Your body is their business! Five young students at a Buddhist university, three guys and two girls, find little call for their job skills in today's Tokyo... among the living, that is! But all that stuff in college they were told would never pay off—you know, channeling, dowsing, ESP—gives them a direct line to the dead, the dead who are still trapped in their corpses and can't move on to the next reincarnation.
The five form the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service: whether suicide, murder, accident, or illness, they'll carry your body wherever it needs to go to free your soul!
Kurosagi Shitai Takuhaibin has been published in English as The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service by Dark Horse since August 23, 2006, and digitally since January 25, 2012. It has also been published in 3-in-1 omnibus format since August 19, 2015.
Black comedy is an incredibly hard genre to pull off. Lay it on too thick and it becomes a dirge, lay it on too thin and a farce results. Luckily, Otsuka gets it right more often than not in this strange series. Despite the supernatural theme of the stories, it essentially boils down to a detective series, as the team combines their powers, to solve the mystery behind the lost souls and help them reach final peace.
Although some of the set-ups are dazzlingly original (the actuary who can calculate not only how many will die, but also the who and when; the funeral home offering
a ’special’ service to the families of crime victims; and then there’s the episode with the snails, that’s put me off escargot for life!) others seem to get lost within themselves, becoming overly wordy and meander clumsily to an end.
Despite its humourous undertones (with comic relief provided by the foul-mouthed sock puppet) this isn’t a manga to be taken lightly (I believe it comes with an 18 age restriction), as it does feature nudity, violence and more dead bodies than you can shake a big stick at. That said, both in terms of the story, as well as the art work, it’s not overly graphic, but presented in a clinical, matter-of-fact style. After all, you’d expect a body to be naked on the autopsy table.
If I have one criticism it lies in the lack of character development. Often they seem to fade into the background as the plot becomes more complex and it sometimes feels as if they become bit players in their own story. Conversely, however, when they do get the balance right and we see the group become stronger than the sum of its parts, the execution (a little dark humour of my own there…) could almost be called brilliant.
Overall, it’s an entertaining, albeit macabre read, and certainly not for the squeamish. Interesting to see that apparently a US company has bought the rights to produce a live-action version. CSI Afterlife, anybody?
This manga combines excellent characters and interesting one-shot stories with sharp social commentary and dark humor. The artwork is clean and professional, which I certainly appreciate.
Really I don't understand why it isn't more well-known. This is one of those manga that you see on the shelf at the comic book store labeled "Manga for those who don't like manga."
The individual horror stories are pretty cool as well. If you like dark and creepy, this is an excellent choice. However, if violence and some kind of weird nudity bother you, you might have trouble with it.