You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What do you do if you are about to graduate from a small Buddhist college but do not come from a priestly family and therefore have no job opportunities open to you. If you have the proper skills, and a strong stomach, you might join The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. This group sees to it that corpses abandoned in garbage dumps or found in the woods or the trunks of cars make it home to where their remains truly belong. But special skills do come in handy. One is a computer hacker; one is a dowser able to find corpses not water; one channels a foul-mouthed alien through a hand puppet; another, who for some reason appears to be a little girl, is an embalmer; and, most helpful of all is Kuro Kuratsu who is able to speak to the recently deceased.

Eiji Otsuka's manga series promises to be ghoulish fun. One story involves a necrophiliac father, another a hair dresser determined to assemble the perfect woman. Most surprising is Eiji's ability to write funny dialogue, something you don't get a lot of in manga. There may be visual gags and outrageous situations in most series, but The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service at times has the verbal spark of good comic film writing. In one scene the group argues over whether they need to buy a train ticket for a corpse. Numata, the dowser, has the group constantly eating the same brand of instant noodles so he can collect the labels and enter a contest for a Prada windbreaker. Throughout, they banter and give one another a hard time like any group of twenty-year-olds, they just happen to be carrying around dead bodies.

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