Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review 001 - Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)

Title: Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler
Categories: Action, Fiction, Black Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Supernatural and Tragedy
Author and Illustrator: Yana Toboso

Basic summary: Head/Earl of the Phantomhive household, 12 year old Ciel Phantomhive makes a contract with demon Sebastian Michealis...

Now this is the type of manga I look for when I want a good paced mystery. It never gives you a dull moment, showing the darker side of 19th century England that tickles our fancy for the macabre. The whole series has this dark undertone to it, unlike most supernatural mangas I've read, which usually revolve around the Japanese mythologies and versions of classic horror stories. Instead it portrays (as best as a Japanese person who doesn't live in the UK could) actual mysteries and monsters of Western society.
I'll give an example. In chapter 9, volume 1, we come face to face with the notorious Jack the Ripper. It seems it was Madam Red and Grelle Sutcliffe who were behind it. Grelle being a demented Grim Reaper with a hard-on for death, while we see a more tragic approach to why Madam Red did it. 

Of course those are minor characters in the story. The main being child Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his demon butler, Sebastian Michealis.
Here's where the darker (if you can get any darker with this manga) part comes in.
What is fascinating about Ciel's mentality and how a child could become so corrupt is shown plainly in volumes 7-8 as he orders the death by burning of all the kidnapped and brainwashed children at the manor of Baron Kelvin. Let's not forget before that he shoots Baron in the head, with no hesitation.
And then we have Sebastian Michealis, the demon wanting to devour the Earl's soul. It gives a good example of how apathetic demons really are towards people as he without a second thought, seduced Beast and bed her with the intent to gather intel.
It seems almost all of the characters have some sort of morbid faults about them, but that's what makes them so interesting. It gives a darker look at humanity in an elegant way, while having more cheerful and out of character moments to balance it all out.

Visual: 8/10 -Noticing of course that the art improves in each volume. So it lacks a slight inconsistency, still lovely.
Plot: 8.5/10 -For the perfect pace and sharp turns it keeps up on.
Character Development: 7/10 -It shows good balance with bringing up each characters past while not having one character control the spot-light.
Over-all:  23.5/30 -Would recommend to anyone who likes a little morbidity.


  1. How dark would this be compared to say... Hellsing original?

  2. @DMcG I assume you mean the manga version of Hellsing by Kouta Hirano.
    Well if Hellsing is a 9.5/10 on the dark/morbid scale, I'd give Kuroshitsuji a 7.5-8/10. Hellsing is definitely more darker because it shines a light on the worst parts about humanity and instead of protraying them in a negative fashion, they twist it around and almost idealize them. Hence the Nazis, Vlad the Impaler, the Catholic church. All very black ink blots in the book of humankind. Yet people love it and the author himself creates characters (by accident or on purpose) that people adore. Take the major for example. He's a fat, crazy lunatic that doesn't want anything but to have war and eat. Yet he has almost as much fangirls as Pip.
    Oops I went into a rant again.

  3. Nice review. How stylised as opposed to ccurate or gritty is this?

    Just roughly.

    That's a bit of a dealbreaker for moi.

    Anyways, check out my blog sometime, later brah.

  4. I'm not too big a fan of dark manga, only dark ones i've ever read are D.Grey-man and Berserk.

    More reviews! Throw us a romance next!

  5. Hey, this looks awesome. I'm pretty casual though. I am really into Evangelion, could you do a review of all the Eva tie-in shit? All the alternate realities and of course the main series itself?