I bought Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro not knowing anything about the series. I basically saw it in the bookshop shelf and picked it up because the cover looked really nice (I usually judge most of my books by its cover first off) and then read the description and it sounded promising. The series ended up different than what I expected…. more explained after the jump.
Artwork: I always find it good starting off with the positives, and the artwork in this manga was absolutely astounding! The front cover instantly got my attention among all the other manga on the shelf and after just taking a quick 10 second glance through the book, it was instantly put in my purchase pile. The graphics within the book are also of the high quality, with every character having their style portrayed well from Kuro’s dark appearance but her kind heart to the twin nekos Nijuku and Sanju and their playful childish nature. As some of you will know, I do make a big deal out of backdrops, and this manga happily gets my approval on this, with the white backgrounds occasionally being there, but usually covered by a large detailed backdrop such as a city or even a store backing with labelled goods. There is a lot of colour pages as well, which are definitely a highlight! I am very happy with all the artwork in the manga. However, at times, I am asked to question whether or not the use of 4koma was appropriate for this type of storyline, as 4koma is usually used in comedies such as Azumanga Daioh.
Storyline/Characters: The storyline in this manga is rather average. It follows Kuro (The dark looking person on the cover), her bat Sen and later on, Nijuku and Sanju, who are traveling for a reason unknown to the reader throughout the whole volume. That is right, the reader is aware of the quest Kuro is taking, however does not have it made clear (I do believe they start this in Volume 2). There are little storylines in between such as Kuro hunting an “evil” witch to cure a disease affecting some people in a village to finding the master of the neko twins. They do keep the storyline pacing well without becoming too boring, however for the overall storyline, I don’t see much purpose to it.
Extras: The following extras are included:
- In between chapters, there are colour pages which have an image and some text underneath which relates to the story in some way.
- Colour character list.
- The book is relatively bigger dimension wise than most manga.
- Message from producer
- Translation Notes
- Unknown Style Drawing
- Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro Speak (Character Descriptions)
- Volume 2 Preview
Personal Preference: I am neutral on this manga. Whilst it was a decent read, it was nothing spectacular like I get with other manga. I think it is the fact that there is not much of a storyline or character development thus making this seem at times, to be one big filler volume. After reading the description of the second volume, it seems to be that the real storyline starts in the next volume. Would I buy the second volume? It is hard to say, I guess it would depend on how much money I had at the time.
Personal Preference: 2.5
Total: 3 (B/C)
Total # of Chapters: Not really sure…. the next chapter indicators vary. I would estimate around 6-7
Total # of pages: 128
English Publisher: Yen Press
Publisher Website: http://yenpress.us
Producer: Satoko Kiyuduki