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Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol 10. Eiji Otsuka (Writer), Housui Yamazaki (Art) Toshifumi Yoshida (Translator) Dark Horse Magna (2010)

A superb mix of gore and black humour with a brilliant story premise and a engaging and very well defined cast. The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service are a group of people who locate corpses and deliver them according to the corpse's last wishes. The first story in the collection presents a problem to the Kurosagi team, corpses appear to be disappearing and when they do find one they do not want to assist it. They find that they are not the only ones looking for corpses and when they encounter a policeman with a very particular interest in them a deeply sad and gripping story unfolds. The second story takes a Japanese legend about the murder of a guest and gives it a very modern and grimly funny makeover. The final story ties up a television programme featuring a "psychic" and look at the background of one of the team. The mix of satire, comedy, gore and character is astonishing.
The most striking aspect to the collection is the variety of the stories, they use the same premise and team and manage to follow very different directions in each case. Eiji Otsuka has a talent for mixing up genre requirements with the unexpected and entirely appropriate, the comedy and gore sit very comfortably with the strongly emotional currents within the stories. The cast are given room to shine over the effects. The clean lines and detail of the art by Housui Yamazaki are a pleasure to read. The corpses have a satisfying grimness to them, their injuries are explicit, their rage is clear.
An outstanding aspect to the book is the final section, "Disjecta Membra" by the editor Greg Horn. Not only does it include a very informative essay about Japanese written characters, it is a glossary of the sound effects and other items within the comic. They are funny, surprising and hugely enjoyable, very much like the stories themselves. A great read.

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