“The world is big and endless, eh?”
Volume 1 was mostly stand alone adventures and character introductions, so it wouldn’t be too hard to pick up the gist if you wanted to start here. It is much better to go back to the beginning though.
Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro follows the travels of the unusual traveller Kuro. She wanders with a coffin strapped to her back, is accompanied by two odd children and a talking bat, and is often mistaken for a boy and/or vampire.
The 4-koma style being used for a generally serious, dark, and somewhat non-linear story took getting used to in the first volume. I enjoyed it though and was fully invested by the end. I was very curious to find out more about Kuro, Sen, the twins (Nijuku and Sanju), and their world.
Volume 2 didn’t disappoint. The comic is growing into it’s format and is smoother this time. It still requires effort – things are not spelled out and the cadence of the story is unique so this is a manga you have to pay attention to and think about. But it’s worth it. The off-beat way the twins see the world leads to some touching moments and the information and flashbacks we get about Kuro and Sen are intriguing, powerful stuff.
The art continues to be very well done, particularly the beautiful color pages. Detailed thoughts from my review of volume 1: “The art is very good and detailed, particularly for the 4-koma format. The detail does make it a little busy, and I kind of wish all the pages were in color (the color pages are gorgeous).
The production values of the book are excellent. Good quality paper and printing and more retained color pages than most manga volumes. The style makes it a little hard on the eyes though, as all the borders and backgrounds behind the panels are pitch black.”
Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro is a odd little series that is quite captivating and really seems to be hitting it’s stride in this volume. It’s interesting to revisit these early volumes again (in preparation of finally having a new volume to read after a couple of years), and I’m catching even more of the details and subtleties this time through.