Saturday, May 26, 2012

Manga Review: Black Butler, Volume 9, by Yana Toboso

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Volumes: 14+
Spoilers?: Minor to this volume, nothing huge, but yes for previous volumes.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Earl Ciel Phantomhive’s quietude is interrupted as Queen Victoria’s very own butlers commandeer Phantomhive Manor for a lavish banquet sanctioned by Her Majesty. Preparations for such an event are quick work in the hands of Sebastian, the house’s most able butler, but corralling the eminent guests may prove to be rather more of a challenge. For this dinner party is anything but festive, and as a stormy night batters the outside of the grand residence, a far more violent storm begins to unfurl within. And no one is safe from the havoc it will wreak—not even one seemingly impervious manservant…


Oh my God I love this series so much. After the circus arc, because of how much I loved it (and, yea,  I'm still upset about it), I wasn’t sure if whatever was next would be as good. And even when I first started this volume and found out that it was going to be a mystery plot, I wasn’t sure if it would be good, but it was. It’s still amazing and I love it.
I’m just kind of impressed by the fact that this series is still so good.
The volume starts by introducing us to a new character, Arthur, or Professor, who has been invited to a party. He’s nothing special, just someone who sometimes writes stories and only a few has been published (I believe? His background wasn’t totally clear to me, just that he isn’t high up in class like everyone else we see). Mostly he opens things up, letting us know that something deadly is coming. Then it moves to two of the Queen’s bodyguards, who show up at the Phantomhive manor, with a message from the Queen. There’s a fight scene between them and the Phantomhive servants, which is pretty equal. Mostly I just love seeing the servants being badass; it’s kind of like a special treat to me. She wants to impress some man, and has decided that Ciel will be the one to host a party for him. It’s the first party Ciel has hosted, and he’s reluctant, but does it because he needs to get in the Queen’s good graces again after the whole killing-all-of-the-circus-and-the-children-with-little-to-not-good-enough-explanation thing. So he hosts the party and we are introduced to several new characters and we get to see Lau again, who is very cryptic and dark, most of which didn’t leave me with a big impression.
Also, at first I thought Arthur was the special guest, but then we found out that he wasn't. At least, I'm pretty sure. And if it was Siemens, then I'm confused as to why. He doesn't really seem all that special. Maybe it's only because of his status, then? And I guess the only reason Arthur was invited was because Ciel liked his stories, which I find interesting. 
The whole volume focuses on the party, and then someone is killed, and then another person is killed, and then someone is killed who I totally don’t believe is dead (specifically because it has been proven to us, several times within this series, that he cannot be killed). At least one of the murders is locked-door murder (meaning that someone had to have left the room and hooked something up to lock the inside lock from the other side of the door), and all of the people within the mansion are suspects, particularly including Ciel, since they are all stranded at the mansion from a storm. Most of the mystery stuff reminded me of Case Closed, which pretty much sums up my mystery watching experience (not that that’s bad; I pretty much love that show, no matter how repetitive and pointless it is).
There were a couple of spots in the volume that were suspense driven, mostly with Sebastian, which just didn’t do much for me. Although there was this one, big scene with Sebastian that wasn’t cleared up by the end of the volume, which is bothering me, but that I still don’t really believe. Because, really? There was foreshadowing and the makings of a set-up, along with the whole, there’s no possible way that could be real thing.
Aside from that, there was this one scene between Arthur and Ciel that was so cute and sweet. Ciel is just adorable, and so broken, and I love him and want to hug him. He’s just so… huggable. And lovable. (Also, while it kind of bothers me, I see the makings of yaoi in this series. There’s so many scenes between Ciel and Sebastian, and this one with Arthur [although this one was a little more fatherly and loverly], and I can see why people would go to yaoi fanfic. Which, normally I wouldn’t admit, or even think much about, because I’m not a huge yaoi fan, but I can honestly see it in this series.)
Oh, and Mey-Rin. In the anime, I was really annoyed with her voice and how she talked, but now I’m thinking it was rather spot-on with the manga. I can actually hear the voice actors voice when I read her lines, and it annoys me to no end. Except for when she’s being her badass-y self; then, she is just plain awesome and I want more of her. Why can’t she be like that all the time?
Um, anyway.
I’m mostly intrigued for the next book. I'm not sure who's doing the killing or why, although I have a few guesses, but I do want to find out. I hope that the next volume gets darker, more intense, like it did with the circus. Also, that I get to know the characters better, particularly Arthur. And, of course, excited. I really do quite love this series, and I’m always anticipating the next one. I mostly hate waiting so long for the next one, but that’s alright.

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