, thought urgh, gross, and put it back.

I thoroughly enjoyed this volume 1. Interesting characters, humorous moments, well developed plot, sophisticated art style. Definitely one of the better series I've read this year. However, I still find it incredulous that they can go around finding corpse and just not report to the police. Nor getting reported. How do they take something that's clearly a body bag onto a train? Also hard to imagine all the corpses lying around in the city... could I have passed by ten on the way to work? Maybe it's weird I can take all that other paranormal stuff in the book but can't get over this minor detail?

If I do cosplay, I'd like to play Yuji with his alien puppet.

Thanks Gory for introducing me to this series. Look forward to future volumes. Meanwhile, I can't go to the post office this week but will mail it out in the next.  

Journal Entry 12 by wingAzukiwing at Miami, Florida USA on Sunday, October 02, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Er... I don't know how it happened... the book is still with me.
I went to my TBR shelf to get a book to read, and then notice that this book is sitting there!! I know I've read it weeks ago, but probably put it back on the TBR shelf by error instead of the To Be Mailed pile.
My deepest apology - and I will pack it tonight so it will go out next week.  

Journal Entry 13 by Minerva101 at Calgary, Alberta Canada on Monday, October 24, 2011

This book has not been rated.

This book arrived safely in my my mailbox today (thank you azuki! I am actually glad it didn`t arrive a month ago - I was too busy - grin!). I will read it soon and hopefully get it off to the reader within the next week or so.

Journal Entry 14 by Minerva101 at Calgary, Alberta Canada on Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This book has not been rated.

This was a very fast book to read - kind of like a car wreck - you know you shouldn`t gawk, but it`s hard to look dreadful, it was hard to put it down. Definitely need some some brain bleach for some it - yech...
The humor definitely offset the gruesomness of parts of the story and I liked the characters - they weren`t cardboard.
Thank you so much for sharing - I will be posting this off to JudySlump612 in the next couple of days 

Journal Entry 15 by Minerva101 at Calgary, Alberta Canada on Wednesday, November 02, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (11/2/2011 UTC) at Calgary, Alberta Canada


Sorry for the little delay - I`ve been too busy to get to the post office :P
Anyways, I finally mailed this off the JudySlump612 by airmail, so it shouldn`t take too long 

Journal Entry 16 by wingJudySlump612wing at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This book has not been rated.

The book arrived here safely today, and I believe this sets a new all-time speed record for a book mailed between our two countries. DrSlump will enjoy reading a book printed in the correct Japanese page order, and of course I am humbly grateful for a translated version. 

Journal Entry 17 by wingJudySlump612wing at Minneapolis, Minnesota USA on Monday, November 21, 2011

8 out of 10

DrSlump & I both enjoyed this, probably more me than him, since he's read a lot more manga and may be a little jaded. For instance, the section in the notes about Japanese writing style was very interesting to me, especially the part about English being difficult to spell because it uses an alphabet designed for another language.

We strongly agreed with azuki about the improbability of carrying a body bag through a large train station, putting it up on the luggage rack, etc. In fact, there's even a - possibly intentional? - visual joke where one character says "You act like death is hanging over your head" and the next frame shows the body bag in the luggage rack, literally over everyone's heads.

The story I really loved was the last one, with a highly detailed actuary. Very original, funny, and well-developed. I await with a shudder the day our insurance agent says "The bad news is, your rate's gone way up. But the good news is, you'll only have to pay it for one day."  

Journal Entry 18 by wingJudySlump612wing at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, November 21, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (11/21/2011 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases


Mailed today to lils74 

Journal Entry 19 by winglils74wing at Kathmandu, Bagmati Nepal on Wednesday, December 07, 2011

This book has not been rated.

This arrived safely in my postbox yesterday. It looks like great fun and I am really looking forward to reading it. A couple of busy days ahead, then intend to settle down with a cup of coffee and really enjoy it! Thanks for sharing it, GoryDetails, and thanks for posting it to me, JudySlump612! 

Journal Entry 20 by winglils74wing at Kathmandu, Bagmati Nepal on Saturday, January 07, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Ack, I have had this for a month now--I'm so sorry! With Christmas and New Year's I seem to have totally lost track of time--I should have kept up with it better, sorry. I have Dutch-book's address and will get it on its way.

My thoughts about the book:
Well, I do enjoy manga, and despite efforts to read it online, I like it a lot more when it has real pages, and this one is a lot of fun. The characters are engaging (I have, to say, though, what's with the blonde child embalmer? Really? Ok, I'll suspend reality for how old she must have been when she studied that...smiley) but I do really like the team, and the way each chapter has a new case presented makes it very readable. One case--I think it was the third one, yes, "Magician of lost love" was more than slightly disturbing, yuck--don't know why, I've read much worse, but it still wasn't my favourite. All in all, a great read that I would love to continue if I ever find more of the series! It was over too soon! 

Journal Entry 21 by winglils74wing at a fellow bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, January 12, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (1/12/2012 UTC) at a fellow bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases


Posted this out yesterday (Jan 11) to continue on its way--thanks again for sharing it, GoryDetails--had a lot of fun reading this one! 

Journal Entry 22 by dutch-book at Weesp, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Arrived. On first sight very gory, but am fascinated by lils74 journal entry, as I didn't see that on first sight. 

Journal Entry 23 by dutch-book at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Saturday, May 19, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Finished it yesterday. At first I didn't understand, but then I did and it was right up my alley. Actually very interesting and very gory, but I like that. I will PM Esme-Weatherwax.

20th of October 2012: I will send Esme-Weatherwax another PM to ask if her adress is still the same. Will send the book coming Monday (depending on Esme-Weatherwax' reply.) 

Journal Entry 24 by dutch-book at Heerenveen, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Tuesday, January 08, 2013

This book has not been rated.

Released 5 yrs ago (1/8/2013 UTC) at Heerenveen, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands


I have finally been able to send this book on to esme-weatherwax. She'll be back the end of January, but I have been told the book will be with her husband meanwhile and will be journalled when she returns. Sorry for the huge delay. 

Journal Entry 25 by Esme-Weatherwax at Limerick, Co. Limerick Ireland on Wednesday, February 06, 2013

This book has not been rated.

Got the package today. I am not sure when it arrived in the mail for my husband did not have all the books that arrived for me while I was gone together. I look forward to this series. 

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