Black Butler, Vol. 14

by Yana Toboso | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 0316244309 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 9/26/2013
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, September 26, 2013
I've been enjoying the manga Black Butler (aka Kuroshitsuji) - not to mention the anime, of which I have Season 1 on DVD - and I pre-ordered this volume as soon as it was available.

The series is set in a slightly alternate-reality Victorian London (cell phones, magic), and features the adventures of a 12-year-old boy trying to run his family business while catching criminals for the queen - all with the help of his demonic butler.

In this volume, the cover features the Undertaker, an enigmatic character whose face is usually shielded by his hat-brim - nice to get a closer look at him! Inside the front cover he's re-drawn - wearing a baseball uniform (!) - and the inside back cover continues the baseball-theme in its omake.

This volume picks up from the events of Volume 13, in which - amid a life-and-death battle with hordes of undead on a rapidly-sinking ship - Undertaker injured Sebastian and began to replay sections of his life, focusing on his first days with Ciel. The first chapter continues that flashback, showing them adapting to each other and learning things - seems Sebastian had to be taught to make food from scratch rather than simply summoning it into existence - and working out the fine points of their bargain. It's both touching - at times Sebastian seems almost caring about his young master - and chilling, as any tenderness felt by a demon has more to do with his anticipation of the tasty soul he'll devour when Ciel's moment of triumph turns to despair.

Meanwhile, back in the current timeline, the sinking of the ship interrupts Undertaker's fun, and the arrival of William Spears (another Grim Reaper, who's furious that the others have been dawdling about reaping the souls of the passengers) turns the tide. Undertaker vanishes, leaving an odd relic with Ciel; the reapers set to work to process the doomed passengers; Ciel and an injured but tough Sebastian make their way to a lifeboat while still battling the undead; and, after some impressive battles with the remaining undead, they and a handful of other passengers (including Lizzie and her equally tough family) are rescued. Hooray!

And... cue the next chapter, in which, having recovered from those dramatic events, the entire Phantomhive household (including permanent houseguests Soma and Agni) are tapped to produce an elaborate Easter feast, by (of course) Lizzie - who has bunny-ears for everyone!

Yep, another mood-whiplash shift. In between the nightmarish-trauma arcs come whimsical ones, enjoyably goofy - and with occasional surprises that refer to darker twists to come... I admit I enjoyed the Easter egg hunt, in which everyone formed teams of two; Lizzie wanted Ciel to find the egg she had hidden and he promised to do so, while the other teams fell foul of everything from explosive eggs to their own clumsiness. (I was pleased to see Finnie and Snake teamed up; they're among the sweetest, kindest-hearted characters in the story.)

After the break for the Easter fun and games, the story shifts to a new case: the queen tasks Ciel with discovering what has happened to a distant kinsman of hers, a student at an exclusive school who's apparently gone missing. Cue the classic English boarding school for the upper classes, very much in the style of Hogwarts down to the four color-and-animal-themed houses! This looks like it will be fun!

[For more about the manga and the anime adaptation, see the TV Tropes page - but beware of spoilers! Also, note that the plot of the anime departs rather drastically from that of the manga, though that happens later in the series than this volume.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Potanipo Lake in Brookline, New Hampshire USA on Monday, November 19, 2018

Released 2 mos ago (11/20/2018 UTC) at Potanipo Lake in Brookline, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book, bagged against the elements, along with the next volume, in the charming little covered footbridge across the road from the lake; hope the finder enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2018 TV Series release challenge. ***

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