Black Butler, Vol. 1

by Yana Toboso | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 0316080845 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/6/2017
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, November 06, 2017
I got this softcover at the Book Cellar, for another release copy.

I'd been interested in this manga (also known as Kuroshitsuji) since I first stumbled across it on TV Tropes. It's a series about a demonic butler who's assigned to the young scion of a wealthy and powerful family - but as the scion is all of about 12, the dynamic in the household seems more than a little bizarre...

Later: Very bizarre indeed! I should probably note first that my favorite part of the series is Sebastian himself; his image on the cover would have sold me on the book even if I had heard nothing else about it! [A fun touch: in each volume, the cover illustration of Sebastian doing butler-type things is replicated on the inside front cover, with the identical pose but a different costume and accessories. Here he switches from pouring out tea to pouring a martini, and his butler suit is replaced with an open-shirted lounge-lizard/host-club outfit. He's yummy either way!]

The series opens with life-as-usual in the mansion, as Sebastian awakens his young master. We also meet the other servants, ditzy maid Meyrin, ditzier (but cute) gardener Finny, and unshaven, chain-smoking cook Baldo. At this point they seem to be there for comic relief, as they each seem to be utterly incompetent at their duties, making increasingly disastrous mistakes that Sebastian has to fix (which he does with style, flair, and an ease that would be suspicious if we hadn't figured out that he's a demon).

By the second story we've picked up more comedy, but also some family secrets; and by the third, things get suddenly grim, as Ciel is kidnapped and beaten by gangsters. Will Sebastian rescue him in time? [Spoilers; select whitespace to see: Well, duh... but it is played out more suspensefully than I would have expected, with Sebastian remaining very, very casual about it and apparently unaware or unconcerned about the battering his charge is taking. But he does show up in impressive form, taking out the bad guys with fistfuls of silverware - and when the guy who's holding Ciel puts a clip full of bullets into Sebastian he demonstrates more of his powers. We also see glimpses of the moment when Ciel made his covenant with Sebastian in the first place... {shudder!} And then after they return home, Sebastian apologizes to his master - not for taking so long to find him, not for fiddling around during the rescue, but for failing to have dinner ready; what a series! End of spoilers.]

The artwork is very much costume-and-scenery porn, and I adore it. And the mix of humor, snarkiness, suspense, and angst in the back stories of young Ciel and other characters pleases me too, though it could seem like a bouncy ride as the mood shifts wildly. Scenes of violence and menace alternate with wacky domestic slapstick, a mix that may not appeal to everyone, but I'm enjoying it.

[There's an anime series as well, and while it inserts a very dramatic ending that isn't in the manga (yet; the series is still going), I liked it very much. There have been live-action films and even stage productions based - increasingly loosely - on the manga.]

Continued in Volume Two.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, 31 Cross St. in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Released 1 yr ago (11/16/2017 UTC) at Little Free Library, 31 Cross St. in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it! (Since there's much emphasis on Sebastian's skill in making tasty sweet treats, I thought it would be amusing to release it at the dental-sponsored LFL.)

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2017 Movie release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2017 TV Series release challenge. ***

*** Released for the 2017 Theater release challenge. ***

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