Sunday, February 5, 2012

Manga Review: Black Butler, Volume 8, by Yana Toboso

Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Volumes: 13+

Amazon Synopsis:

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 absconding with 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?


I was a little afraid, after all of my excitement from the last volume, that this one wouldn't live up to it. I'm glad to say that I was wrong, because this one was just as fantastic, if not more. Also, I'm pretty sure this is going to contain some major spoilers, so if you haven't read this volume yet, then I would suggest not reading this until you have. Unless you don't mind spoilers, of course.
So the first chapter focuses completely on the Phantomhive mansion, and their servants. And, you guys, I totally didn't see this coming. Because Finn is throwing things around, and apparently Ciel saved him from something, and he has numbers on his neck, and I really want to know what happened to him prior to all of this. (Also, Finn is kind of my favorite of the three, which I haven't stated before. But, there it is.) And Mey-Rin has perfect vision and a bunch of rifles and is shooting them. And Bardroy has some huge special weapon, which makes the most sense, right before Finn. And Tanaka covers for them with Elizabeth, which makes sense. Apparently they're all some kind of warriors. This was kind of amazing, and super exciting, to see. It's very violent and they make a huge mess of the house, even blowing up a part of it.
The one part about this and the next couple chapters, is that all of the circus ends up dead (except for maybe one?). I actually liked several of them (especially Freckle Face/Doll!), so I'm a bit upset to see all of them go.
And then, you guys, I did not see the next bit coming. I knew that they were doing something with the kids, and I was sure I wasn't going to like it, but I wasn't really expecting this. And I don't really even want to imagine what they did. It's just... Just, no. No. It's not okay. This is probably the one time that I kind of wished everything had turned out good, with no one dying. But that isn't the kind of series this is, and a bigger part of me is glad for that. It's part of what makes this so fantastic.
Okay, so, the circus doctor comes. And I hadn't even thought about him, much less thought he had a huge part of the story, which he does. He seemed okay at first, and I was all 'what?', and then he started talking about the children. And what he does to them. [SPOILER! You guys, he uses them to make the artificial limbs.] And when he explains this to them, with some detail, he even takes one of the kids out of the cages they're in and starts cutting him up. Joker gets sick at the thought, as does Ciel. And, I don't even want to think about this, but apparently this is what happened to Ciel before Sebastian saved him. He has flashbacks of someone cutting the kids up, of being locked up, and of wishing someone would save them. Ciel is getting sick from it all, and Sebastian holds him (which, a bit off topic, but he did this in the last volume as well. It's quite adorable.) and then Ciel tells him, and then commands him, to burn the place down. With everyone inside it. I didn't like that he wasn't saving the children, (and a little bit, Joker,) but him and Sebastian are talking later, and he mentions that they wouldn't be able to move past that. The only reason that Ciel was, was because he had Sebastian, and then he states that Sebastian is his and, since he was the only demon there, none of them could have him. (Isn't that sweet? I'm loving their relationship the more I see of it.)
In the next chapter, we get another snippet of how the circus lived before and after they were taken in. It makes me feel even more bad about them all dying. And then we see William, and new reaper named Ronald Knox, and they talk some before they (I guess?) take the souls of the people in the burning mansion. I'm wondering what's going to happen with them, since I'm assuming something more is going to happen. We also get to see the Undertaker and three new people that work for the Queen, which leads me to believe even more that Ciel wasn't supposed to burn the building down, and perhaps the Queen is going to be mad about it. I'm hoping we get to see the Queen soon, see what's up with her, why all these people work for her.
And then Ciel 'talks' to Freckle Face (I liked her!), and then we see Snake walking, all by himself. Is something more going to happen with him, are they going after him, or is that all we'll get from him? I'm curious, because now everyone else is gone.
And then Ciel and Sebastian are heading to the circus people's old house, or something, where there are supposedly more of their 'family'. Only they find it empty and torn apart. There's some nice talking done between Ciel and Sebastian (and, really, I love them.) and it's all kind of sad.
In the last chapter, Ciel gets home. Sebastian is upset to see the house torn apart, including Ciel's room. Also, Elizabeth is still staying with them. They get a tailor they know to come measure him and Elizabeth and make him some more clothes and her a matching outfit for some Easter thing. This is mostly just a fun chapter. For example, Elizabeth doesn't know anything about the underground things Ciel does, or the mark on his back proving his demon thing, which he has a hard time hiding from Elizabeth, which was just really fun. And then Prince Soma and Elizabeth meet. And there's a cute part at the end where Ciel, who has been having a hard time concentrating all day, falls asleep, and Elizabeth (and, okay, everyone else) smiles at him.
I'm hoping that Elizabeth finds out about everything with Ciel, because she has potential, and that could be awesome. And I like her, too, so I hope she shows up more.
This series kind of reminds me of Godchild by Kaori Yuki, which I enjoyed but was a bit confusing at times (but maybe I just need to re-read it). But this one has more supernatural elements, and is longer and probably more in depth. I'm enjoying it more than Godchild, though, I think.
So, I am still really enjoying this series, kind of loving it, even. And I'm really excited to read the next one, to see what's going to happen, and I hope it's just as good as this one was, or better. Also, should I watch the anime? I've thought about it, and I've seen a couple of episodes, but I'm afraid of watching too much and then putting the manga on hold. And I really don't want to do that.

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