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Black Butler
Black Butler manga
Black Butler
Manga Review

In the setting of Regency England with the romanticism of high class tea; the cut of a floral arrangement; having certain mannerism, what is considered high class atmosphere? Now if you happen to have the wealth or prestige, how about employing a butler to provide the atmosphere and service? Under the employment of Ciel Phantomhive, with his demon butler Sebastian, things are running perfectly.

This is Yana Toboso's first and only series to be published in English so far, Toboso is also heavily involved in the anime, so if you see the fashion in the series, that is such an inspiration to cosplayers at conventions, then you can credit the mangaka. On her blog (http://d-6th.com/blog/) she also shares many drawings of Black Butler characters.

Black Butler mangaYen Press had released the manga to the hit anime series, so readers of this series may all ready be fans however please don't let the fan service scare you off. The manga is though not as flashy as the anime series, does reveal a subtle side of characterization and plot progression. In the first volume, you are introduced to the main characters of this series, with a tongue in cheek expectation humor that would eventually grow darker in later volumes. Black Butler still has an ongoing series of ten volumes or more, Yen Press has currently translated five volumes, and there is a schedule of more to come next year.

When I mention earlier of Toboso sketches from her blog, this exemplifies how much detail can be shared on paper. From my convention going experiences these past couple of years. I have noticed popularity with Black Butler cosplayers, many with wonderful detailed outfits. So for cosplayers planning their outfits, the manga can be an excellent study tool.

Reviewed by Linda Yau, July 2011

Black Butler
Black Butler
Anime Review

No, we're not talking about Benson from Soap (who wound up getting his own series as a spinoff). Taking place in Victorian England, Ciel Phantomhive is a twelve-year-old orphan who now rules one of the most powerful houses in the country. But Bruce Wayne he is not.

Although it sounds like the set up for this kid to become a British Batman, (his parents were brutally murdered in front of him, and Ciel himself was abducted and tortured) he was instead allowed to make a contract with the devil and sold his soul for a chance at vengeance.

Black Butler As such, Ciel is partnered with Sebastian Michaelis, a demonic butler who is bound by a supernatural contract to serve Ciel, and in return Sebastian will obtain Ciel's soul when Ciel has finished all of his tasks including getting revenge on the people who killed his parents; after that Sebastian is then allowed to kill him and take his soul.

Of interest is that the house of Phantomhive controls a toy and candy empire, and, aside from Sebastian, the house is tended to by three other somewhat inept staff; Mey-Rin the maid, Baldroy the cook, and Finnian the gardener. These three are of paramount importance to the show; otherwise it would be devoid of all humor, save for gallows humor.

Black Butler It doesn't take long for the two to start prowling the streets of London to avenge Ciel's parents, and then start running into Jack the Ripper, and then even taking on missions from the Queen. However, with many plot twist and turns, the hunters turn into the hunted. While they are powerful, they amass some powerful enemies as well.

Black Butler has a good balance of humor, action, whimsy and gloom. While not the fastest-paced anime we've seen, it still manages to pack quite a bit of plot into 24 episodes. If you haven't yet had your fill of demonic vengeance tales, Black Butler could be right up your alley.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2011

Below: Scenes from Black Butler.

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Black Butler Website Links:


Black Butler Official Square Enix website (Japanese)

Black Butler (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Black Butler (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Black Butler entry at Wikipedia

Below: Promotional illustrations for Black Butler.

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Black Butler

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