Rummanah Aasi
  I decided to take a short break from reading Shojo manga, which are generally targeted to female readers and often have a strong focus on human and romantic relationships and emotions. I wanted to find a manga that would also attract male readers and was willing to try another genre. After consulting with a few teens and reading online reviews of mangas, I decided to settle on the popular Black Butler series by Yana Toboso.

Description (from Amazon): Just a stone's throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria's faithful servant...and a slip of a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out the young master's wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London's underbelly, there apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true...or at least, too good to be human...

Review: Toboso takes the common master/servant relationship and turns it into something sinister with a creepy new meaning. I was intrigued by the relationship between the perfect, calm butler and the powerful 12 year old earl who is wiser than his years. We aren't given the exact details about their relationship or how they know one another, but there is no doubt that they are the main focus of the story. Ciel, the brooding young earl has a dark past and his background is well known to other members of his society, but we don’t find out why in the first volume. We do, however, get a sneak peak of Ciel's daily routine. Sebastian, by contrast, is the quintessential British butler, who always seems to be in good spirits and is perfect beyond belief which makes us doubt that he is human. The other servants employed by Ciel are all witless and inept, used purely for comic relief.
  Black Butler juggles comedy, action, and the dark supernatural. The relationship between Ciel and Sebastian is ambiguous, which I'm sure will lead to several speculations. Although I expected the manga to be dark, which it is, it also very humorous. The setting of Black Butler is very strange. Although it has elements of Victorian England where ball gowns, pocket watches exist, there is also cars, cell phones, and machine guns.
  I really enjoyed this volume and want to know more about Ciel's past along with who Sebastian really is. We are given plenty of clues by the end of this volume, but I'll definitely pick up volume two of this manga to find out more. Readers looking for mystery, and humor with a dark supernatural undertone should definitely try this series out.


Rating: 4 stars


Words of Caution: There is violence and also some strong language. Rated OT for Older Teens.

If you like this book try: Black Butler 2 by Yana Toboso, Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino or Godchild by Kaori Yuki
7 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    So how does this series compare with the ones targeted more to a female readership? Did you notice a big difference in the way they're done? This sounds like a really interesting manga, I like that it's dark but also funny at times so the dark part doesn't get to be too heavy.


  2. The main difference is that this series seems to have more action and violence compared to the other series I've read. There's a subtle hint of a possible romance between Ciel and Sebastian that might appeal to girls.


  3. Alison Says:

    This sounds interesting. Would you say it's a little more grown up (as in "not silly) than a lot of T rated series? It looks like it from the description, even if it still incorporates humor.

    I feel like a lot of the manga I've read lately - like Chibi Vampire and Love dot Com falls more into the silly/stupid category. I'd like to find a series that I can really connect to. Do you have any recommendations?


  4. Alison: Yeah, definitely grown-up. It has dark overtones and its a lot of deadpan, dry, and dark humor. As for manga recommendations, I absolutely loved "Death Note" (which is a total of 13 volumes) and "Afterschool Nightmare (which is 10 volumes). Those series got me started reading more manga.


  5. Alison Says:

    Hmmm...I'll have to look both of these up.


  6. It feels so great to find another adult manga reader. They are so rare! I've seen this manga around, but I haven't picked it up. Now I want to because of your review.

    Have you read MARS? I think you would really enjoy it. It's an older manga that came out in the 90's but it is very good. It feels real and it doesn't shy away from darker themes that go undetected in families. Unfortunately not too many people know about it :(

    New Follower!
    ♥ Trish Just a YA Girl


  7. Trish: Thank you for following! This manga series is really cool weird and I hope to read more of it.

    I haven't read MARS yet, but I was going to read it as my next big, complete series. I love when all the volumes are out and you can read them back to back. :)


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