I found Kuryami Dance via a collectible in The Silver Case. I initially thought this was just an in game collectible but in comparison to much of the other manga in The Silver Case, this is written by Suda51. I also learned about the comic book publisher Comic Beam and the genre Alternative Manga through this. For those who are not familiar with Comic Beam and Alternative manga, the genre focuses on stuff outside of mainstream manga concepts and the stories are more unorthodox. The art style and stories are often more catered to older audiences and the genre and publisher catered to hardcore comic book fans in Japan, and to art students. This was the original concept behind Shadows Of The Damned before it took a more westernized approach due to EA’s executive meddling and threats of cancellation due to Shinji Mikami’s and Suda’s own original concept.
Part of the story comes from when Suda51 worked at a morgue but left due to the “stench”. The story also comes from references of other Suda51 games. However, it is not connected to any other video game, Suda has made. The way characters send text messages to one another is borrowed from Killer7.
Kaido has a Silver Eye, a reference to one of the characters in The Silver Case who was a serial killer. The Silver Eye allows the person to have almost supernatural abilties just like in The Silver Case. The union hotel appears at one point as well and the supper scene with Kaido and his mother is similar to the supper scenes Mondo has with his own mother from Killer Is Dead. Some of the characters from other Suda works like Killer7 appear. If you like Suda you’ll really appreciate the callbacks.
Kuryami Dance has a fair bit of over the top and bloody action typical of Suda work. There’s also the use of his story themes from mixing mundane and bizzarre situations all at once to the moon being shown quite frequently. Luchadores and wrestling appear in the story.
It focuses on multiple story arcs focusing on many different mysteries. The main story is about how did the Kurogane empire rise to power and what really happened to Japan. The characters are unorthodox and bizarre.
The main protagonist, Kaido works as an undertaker for Hadou Crematorium but he is also an aspiring biker. Kaido is a typical biker punk caught up in a series of strange events and he is way out of his element. As an undertaker, Kaido has to tone down his punk attitude and be respectful towards the mourners but outside of work, he is a massive thrill seeker. His main goal in his life is to reach at extreme speeds with his motorbike but when he reaches 300 km he ends up in a freak accident putting him in a coma for 3 years.
Kaido eventually wakes up and Hadou, a city that he is familiar with is now a strange and unfamiliar world. He now has a silver eye in him and he must then figure out what has happened over the 3 years he was in a coma. He is accompanied by a supernatural creature Challia who is similar to Johnson from Shadows Of The Damned. Challia serves as a guide to Kaido through this strange new Japan.
The reason Hadou City is a shell of its former self was that a kingdom called Kurogane was rising in prominence and the working class population of Hadou was becoming more affluent. They all decided to leave their jobs and move to Kurogane with only 10 percent of the original population remaining in Hadou. Kaido later returns to his job as an undertaker when his boss asks him to deliver a coffin to the Kurogane family.
The art style and character designs did look interesting. The dialogue like many of Suda51’s works, was weird, quirky and sometimes just plain atrocious. The sense of suspense and mystery its prevalent throughout. The story is complicated and its short length does not provide the format to fully explore the events in great detail. The ending left more questions than answers.
It is fairly short with about 16 issues released.
The manga is ok and I'll be quite sure to look at more manga published by Comic Beam from time to time.
It gets 3 stars out of 5.
If you are into Suda51 projects you will enjoy Kuryami Dance.