Shinjuurou Mamiya is an embalmer, a profession seen as "unclean" in Japan. Shinjyurou has accepted the life of an outcast amongst most people; to him it is a job and nothing more. He has gained an exceptional understanding of death and its consequences, as well as what it means to live.
Mitsukazu Mihara brings us another psychological masterpiece in several thought-provoking volumes, the first alone of which explores the meanings of beauty, love and loss.
Shigeshoushi had four volumes published in English as The Embalmer by Tokyopop from August 8, 2006 to August 1, 2007, before the license was dropped and the publisher went defunct. It has also been published in Polish as Balsamista by Hanami from 2008 to 2013.
Being in a country where embalming is a practice, I could probably relate to the thought where "the family members would want the deceased to look how he/she usually was when he/she's still alive"
Before I go straight to my review, let me just tell you something to further prove my point. Just recently, my grandfather died. He died of an illness so he was really thin when he died. After the embalming process, my grandfather looked more fat (not totally but the healthy kindof fat) than he was when he died. He didn't look like he died of an illness and he does look like
he was actually sleeping. He even has this little smile in his face. So, we thought: "He was probably happy now that he's not suffering anymore."
before, I didn't really care about those people who worked as an embalmer. But, after reading this manga, I thought, this is what they actually do. Ease the burden of the family members who were left by the deceased.
Stories are captivating and at times, heartbreaking.
The art is okay. It really does exceeds my expectations whenever it reveals how Shinjyurou embalmed the corpse (I know that sounded weird)
Characters is an okay as well. I actually understand Shinjyurou's need to hold something warm after embalming a corpse. It's more of a psychological effect. It seemed like the trauma of seeing his mother being embalmed by his father in front of him kind of retained in his subconscious mind and that it resurfaces via sexual drive. I love how the characters were portrayed in every chapter.
It's a weird kind of manga imo, but overall, it is entertaining and of course, it does after all teaches a lesson or two :)
This manga is not to all tastes because some people can consider gloomy, creepy or boring.
It's about a guy who becomes an embalmer and his daily routine with his "customers". The stories are all emotional and beautiful. Part of his personal story is also told, why and how he became an embalmer.
It's a very different manga but it worths to read.
I started reading The Embalmer with high hopes and (as cliche as it is) with great expectations.
Only to be disappointed.
So, I thought maybe it was because I expected a lot from the story that it turned out the way it did; so I slept on it; and after finishing the fourth volume the next day, I dropped it.
It wasn't a BAD story but even some (not all) of the gooey-ist stories I've read so far out-shined it.
I felt cold, there was no interaction with the reader, not that the story was not interesting...
It was just...
I guess that's the word I was looking for.
Nothing is quickly moving, it is just the steady exploration of the main character and I don't mind that kind of story but the fact that it was slow-paced, I dunno, fake and unreal really bummed me out.
I think if the writer just added some suspense, and one idea happening through out the chapters would have made it much, much more enjoyable but, I don't think that will happen.
"if you ever lost someone close to you, this book will really tug at your heartstrings, but also might become a treasured part of your bookshelf" -ign.com
I think it's true. I can understand this feeling of losing someone and this manga touched my heart, but of course not all the stories did. Some people might find it really boring because many of the stories are similar. Most stories involve people dying, their friends and relatives have similar feelings, and end with Shinjurou performing a small "miracle". He is embalmer. He does his work even though it's hard for him and sometimes it's hard because
of the terrible condition of the people's body. But he understands how it's important to see the beautiful/ordinary/(it depends on the situations and the feelings which should be shown) side of someone who was close to you for the last time. Either you can forget about "this" after 5-20 years or it would always be on your mind...
Shinjurou is an ordinary human, but his work can seem awful to other ordinary people. You can see his life through small stories, like how he decided to became the embalmer, how he felt in love with ordinary girl and his failures with her. Through his life you can learn something about death, life, and what is important to you. But you can already know all "these" things.