Saturday, February 01, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #32: Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro, Vol. 3 by Satoko Kiyuduki

It's been four years since we saw the first two volumes of this odd series -- long enough ago that I reviewed volume one and volume two for ComicMix -- so you might have forgotten what this was about, if you ever gave it your attention. (It's a quiet-looking series, unobtrusive, content to sit on the shelf and wait for the right readers to find it rather than demanding attention with boisterous loudness.)

But it's back -- Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, Vol. 3, as always created by Satoko Kiyuduki, was published back in November. And it picks up right where the story left off: Kuro, a young woman cursed in some unspecified but tick-tock dangerous way, is still wandering about in her black clothes and the big coffin on her back. And with her are Sen -- we learn in this book that's short for sensei, and we already knew he was cursed into the form of a thousand talking bats -- and the two cute homunculi Sanju and Nikuju, created for an unknown purpose by a now-dead Professor.

The tone of their adventures is subtly unusual: a kind of quiet ominousness, as Kiyuduki pulls them into situations that are often more dangerous than they realize. Kiyuduki still hasn't explained a lot of the backstory -- and four years is long enough for me to have forgotten a lot of it -- but Kuro is clearly getting weaker and sicker, so her search is compelling, even if it's still very vague as to what she's searching for. (Some kind of witch, probably -- possibly even the one who cursed her and Sen, which was my guess back when I read the first book.) But this time out, they continue to wander, continue to meet strange supernatural people, and aren't clearly closer to saving Kuro.

This is a quirky, idiosyncratic manga series, and I greatly appreciate that -- not a bit of it comes second-hand or conforms to any genre norms I know. It is entirely itself, and nothing else. And I hope Kiyuduki will continue it from this point forward, so we can finally learn what happened to Kuro, and how she can save herself.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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