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Manga: Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro

An ongoing manga series by mangaka and character designer Kiyudzuki Satoko (of Dept Heaven fame). Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, titled Katsugi Hitsugi no Kuro in Japanese, tells the story of a boyish young woman named Kuro who travels the land in search of... something, accompanied by a flock of bats and eventually a pair of unusual young girls named Nijuku and Sanju. She always dresses in black and carries a coffin (that, suspiciously, seems just her size) on her back—and is often mistaken for a boy. Or a vampire. Or a mortician, or a coffin salesman... the list goes on and on.

The story is told mostly in 4koma, and has an episodic feel to it—though there are occasional stories about the side characters that Kuro meets and then leaves along her way. Although the readers know next to nothing about the characters when they are first introduced, eventually the reason why Kuro is traveling and what she's looking for become clear, and Nijuku and Sanju's special abilities and purpose are explored.

This series is often noted for its similarities to Kino No Tabi, though Kuro has less navel-gazing overall and tends to have a whimsical, charming feel even when serious events come up—though Kuro can get very dark every now and then.

The manga is serialized in Manga Time Kirara and is being localized by Yen Press, and three volumes are out in English now. There was a long delay between the second and third volumes due to the manga being on hiatus in Japan, but the third volume was eventually released in November 2012.

Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro utilizes these tropes:

Romeo X JulietCreator/Yen PressSoul Eater
K-On!Magazine/Manga Time KiraraYuyushiki
Short CutsMangaShounen Dolls

alternative title(s): Shoulder A Coffin Kuro
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