Title: The Embalmer vol 1
Author: Mitsukazu Mihara
Series: The Embalmer #1
Published: 8 August 2006 by Tokyopop
Warnings: graphic death, not gory, may be slightly disturbing
Other info: There are definitely 4 volumes in english. Vols 5&6 are published in another language and won’t be translated as Tokyopop died.
Summary : From the Goth Loli queen Mitsukazu Mihara--creator of the hit DOLL--comes a chilling dramatic series about Shinjyurou Mamiya, an embalmer in a nation where men of his profession are viewed as outcasts engaging in an unaccepted and unclean practice. For Shinjyurou, it's just a job. But in doing it, he's gained an understanding of death, and more important, what it truly means to live..
Review : Shinjyurou Mamiya is an embalmer, and therefore an outcast in society. This is a story about him and the people he embalms. It takes one person, who at some point dies somehow, and gets embalmed, and turns it into a little story, and also gives us a little more insight into his personality, history and so on. Its also a story of Azuki, the girl who’s his landlady, and the very slight romance between them.
The first story takes Azuki’s ballerina friend Shiori, who dies in a car accident just before she plays the lead Sleeping Beauty. She then gets embalmed and given a beautiful funeral. Erm, this is quite hard to describe because of the depth this goes into. The other chapters are very very similar.
The story is beautiful. It doesn’t go too deeply into the gory side of death, more into the what its like to be alive and how good that is. There’s a lot of irony in the chapter titles, which are only revealed at the end of said chapter, so you read them and think how well it fits with the book.
Shinjyurou comes off as being arrogant and annoying at first, but we soon see other sides of his personality, and understand the reason for his coldness. Azuki is your typical quiet romantic girl, but she can also stand up for herself when she needs to, and attempts to get through to Shinjyurou, with varying success depending on the day. Both are likeable characters, and their dialogue and actions suit their personalities.
The art in this is ok. It’s not as flowy as I like it, but it works for this story. It’s not shaded in grades, more large block colours, but it goes well with the whole them of black and white, life and death sort of thing.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a book that explores death and life in unique way.