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The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Vol. 1

Writer: Eiji Otsuka
Artist: Housui Yamazaki
Booklist, November 2006

Sometimes when people die, their souls can't move on without help. In Tokyo, five Buddhist university students find how to use their unique skills to provide the help the city's dead need. Kuro Karatsu can hear the voices of the dead, who mostly just want to tell him where they want to go before they can move on, and Ao Sasaki leads a group of student volunteers to find and chant prayers over the dead. When a suicide requests burial with his secret love, a faded pop idol, the helpers afterwards find the dead man's winning lottery ticket. Entrepreneurial Ao sees this as a sign that the dead will pay for the unique services they provide. The ensuing dark comedy fearlessly embraces adult humor, including nudity and plenty of gore, yet Otsuka preserves the reverent spirit of the original premise so well that one chuckles but feels a little wrong. The art, too, is more sophisticated than in traditional manga. Fans of Shaun of the Dead and other zombie flicks ought to love this. (Tina Coleman)

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