I had heard about this series for a while and had meant to look at it eventually but with the Manga Moveable Feast I decided to check out the first four volumes of these series.
KCDS follows the adventures of a team of people with various supernatural powers and a few with more useful mundane powers. None of them are particularly competent but this leads to a series of odd adventures that often send them around the world and interacting with some of the less than reputable types in the world as they find corpses and try to fulfill the last wish of the person.
Within the first four volumes there is some playing with different formats for storytelling before settling on doing standalone stories with some elements of continuing plot (this is really only hinted at in the last chapter that I read) and since I only read the first four to prepare for this I can’t comment on that too much (although I did purchase the digital copy to read later). Within these books are stories that take an entire volume (vol. 2 if you want to get a long story), some that take up two of the series standard length stories (standard here being about 50 pages).
I enjoyed a lot of things about this series. The overall creepy but humorous feel of the book is really enjoyable and the characters are very fun, with each of them getting some of the focus every now and then. There is some focus on Kere Ellis, the puppet that channels the entity of an alien, but this is mainly due to the popularity of the character (in my opinion, I really like the character). All the characters have some fun quirks that make any story fun no matter what is really going on. The book is chock full of fun references to other manga and folktales, which make for a great easy way to get a feel for the characters. Luckily Carl Horn did a great job making extensive translation and editor notes that make is easy to read when you see that is a reference but you’re not sure what is going on.
There are some issues I have with the series. The first is the gore level of this very high and honestly is very realistic, for me this was off-putting but I know that some people really like this kind of thing. I suspect that this was a common issue for many people since the gore level drops as the series goes on. This is not to say that the gore isn’t there but it is less frequent. As for general story-telling issues, there is a tendency in the one part stories to have a sudden revelation when they solve the mystery and then suddenly they end the problem, there is such a rushed storytelling style to this book that it really isn’t good, however, I hope that this might be explained through the previously mentioned subtle storyline.
All-in-all I really enjoyed these four volumes, although they didn’t make the best marathon since the stories tend to be similar to each other so this might have been better to read this as a monthly or as the books were coming out. If you like a quirky black comedy this might be one to checkout. It had a great team element which can be a fun style of writing.