Series: Black Butler #2
Published: May 18th 2010 by Yen Press
Genres: Graphic Novels
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Next up on my queue of vacation reading–Black Butler! As I mentioned when I reviewed the first volume, Black Butler is one of my all-time favorite anime series, and I’m now reading the manga that it was based on.
Black Butler is set in an alternate version of Victorian England. Ciel Phantomhive, the protagonist, is an orphan and the heir to the Funton toy empire. Ciel is always accompanied by his paranormally competent butler Sebastian, who we learned in the last book is a devil who has a contract for Ciel’s soul, but until then is bound to obey Ciel’s wishes. Ciel (and Sebastian by proxy) also work for the Queen in patrolling England’s criminal underworld.
At the beginning of Volume 2, Ciel learns about a string of murders committed by a criminal who has become known as Jack the Ripper. The victims were all women, and the bodies were each missing a womb. Ciel tries to deduce what’s going on, which of course leads to shenanigans like going undercover by cross-dressing at a society ball. And as always, when Ciel gets himself into sticky situations, Sebastian is quick to come to the rescue with his characteristic flair and aura of control.
This volume is still pretty close to the anime, and I’m curious to discover at what point the two stories begin to diverge. But there were some definite differences between reading the manga and watching the show:
Difference #1 – you get a lot more of Sebastian’s inner monologue. There were points where I giggled out loud after reading Sebastian’s snarky mutterings about how incompetent the servants were, versus in the show, where he calmly fixes everything with ease. It makes the power dynamic between Sebastian and Ciel a lot more obvious.
Difference #2 – One of my favorite characters from the anime, Grelle Sutcliffe, was introduced in this volume, and it was one of those points where I do feel like you lose something from reading in black and white. In the anime, Grelle wears bright red clothing and has bright red hair, which is a contrast from most of the other characters, who have a much different color palette. Reading in black and white, Grelle blends in with (his? her?) surroundings a lot more, which is a little bit sad.
All in all, this was a fun read, and lived up to my expectations.