Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Black Butler by Yana Toboso

Title: Black Butler
Author: Yana Toboso
Series running from September 2006 to present
Genre: Manga, Shounen, Black Comedy
Reviewer: Hannah

Synopsis:

Ciel is a happy kid. He plays with his future fiance Elizabeth, his aunt Madam Red, and his loving parents. He lives with a powerful and wealthy family, and he has the best childhood anyone could dream of...

Until a devastating fire ravages the family's estate and the entire Phantomhive family tragically perishes. Ciel's body is never found.

A month later, Ciel miraculously returns. But he is not the same smiling, carefree child he once was. There is sadness in his eyes, and darkness in his recent past that he has kept locked up. What happened to Ciel when he was away?

And where did his new mysterious butler Sebastian come from?

Ciel assumes his duties as the new head of the Phantomhive family, and the Funtom Company--but what really happened in those dark days? And what plans has he for those who murdered his parents?

Review: 

Let me start off by saying I watched the Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) anime before reading the manga. I. LOVED. IT. It was a dark, mysterious, Gothic drama, with unique perspectives, scarred characters, and a downright twisted plotline. I loveloveloveloveloved it....

I only recently got around to reading the manga (I'm actually on volume 10), and, I hate to say it, but I prefer the anime. The manga is a tad--I don't know--boring? Not entirely though. I mean, we get some details of Ciel's past that we didn't in the anime. Sebastian is much more human in the manga; he gets easily annoyed, frustrated, and confused--contrary to his composed and stoic nature in the anime.

The manga mostly follows Sebastian and Ciel as they investigate murder cases for Her Majesty the Queen. Occasionally a few tidbits of the darkness surrounding Ciel is dropped, but not enough to sate me. I want to know more! I want to understand this character! Why is he so shattered? What happened to him that completely sapped away everything human in him?

Quite a lot was revealed in volume 7 (8?) about Ciel, but....I just wished the story would focus more on the covenant between Ciel and his demon butler Sebastian.

Ahh, shut up, Hannah, you're rambling.

The point is: I felt that the anime accessed the emotional core of the story much better than the manga did. The manga certainly is not a disappointment--I'm very much intrigued by a few characters and I'll definitely keep reading (we will see each other again, Grell!). But it just didn't impact me as much as the anime, is what I'm saying.

-Hannah

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