Manga Monday: Black Butler, Volume 8 by Yana Toboso

Title: Black Butler, Volume 8
Author: Yana Toboso
Series: Black Butler
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 1/24/2012
Length: 176 pages
Format: Paperback
Genres: Manga, Shonen
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
Source: Library
Purchase: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★☆

When one curtain falls upon the big top stage, another rises behind the scenes, as young Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his virtuoso butler, Sebastian, face off against the villain behind the missing children. But as Sebastian, under orders from his master, single-handedly draws the gruesome tale to its sad conclusion on one front, battle lines are drawn on another! With the masterless Phantomhive Manor under attack from the Noah’s Ark Circus and Sebastian nowhere nearby to protect its inhabitants, is Ciel’s home once again headed for the same tragedy that took the lives of the young earl’s parents?

With every volume I read, I become more invested in this series. I love all the characters and all the plot twists. Yana Toboso does such a wonderful job creating a gripping series with beautiful, lush art. The art is just as much a reason to read it as the plot. It’s the best manga art I’ve come across, so far.

Following Ciel through his journey has been exciting and sometimes heartbreaking. This was one of those times that it was heartbreaking. Ciel was forced to confront a very painful past. Still, though his surroundings are full of horror, he pulls himself together and does his duty. I never feel sad when Ciel has his moments of weakness. After all, he’s only a child. And Sebastian is always there for him. He may have his own terrible agenda, but it’s hard to dislike him when he is constantly catching Ciel as he falls. Also, he’s so bad ass.

This one closed the door on the Noah’s Ark Circus with a definite finality. It looks like there may be some issues with Ciel’s realtionship with the Crown. He veered a little from the plan, and that may come back to bite him. Of course, with Sebastian on his side, I can’t see anyone harming him. The last chapter was a little bit of fluff. It looks like the next volume will begin a fresh story for Ciel.

If you haven’t read any of this series, try it out. It’s really awesome. There’s a ton of action and the art is beautiful.

This manga is rated Older Teen by Yen Press

 

Previous volumes in this series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7

Manga Monday is hosted by Alison Can Read

Manga Monday: Black Butler, Volume 7 by Yana Toboso

Title: Black Butler, Volume 7
Author: Yana Toboso
Series: Black Butler
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 10/25/2011
Length: 176 pages
Format: Paperback
Genres: Manga, Shonen
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
Source: Library
Purchase: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

Having successfully infiltrated the Noah’s Ark Circus in the guise of rookie performers, Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his butler, Sebastian, set about gathering clues backstage as to the whereabouts of the missing children. But when a turn at snooping puts Ciel on the trail of a man whose identity is shrouded in mystery, he sets his consummate manservant to the task of investigating further. This time, however, Sebastian must call upon one of the more infamously wicked skills of his kind to solve the puzzle. As he stalks his vulnerable prey in the shadows of the fairgrounds, is his young master prepared for were the ill-gotten gains of his butler’s methods will lead?

This volume starts off right where the previous left off. I was so excited about this one because I think this story has really taken an awesome turn. I love the Noah’s Ark Circus as much as I loved Madame Red. And all the mysteries uncovered in the volume were awesome. I was so sucked in.

I can’t really spill too much because a part of what makes this series are all the mysteries and finally getting to the parts where they’re uncovered. I’ll just say this one has been much more personal for Ciel. This volume took the story all the way back to the beginning, to the events that caused Ciel to turn to Sebastian for help.

There’s a continuing theme of poor, starving children being used for evil purposes. And this series still gives me a slight feeling of melancholy for all that Ciel has to go through. He’s only twelve or something and he’s such a grown up. He didn’t have much time to be a child and enjoy life, but he kind of bad ass now. There’s the frame where he whips out his gun while some pulls a sword on him and Sebastian pulls a knife on that guy. It was the best art in the volume. I wish this story had been in the anime. It would have looked great.

Yen Press rates this manga older teen for a reason. Sebastian resorts to some seduction in this volume. Nothing too graphic, but it’s clear what’s going on. Just a heads up for those protective mommies (and daddies).

