Monday, December 7, 2009

Kusosagi Corpse Delivery Service, vol. 7

The story: Our fab five(and a half)some is back with another slew of funny, if not zombie-filled, mysteries. In the first story, the boys are being exploited by the girls and get a painful gig moving gravestones. Thankfully, a trio of engineering students lend a robotic hand, but things go from bad to worse when the robot goes on an "hideous mission of otaku slaughter!" The second arc in this volume gets readers one step closer to the mystery that is Karatsu's spirit guide, Yaichi, when a jinmenso, or a haunting where the face of a murdered person appears on their killer's face, becomes bait for the two. The third and last vignette features a director ready to kill for the perfect film -- but, little does he know about the Kurosagi group's true skills!

Reaction: I really liked this volume; it might be my favorite from the series. The first story of a video game-loving, otaku-killing robot had hilarious lines that made me giggle openly and it definitely reminded me of one of my favorite zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead. In terms of overarching storyline, it was interesting to see the Shirosagi Corpse Cleaning Service return, this time with a hidden purpose. But most surprising was the development in Aoi's and Kuro's relationship.

Deep thoughts: At one point in this volume, freegans are mentioned. Freegans are a dumpster-diving subculture of anti-consumerism; the New York Times had an article on the lifestyle named for a portmanteau of vegan and free. While freegans believe what they do is a natural extension of an ethical lifestyle, in this volume it's used as an excuse for stealing dead bodies -- a none-too-ethical choice. Can we say irony?

Artwork: Visually, this volume is much the same as its predecessors. However, I must note that Housui Yamazaki does a particularly good job with the jinmenso tale, especially in his recreation of an "earmouse." And there's some great physical humor in the otaku-killing robot tale. Of course, there are plenty of realistically gruesome deaths, all of them grotesque in their own way.

The verdict: Highly recommended. As I mentioned previously, this is my favorite volume yet -- it has that perfect balance of seriousness and laughs, the hallmark of this series. Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is available in the U.S. from Dark Horse.

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