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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Comics: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service

Typically, I’m not a manga reader. I dislike digest sizes in general and mostly I find the art style off-putting. The penchant for gratuitous nudity is extremely cliché at this point as well. Still, the cover design on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service was very, very well done and I had heard it mentioned favorably on Comic Geek Speak; so these powers combined made me give it a chance.

Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is the story of a group of misanthropes, oddballs and other social under-achievers who find it hard to put to use their university degrees. They all have a certain special power like hacking, speaking to the dead or channeling an alien into a hand puppet. Like I said, “Special”. [I find it to be oh-so-very-manga that amidst the supernatural powers going on, there is a hacker.] Unable to find gainful employment on their own after graduation, they combine their unique skills into the Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service; they find dead bodies and then perform that person’s last wish, freeing their soul to reincarnate.

The team has a nice Scooby-Doo dynamic without being too annoying. It’s a fun concept for a book and there is an underlying story being told as well. However, the majority of the book and the series [I’ve read Vol. 2 - 5 at this point] is made up of vignette stories centering around that particular issue’s corpse. I imagine it would be extra enlightening for the newly-morbid person, but I became morbidly fascinated at a young age and, I find a lot of the quirky info about what happens in death or other ooky-spooky cultural tidbits to be a little old hat.

The art is sometimes beautiful and sometimes terrible and sometimes awful in the biblical sense of the word. I was really impressed with the quality of the art in the first page of Vol. 1 and then subsequently let down by the next page. Overall, the art is better than it is bad and there are some panels which can be genuinely horrific. Being a manga, it is read from right to left and I thought that would make me very perturbed, but it turned out to be rather easy. The sound effects, being a part of the art, were un-translated, but I just put in my own. There is a guide in the back, but I couldn’t be bothered to keep cross-referencing.

All-in-all, I like Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service a great deal. It’s a lovely little popcorn read. They keep the short stories engaging and weave in just enough of the longer plot line to keep me going. If you like watching early episodes of the X-Files or Eerie, Indiana, this is definitely for you. I also recommend it for people with over developed senses of vengeance, morbid curiosities or puppet fetishes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Return to 1997

Many of you who read this are my personal friends; so this post should come as no surprise to you. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have perfected time-travel. I can go back 12 years all through a very simple game. That's right. I've started playing Magic: The Gathering again, which I haven't done since around 1997.

It all started when Dillon's friend Eric picked it up again. Strangely, he has 14 co-workers at his new job all who play and they drew him back in. Eric knew I used to play and he brought over cards one Sunday and that was all it took for me to want to play all the time. It was extra easy for me to pick up again as I still had a few old cards and Challengers also sells M:TG.

Nate and Ryan are friends of Dillon's who also used to play, and as luck would have it, they were in town the weekend my mom sent my old cards and I'd picked up the first batch at the store. We played all Memorial Day weekend. Well, we played during the times that Eric and Jenny weren't getting married. I had forgotten how much fun group games can be.

I definitely remember why I quit and the problems I had with the game still remain, but I'm no longer as vested in it and it doesn't bother me quite as much. I'm over my ire at printing rarity on the cards directly. I'm indifferent to the inclusion of new, wacky rules which I think are unnecessary to game play. Perhaps I didn't time-travel; maybe this is what it's like to play Magic as an adult rather than as a child.