Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro follows the travels of the unusual traveller Kuro. She wanders with a coffin strapped to her back and a talking bat by her side, and is often mistaken for a boy and/or vampire.
I had read this initial volume a good while back and recently reread it to refresh my memory as a new volume in the series has finally come out. I remember having a similar experience the first time around: the 4-koma style and non-linear order of the chapters makes it hard to get into at first, but by the end I was thoroughly invested with and intrigued by Kuro and her companions. The pacing definitely takes some getting used to, but it does come together and there’s a lot of interesting mysteries beneath the surface adventures. The slice of life style adds a good amount of humanity and emotion to a story with a lot of strange elements.
The art is very good and detailed, particularly for the 4-koma format (which is generally not a favorite of mine). The detail does make it a little busy though, and I kind of wish all the pages were in color (the color pages are particularly 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 admittedly makes it a little hard on the eyes sometimes though, as all the borders and backgrounds behind the panels are pitch black.
Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro is interesting and well-developed, although a bit uneven here in the beginning. Well worth reading if you’re looking for something different, and it picks WAY up in subsequent volumes.