The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (vols. 11-12) by Eiji Otsuka, art by Housui Yamazaki, translated by Toshifumi Yoshida, edited by Carl Gustav Horn
I don’t know how I never noticed before, but Kurosagi comes with a “Parental Advisory | Explicit Content” warning sticker (volume 11 had it on the outside plastic shrink-wrap; volume 12 got more serious and placed it on the actual book!). True enough that some of the images can be quite disturbing, but I’ve definitely encountered more mature content in titles that are classified “Young Adult.” That said, we old folks can keep Kurosagi our own scary secret.
Before reading further, you might want to catch up by clicking here. The better alternative, of course, is to first read all the previous volumes yourself. While each has stand-alone investigative adventures, you’ll need to start at the beginning to get the fascinating backstory on the Delivery Service team – psychic Kuro Karatsu, corpse dowser Makoto Numata, hacker Ao Sasaki, embalmer Keiko Makino, channeler Yuji Yata with his alien sock puppet Kereellis – and their sometime employer, ex-cop social worker Sasayama.
Also, even if you usually skip footnotes/endnotes, I’d highly recommend you don’t throughout this whole series. In volume 11, for example, you wouldn’t know that the first delivery – in which Sasayama sends the team to an exclusive girls’ school where they meet a student with a violent past – was “inspired in part by one of the most notorious Japanese crimes of the last decade,” unless you saw endnote 114.4-5 which provides creepy details including references to the University of Nevada and Christian Slater. And, in volume 12, you’ll need the endnotes to fully appreciate the Japanese/North Korean context in the Service team’s encounter with a famous dollmaker who lost his younger sister to a firebomb during World War II.
Other adventures involve genetically doped swimmers (timely for those facing post-Olympic withdrawal), online gaming prisoners, and a young club hostess with quite the special talent. How the team solves and survives each fright-fest makes for shuddering, hair-raising fun; lucky for us, the corpses stay on the page … for now. Can’t wait for volume 13 – haunting shelves come December.
Published: 2010 and 2012 (United States)