Corpse Party: Blood Covered Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 25, 2016
Price: $20.00
Creator(s): Makoto Kedouin (story); Toshimi Shinomiya (art)
Format: 368 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-3162-7218-6
Age Rating: Older Teen
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This manga is an adaptation of a horror survival game, and as such it has certain limitations based on the genre.  The environment of the game is deliberately unreal, and the manga follows that, but unlike the game's players, the readers of the manga have no control over the story line.  This, combined with light-hearted initial portrayals of the characters, leads to an emotional and stressful reading experience.  You can't get too comfortable with any character, because there is absolutely no way of knowing which ones will survive, and which ones will die horribly.

One other jarring aspect of the story is some rather strange fan service.  One of the girls clearly has a crush on one of the others, but expresses it by groping her repeatedly, for what was apparently intended as comedic effect.  Since this happens even after they know they're both in deadly danger, it becomes unconvincing.  That, combined with some of the most clichéd horror tropes [we’re in terrible danger… let's split up so that I can medicate a minor rash…] make for a few painful moments in the story.

The actions of the supernatural beings make it seem like they're all just toying with any human they can find, rather than playing out convincing reasons for their post-death actions.  There is also no consistent sense that the victims are in any way deserving of their plight, so there's almost a randomness to the horror.

The environment of the story, though, is what keeps the reader going.  Haunted schools are a common theme in manga, but this one is possibly the creepiest and most disturbing of them all.  Blood spattering over schoolgirl uniforms are the design of the cover, and just the start of the horror.

For older teens and adults, due to horrific violence.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.