The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 14 – Eiji Otsuka

3 out of 5

Now (in 2019) we know that another volume of Kurosagi will be collected in the upcoming Omnibus vol. 5, but the last collection to otherwise be published by Dark Horse was this vol. 14 tankobon in 2015 and, unfortunately, at the time, it was not the best one to “end” on.  While Otsuka is as inventive as ever in his rearrangements of his corpse-hunting crew – giving us a pair of lookalikes with a more criminal agenda; a new, mysterious, powered figure; and a “cartoon” take on the characters – we’re once again mostly in standalone territory, here, which isn’t so unusual, except that several of these standalones culminate in very familiar splash pages of streams of the undead taking revenge.  I know… that’s sort of how all of these go, but it’s the continual revamping of the presentation that’s been so admirable throughout, and this is the first time it felt like we got some recycled imagery.  The writing, from a dialogue and pacing point of view, is still aces, and it seems so very light political agenda-ing might be responsible for the repetition – common man rising up together and whatnot – and Housui Yamazaki’s art never disappoints, so color me entertained, just not especially page-turned.

There’s also a slight disappointment in that a two ‘delivery’ divergence into the cartoon version (along with “english” sound effects!) is funny but pretty much just a complete sidestory, with a last minute attempt to wrangle it into continuity that then can’t help but go for a yuk-yuk joke in its last panel to sorta kicks right back out of continuity.  Otsuka’s done such a good job of making disparate things fit together in this series, this really felt like he was functioning in “why not?” territory, instead of focusing on the overall story and characters.