If C.S.I. Was written by a Japanese horror writer what you’d probubly get would be The Kurosagi Corpse delivery service.
The series, written by Eiji Otsuka, with artwork by Housei Yamazaki, and which is currently being published by Dark Horse, follows a group of students from a Buddhist university as they utilize their unique talents to help lay to rest the souls of those who due to one thing or another cannot pass on – and all of these talents get utilized during the four episodes of this first of, to date, 15 volume series, from dowser Numata to teen aged embalmer Makino to the double act of channeler Yata and his ….less than eloquent hand puppet, to group leader Sasaki, who’s own contribution is to sell photos of bodies on the Internet, and whilst doing so gain leads for their next jobs.However for me the star of the show has to be Karatsu – a trainee Buddhist who’s main talent is the ability to speak with the dead – and at times of need become a channel for what looks like Frankensteins monster in Japanese shrine priests uniform – what their connect is not known in this volume, although many hints are made that karatsu is not doing this entirely out of charity.
Each of the cases in this first volume follows roughly the same pattern – the group discover a body and, after determining their identity and what they wish to gain peace, try to uncover how to lay them to rest, with the deceased awarding them in a kind of karmic payback – they even hve their own delivery van!
After the first episode, which involves suicide of a pop idol and a boyfriend who gives new meaning to “love from beyond the grave”, we are treated to three, non connected stories, which span a spectrum of the bizarre – mummies in a portable altar, to finding a body comprised of several different people, to even beating an insurance fraudster who can predict the time of your death!
From the getgo however i must point out that the artwork of this series is graphic in its portrayal of the bodies – from the first hanging, rotted body of the first chapter to scenes of a fridge full of body parts in the third chapter – Housei Yamamzaki pulls no blows with his depiction of the victims, confirming the need for this series to be published with a plastic wrap and parental advisory warning – this series is not for the squeamish!
Overall form this first volume, id say that in its current format i can see potential for success with this series, an opinion backed by the fact that this is published by dark horse comics – a company not know or picking flops.However i could see that, without variation in plot line or character development, even the shock value of this series might not be enough to keep this series going.
As this first volume proves, Karmic paybacks a bitch!
12 of the 15 volumes of Kurosagi Corpse delivery service are currently available in the west from Dark horse comics with more on the way.