Review: Black Butler vol. 1-7 by Yana Toboso

Black Butler, Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it:  I have been meaning to read this series for a long time now.

How I would rate it: 5 out of 5 stars.


When a terrible fire claims his parents, Ciel Phantomhive must step up as the head of his father’s company and as Earl Phantomhive. It would be a lot for the young boy to handle were it not for his faithful butler, Sebastian. Ever at Ciel’s side, it seems there’s little Sebastian can’t do, whether it’s saving a dinner party gone awry or probing the dark secrets of London’s underbelly. He’s almost too good to be true…or at least, too good to be human…

Review: Although somewhat sketchy in terms of the nature of the relationship existing between young Ciel and his demonic butler, this manga series is really, really top notch. I loved the art, the darkness, the Victorian setting, the crazy circumstances Ciel constantly finds himself in, and the way Sebastian seeks to understand humans while avoiding becoming remotely like one in terms of temperament or emotional range.

Of the plot lines I read, I think the one involving Jack the Ripper and the curry competition were the best. The unpleasantness of the Ripper resolution –which is definitely not in any way an accurate assessment of the actual murders– was greatly balanced out by the complete goofiness of the plot that followed right behind it. Similarly, the lack of real understanding and warmth between Sebastian and Ciel is nicely countered by the sweet connection managed by Prince Soma and Agni. Despite their differences, however, all four of them are characters whom I absolutely, unreservedly adore. I wasn’t always fond of other minor characters, but they served a purpose. The Noah’s Ark Circus storyline that starts in volume 6 hasn’t been completely resolved by volume 7 so I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it yet. But I really enjoyed watching Sebastian and Ciel go undercover.

In conclusion, awesome. Entirely inappropriate for young teens, of course, but something that will do well with older teen and adult fans of manga.

About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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4 Responses to Review: Black Butler vol. 1-7 by Yana Toboso

  1. Oh now this sounds awesome. I love that cover with pouring the coffee too. 🙂 I need to find time to give a few of these a try. Thank yoU!

  2. Redhead says:

    I’ve seen the first few episodes of the Anime, and now I really want to read the Manga! the anime was actually just OK, I think they’d chopped up the original material oddly, and maybe there was some lost in translation happening too?

  3. Pingback: Best Reads of 2011 – Graphic Novels and Manga | CSI: Librarian

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