Reading Level: Teen
Length: 192 pages
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Black Butler series
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I have watched the first season of the Black Butler anime series and wanted to check out the manga. I actually liked the manga even better than the anime.
In this book we are introduced to Ciel Phantomhive and his household. Ciel is the very young Earl of Phantomhive and is the owner of a massive toy company. Most of his household staff are somewhat incompetent; but his Butler Sebastian is something else altogether and more than makes up for the limitations of the rest of the staff. We also find out that Ciel is involved in some secret dealings to protect London from the less savory supernatural side of things.
I love the Victorian setting and all the different mysteries we are presented with in this volume. Why is Ciel ruling Phantomhive on his own? What are these shadowy dealings of his? What exactly is Sebastian and why is he bound to serve Ciel?
I also love the humor throughout, however I enjoy even more now that it is more in the background. A lot of the goofy humor is really emphasized in the anime and I found it to be really jarring; in the manga it’s a bit more in the background which works better.
I love both Ciel and Sebastian as characters; they are so mysterious. And let’s face it Sebastian is just darn nice to look at and the way he murders with cutlery…sigh…so amazing. I love the relationship between the two and how it seems to be something between a master/minion and son/father thing. There’s a lot of depth here and I really want to unravel all the mysteries.
The illustration is amazing with lots of beautiful detail and is very easy to follow. I really enjoyed it.
The only complaint I have with this manga so far is that there is too much going on at the beginning of this volume; it’s a bit ADD. In some scenes you have Sebastian in the foreground and then the three goofball staff in the background on one side and Tanaka in the background on the other side. It was just a bit much to process all at once. However this calmed down a bit as the book continued.
Overall an absolutely wonderful start to the Black Butler series. I can’t wait to read Vol 2. I would recommend this to people who enjoy shounen mangas with a supernatural theme to them and some humor.