Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: Black Butler by Yana Toboso

Here is my effort to continue reading manga.  I still struggle to catch all of what's going on, or what certain things mean, but it's kind of fun mixing it up from time to time.  These books came my way by recommendation from a student at school, which is always fun.  I love showing them that I'm game to read what they read, or at least to give it a try.  Who knows what I'll find and what I'll love.

Synopsis:  In the opening two volumes we are introduced to Sebastian Michaelis, the Butler.  He works for a seemingly young child, Ciel Phantomhive, who spends his day drinking tea and being oblivious to the chaos going on in his home between out of control servants and daily mishaps.  To this, we add an abduction and Jack the Ripper, which our superhuman Sebastian must step in and save the day.  He might have the utmost decorum around those he works for and with, but underneath his stick-straight posture and coat tails is a man who has skills that would shock the baddest bad guy!

Review:  Admittedly, I struggle with manga.  These were cute, interesting, and fast-paced, so I could get through them easily.  I quickly learned that I could actually skip over the small inserted conversations in the mini pictures to keep with the main story.  This made it easier for me to keep trying to figure out who Sebastian was and why it mattered.  He is a sneaky character, and one that I'm guessing we learn more about through additional volumes.  He is not human (at least I think he's not), so it's fun to watch that moment when he breaks out of his butler stance to kick some serious bad-guy butt. 

Altogether, I would say that this might be more geared toward a younger audience, with its quirky staff and superhero-esque characters.  I really was hoping that we would get some sort of Victorian flair here, what with the butler and all.  Maybe I'm still too entrenched in Downton Abbey and was hoping for a graphic extension of that experience?  Although I did enjoy learning a bit more about manga, I think other graphic novels grab my attention a bit more.  I will, however, be sharing these with my students--who will be shocked that I read them!

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on library copies of the books.


  1. aw, I think that's awesome that you took a recommendation from a student!

    I have to admit manga intimidates me a bit.

  2. I would be careful with how young you go. They do get pretty dark as it continues on, especially concerning Ciel's story. This is def. one my teens love and got me to read.

  3. This one looks fun. Did you know Kaoru Mori, the woman who wrote Emma, has a new series out? It takes place in Mongolia and is called A Bride's Story. I haven't had a chance to read it yet because it hasn't come in at the library, but I thought you might be interested. :)