Monday, August 24, 2009

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, vol. 4

The story: This volume is another collection of episodic stories, including the gang's assistance in a rural town's alien-based tourism effort, a Chinese company's involvement in a traveling exhibit showcasing preserved whole and partial human bodies, a woman's possession by her best friend's (and murder victim) spirit and how a parasitic snail is involved in the apparent suicide of people across Japan.

Reaction: There was a lot to absorb in this volume, none of it too telling with the exception of more being revealed about the spirit that constantly accompanies Karatsu. I also liked Yata's unapologetic attention to detail when it came to producing alien-like crop circles. Unfortunately, the last story seemed to introduce a needless buxom blonde from the U.S. This character, Reina Gorn, studies forensic entomology and proves helpful in this one episode. She seems to be a walking stereotype, from her lack of real clothing (she wears a bikini top instead of, you know, an actual shirt of some sort in one scene) to her awful accent. Honestly, I could have done without this character entirely, or at least a more reasonable semblance.

Deep thoughts: I was reminded of Parasyte with the last story because a parasitic snail seems to have evolved enough to infect an entirely new species. It's a great illustration of evolution and what species will do in order to proliferate and continue their life cycle. While the parasite causes some fairly appalling physical effects, its ingenuity is pretty amazing considering the influence of instinct. These creatures aren't thinking about how to infect another species, it simply happens out of necessity.

Artwork: While I've never been compelled to view the BODIES exhibition that's been traveling across the country, I will admit I was impressed by Housui Yamazaki's keen eye for human anatomy. Having such a consistent and reliable recreation of different layers of human tissue is fairly remarkable in my opinion and made this chapter all the more interesting in an almost clinical way. On the other hand, I absolutely could not stand the character design for Reina Gorn. Can we say fanservice?

The verdict: If only... I certainly enjoyed a great deal of this manga, but couldn't get past the seemingly thrown in American character. While she acted as a source of information on entomology, she was a constant eyesore and distraction for me. Hopefully, this is a momentary mis-step and I won't have to see Gorn ever again. Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is available in the U.S. from Dark Horse.

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