April 21, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Gabbing Geek Manga Review: Black Butler Volume 1

A young boy has a butler that can accomplish anything...and may not be human.

For the most part, I’ve greatly enjoyed the various manga books I’ve picked up and read over the past few months.

So, how would the first volume of Black Butler stack up?

OK, this one didn’t work as well for me.

It’s the Victorian era, and in England, 12 year old Ciel Phantomhive has a very powerful position in Her Majesty’s government (something to do with law enforcement).  And he has a very effective butler named Sebastian.  What makes Sebastian so effective?  Well, it seems like there’s nothing he can’t accomplish for his young master.  Is he human?

Yana Toboso’s story here isn’t what I would call bad, but it was something I found myself having a hard time reading mostly due to small bits of writing where sound effects were written in a very fine pencil in Japanese and then translated to English in parenthesis, and it took me a little time to figure it out.  Sebastian isn’t the only servant working for young Lord Phantomhive, as there is also a largely silent valet, a gardener, a maid, and a cook, but these characters seem to exist more as comic relief since it looks like Sebastian does all their jobs for them more often than not.  The problem here is I didn’t really care what happened to Phantomhive, who came across as a petulant kid, and Sebastian was a bit mysterious, but not enough to interest me in a second volume.  7.5 out of 10 dancing lessons.