Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro Volume 4 Review

“I believe that a journey … is like becoming the wind.”

Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro presents a story that has built over the course of the series. Start reading with volume 1.

kuro4

Unable to control her emotions after last volume’s shock, the witch’s curse has caught up with Kuro. While she drifts through her past, Nijuku and Sanju have a plan to protect their own memories, as well as their companion.

When this volume originally came out it was after quite a wait, but I didn’t anticipate an even longer hiatus before the series would continue again.  Two years later and I’m rereading this to refresh my memory in order to finally move on to volume 5. This was just as outstanding an installment as I remember.

As always it’s a dense read, but so richly layered that the attention require of the reader is well rewarded. The moments of whimsy that soften the dark themes are masterful, and there’s a ton to think about here both plot-wise and philosophically. Magic creeps around the edges of the story and the lines of reality are blurred in extraordinary ways. While unique and giving the comic an unusual rhythm, the 4-koma format fits Kuro’s adventures well, and is executed perfectly with high quality and detailed art.

The blending of Kuro’s journey with the emotional growth of the twins is the heart of the manga and makes the narrative something special. Kuro’s efforts to chase her past and face her destiny contrast with the twins simplistic view of the world and her need to educate and foster them as they all travel. It’s a delicate, compelling balance that’s maintained beautifully throughout all the volumes so far.

Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro is very much one of a kind, and embraces that status fully. This is an atmospheric, haunting manga that’s well worth reading along with.

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