Sunday, January 5, 2014

Manga Review: Black Butler, Volume 15, by Yana Toboso

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October, 2013
Volumes: 17+
Spoilers?: Not really.

Goodreads Synopsis:

When students fail to return home from an English boarding school that numbers several elite bloodlines among its student body, Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his indomitable butler, Sebastian, infiltrate the lush grounds and stately halls of this distinguished house of learning at Her Majesty’s behest. The butler takes on the role of tutor, his master that of student–parts to which both are more than just a little accustomed. As their dorm lives of deceit begin, they turn their eyes upon the conspicuous and colourful waistcoats of the four school prefects, from whose attention nothing at the school escapes…


I love this series, and am sad that I’m all caught up now. I have to wait for the next volume again.
Anyway. This big plot line is in a school. Ciel is faking being a student to find out what is up with these missing kids for the Queen. It’s really nice seeing Ciel in a school uniform, staying in a dorm, going to school, as well as seeing Sebastian as a teacher, tutoring students, which is very fitting for him. Then there’s a lot of scenes where Ciel is sneaking around, trying to find clues, and ordering Sebastian to do his dirty work for him (like cleaning, for instance), while Sebastian has his own image to keep up. It’s just a whole new outlook on their dynamic, and I love it.
For most of this volume, Ciel works to get closer to the other students and prefects, putting on a big smile for them. I guess it’s refreshing seeing Ciel working at something for once, since he’s usually being demanding and glaring at people and ordering Sebastian around. Some of that is still true, of course, but this time he’s taking the main role of investigator, instead of Sebastian.
It’s obvious that there’s something going on, especially because of the cliffhanger, but I’m not sure what. I’m looking forward to finding out.
A somewhat minor thing that made me uncomfortable about this volume, is that the word fag is used a lot. Like, a lot. It’s not used in any way toward homosexuality, but in an older usage, when it was used in old English boys’ schools. It refers to a younger boy who works, in a somewhat servant’s role, for an older boy. But not necessarily in a bad way, and in this instance, the relationships form a somewhat friendly, brotherhood like friendship. And it’s not like I wanted the editor or author to use a different word, because this is the correct word, but it just made me a little uncomfortable. Although I think I was mostly bothered by my own reaction to it.
I think it made me feel similar to when a person uses the word bitch in reference to an actual female dog, and not in a derogatory way for a woman. And I think it bothers me most that I’ve been conditioned to thinking of those words solely in a bad way, when they have other meanings, and it shouldn’t be a bad thing to use those words in those other meanings. Because they’re just words, kind of.
End rant, I guess. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
So, back to the actual book. I just love this series, and am really excited by this new plot line. In a way it reminds me of the dynamic from the Circus arc (which I loved, remember?), and that makes me excited, if really wary (because of the ending of that arc). 
Next book: I am waiting.

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