Reviews: Dead Mount Death Play Vol 1 & 2
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
This turned out to be an odd mix of supernatural horror, fantasy, crime, slasher fiction, reincarnation fiction, dark humor, chibi cuteness, and a slight dash of mature sexual content and I really wasn't expecting any of it to unfold the way it did. You would think that it may have trouble balancing this odd mash-up of genres but I found it to have a solid flow and the entire package to be pretty entertaining.
The story opens with a final battle between a necromancer named the Corpse God and a great hero called the Calamity Crusher. At the peak of their battle the Corpse God unleashes a new spell and after everything goes black our hero awakens in a new world.
Except our hero is the Corpse God, who used reincarnation magic to shunt himself somewhere safe and it turns out it's our world. He also could only shunt himself into a dead body, a young boy named Polka Shinoyama who apparently had his throat slit. The new Polka is suddenly whisked off his feet by a cute girl who actually turns out to be the assassin who killed Polka in the first place, and she aims to figure out what went wrong with her kill.
The Corpse God finds himself pulled into a dangerous modern world full of new threats and questions when he only wanted to find some peace.
The series has plenty of gory horror to it, especially as Polka has the 'Evil Eye', which allows him to see the spirits of those who have died.
We get a lot of action, a lot of murder, and a lot of interesting intrigue. One one hand we have the balance of power between assassin brokers in the city and Polka getting dragged into it. We also have the cops who are legit creepier than many of the criminals and fairly messed up.
Polka also has to deal with his family (or his corpse's family, more accurately) in the second book and that all expands into a lot of interconnected plot elements having to do with the assassins and criminals in the city. Not to mention whatever his creepy father's got going on.
The balance against all of these darker elements is the pretty great sense of humor that Ryohgo Narita and Shinta Fujimoto bring to the table.
A lot of it takes the form of small vignettes that interject between normal moments, but sometimes they decide to just stay in that zone for extended periods of time and filling out the more interpersonal scenes with this cutesy style.
The story does a great job of slowly expanding its world building while giving you an engaging cast of characters that's fluid and expanding as we get more focuses. There's plenty of teasings of other assassins and family members, as well as enemies that are seeded early on and offer their own mysteries to delve into.
As a fair warning (they are shrink wrapped after all), there is a slight bit of sexual material. At first I thought the warning was just due to a little bit of fan service, but there are few pages of not-too-hardcore-but-still-a-little-hardcore gratuitous lesbian sex in the first volume. There's absolutely nothing in the second volume, so it may be just a light peppering throughout the series so just a heads up.
These volumes are pretty chunky as well, clocking in at about 256 pages for $13. I found them to be densely packed, plus you get the added bonus of a short prose story in the back featuring the Calamity Crusher. It's a nice addition as even he gets his own development once he figures out that the Corpse God wasn't necessarily an evil entity. I appreciate that attention to detail, and I'm pretty hooked so I'll need to keep going with the series as soon as I can.