ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Can’t Stop Cursing You,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cant Stop Cursing You

Do you have an L-shaped hole in your heart you’re looking to fill? You know, the cold, calculating, and playful investigator set out to take on a literal death god? Well, Can’t Stop Cursing You is here to fill it. And to be honest, it does a good job. Written by Kensuke Koba, Can’t Stop Cursing You Volume 1 features art from Natsuko Uruma, is published by Yen Press, localized in English by Square Enix, translated by  Christina Rose, and features letters by Rachel J. Pierce.

In Can’t Stop Cursing You, curse-gods exist, toying with humans, using the most unhinged among them to cause chaos through curse-killings in the world. To stop them and save the humans who are pawns in this dangerous game, Curse-Breakers exist. Our lead character Saeyama is one of those Curse-Breakers, and his task is to stop the curse inhabiting Yami High School. When a ringing cell phone leads to the gory murder of a young girl and a teacher, the game begins.

Chosen by a Curse-God, Mikiya is a contractor. The contract? He has exactly 30 days to curse-kill 30 people, or he loses his own life. Mikiya strikes a Light Yagami cord; the Prince to his parents and everyone at school, the porcelain veneer hides a twisted and sadistic side that revels in his kills. It’s Saeyama’s job to infiltrate Yami High School, identify the killer, and stop the killing.

When it comes to protagonists, Can’t Stop Cursing You Volume 1 makes interesting choices that all pay off, shirking off the Death Note comparisons in its final chapter of the volume and allowing itself to continue outside of the iconic manga’s shadow. This works because Saeyama isn’t just a compelling character, but a scary one at that. Where Mikiya is terrifying because of the gratification he takes from killing innocents and exploring those around him, Saeyama’s wonton nature towards life is a red flag. One allows the reader to understand that Curse-Breakers have to play by the rules for the greater good, which often means sacrificing some people along the way.

Truthfully, as I started this volume, I couldn’t shake the Death Note comparisons down to how Mikiya shifted visually into a sadistic killer from a pristine prince in a similar way to Light Yagami. But as the volume continued, Koba and Uruma make it clear that they acknowledge what came before them but will make their series stand out. And they accomplish that.

Now, this is due to the detailed rules of curse-killings. Each Curse-God can set its own parameters for the kills. For Mikiya, the rules are simple: 1. Obtain the victim’s phone number on his own, 2. The victim must play the message, and 3. In order to be killed, there must be at least one person who knows they got the cursed-call. These simple parameters also allow for both broad and granular interpretation, and the fun of Can’t Stop Cursing You comes from Mikiya exploring them. Well, and of course, Saeyama outsmarting him at every turn.

The art in Can’t Stop Cursing You Volume 1 is violent and bloody, with Uruma focusing on the darkness of the themes above all else. It works. Damn, does it work. While the story is compelling, it’s driven by Uruma’s art, particularly when we get to see a crazed Mikiya breaking, letting his mask slip, and showcasing violent chaos behind it. All of that said, this series isn’t for the faint of heart. Plus, with volume two showcasing Saeyama taking on a new opponent, it’s sure to only get worse in the best way.

Overall, Can’t Stop Cursing You Volume 1 is definitely for fans of Death Note. It’s for fans who love mystery, violence, and darkness in their manga. If that’s you, make sure you pick this one up as fast as you can; just don’t pick up your phone.

Can’t Stop Cursing You Volume 1 is available wherever books are sold on March 30, 2021.


Can't Stop Cursing You Volume 1
5

TL;DR

Overall, Can’t Stop Cursing You Volume 1 is definitely for fans of Death Note. It’s for fans who love mystery, violence, and darkness in their manga. If that’s you, make sure you pick this one up as fast as you can; just don’t pick up your phone.