 

Previous volumes in this series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6

Black Butler, Volume 6 by Yana Toboso

Title: Black Butler, Volume 6
Author: Yana Toboso
Series: Black Butler
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 7/19/2011
Length: 192 pages
Format: Paperback
Genres: Manga, Shonen
Challenges: N/A
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Paperback

The cheer of the holidays has passed, but the Noah’s Ark traveling circus has been making the rounds, bringing fun and joy to children of all ages. However, as the ringmaster’s cries fade away, a disturbing trend begins to surface in the wake of the colourful entourage. Children seem to disappear whenever the circus packs up for its next destination, and there are no clues… or corpses… to be found. But when the situation calls for Ciel and Sebastian to infiltrate the big top, will Sebatian’s inhuman skills be enough to see him and his young master through a treacherous tightrope act that may well end in death?

This was a great volume. I loved the circus, though I’m not certain if that was because it was cool itself or because I just finished The Night Circus and was simply trilled with the idea of a circus. Still, this circus isn’t much like Le Cirque des Rêves. But it does has it’s own quirks, and there are definitely some secrets behind the first-string cast. It’s definitely entertaining to see Ciel in a situation where things are not handed to him. What would he do without Sebastian? That kind of weakness in Ciel always comes across as very sad to me. Especially, in the scene when his room mate is trying to help him bathe and sees his brand. Ciel tries to hide what happened to him deep and any time it comes to the surface I feel so bad for him.

The plot to this one is engaging. Sometimes, when manga series go off on filler tangents, I get disinterested. This one kept me the whole time, probably because there wasn’t a filler chapter. I did kind of miss the servants though. I love their silliness. There are other nice touches: an annoying visit from that Prince Soma, Ciel making Undertaker laugh, Ciel SMILING… for real, and a surprise appearance by everyone’s least favorite Grim Reaper (no, not Grell). And, in perfect Black Butler fashion, the volume ends on a cliffhanger. Guess I need to go get volume seven when it comes out in a couple of weeks!

This manga is rated Older Teen by Yen Press

A new favorite!

Previous volumes in this series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5

Black Butler, Volume 5 by Yana Toboso

Title: Black Butler, Volume 5
Author: Yana Toboso
Series: Black Butler
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 4/26/2011
Length: 176 pages
Format: Paperback
Genres: Manga, Shonen
Challenges: N/A
Source: Library
Purchase: Paperback

For an impeccable butler like Sebastian Michaelis, the word “impossible” is just not in his vocabulary. Everything demanded of him under the English sun is well within his grasp. But do his talents extend to things under the scalding Indian sun?! As Harold West Jeb’s plan to use Agni, Price Soma’s superhuman butler, in a curry battle to win himself a Royal Warrant is exposed, Earl Ciel Phantomhive sets Sebastian to the task of creating an incomparable curry to defeat the despicable trader. But how can Ciel’s devil of a butler possibly best Agni, the man with the Right Hand of God?!

I wasn’t nearly as disappointed by this one. I think it’s because I was expecting it to be kid of lame. It kind of was, but I also warmed up to the prince a little. He’s good for comic relief sometimes. Still, I couldn’t take any of the material in these last two volumes seriously. They didn’t do much to further the over storyline. I want to know more about why Ciel made his deal with Sebastian. I like when this manga gets dark. That kind of feeling suits it much more than the shenanigans. I’m ready for the next one. Please let it be a million times better!

It was pretty good

Previous volumes in this series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4

Black Butler, Volumes 4 by Yana Toboso

Title: Black Butler, Volume 4
Author: Yana Toboso
Series: Black Butler
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 1/25/2011
Length: 192 pages
Format: Paperback
Genres: Manga, Shojo
Challenges: N/A
Source: Library
Purchase: Paperback

London–the capital of the Great Empire–is once again under siege, as a string of bizarre attacks on British citizens returned from India sends rumours flying and casts a pall upon Queen Victoria’s rule. Send in by Her Majesty, young Earl Phantomhive and his most capable butler, Sebastian, follow a trail that collides head-on with an Indian youth who claims to be a prince. And this prince possesses an extraordinary butler of his own! As a intense rivalry between the two butlers begins to form, will the kitchen be the dueling duo’s final battleground?!

I’ve really been loving Black Butler. The art is amazing, the characters are consistent and aren’t only what they appear. There are definitely going to be more intense volumes with a thrilling and engaging plot. This volume, however, wasn’t one of them. I’m ot a big fan of Prince Soma or his butler. They feel like filler. I’ve noticed this trend with manga. There always seem to be a few volumes here and there that function as filler. It’s kind of annoying to go from the last two amazing volumes to this one. It just fell flat for me. And good lord, there’s going to be more in the next volume. I’m not excited.

This manga is rated Older Teen by Yen Press.

It was pretty good

Previous volumes in this series:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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