Vanessa's Reviews > Black Butler, Vol. 09

Black Butler, Vol. 09 by Yana Toboso
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's review
Oct 18, 2012

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bookshelves: reviewed, manga
Read on May 02, 2012

Black Butler is a jack of all trades when it comes to manga. It's only been around for going on six years, but in that time it has factored in several tropey-as-all-hell plots: a food tournament, a circus, a locked room murder mystery, a sinking ship infested with zombies, and now a mysterious boarding school. Volume 9 is set squarely in the murder mystery arc, and it's not too bad, to be honest.

The manga starts off with Ciel being paid a visit by Charles Grey and Charles Phipps, Queen Victoria's butlers in this universe. Ciel is surprised to learn that his actions from the past volume have tarnished his name at court, and for some reason, Her Majesty will only forgive him if he hosts a party for a German guest. Oh, and he also ends up inviting Arthur Conan Doyle.

...Yeah, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, one of my favourite writers ever, is in this novel. And for the most part, he's portrayed well and fits nicely into the universe. Also, what other perfect way to get a murder mystery going than to have one of the greatest mystery writers ever at your party?

So basically, a host of rather forgettable characters show up at Ciel's manor: an opera singer and her stage manager, a shy shipbroker, Charles Grey, and some other guy involved in industry, I don't know.

Arthur Conan Doyle just awkwardly stands in the corner until Ciel decides to come over and talk to him. Apparently, after writing A Study in Scarlet, ACD had no inclination whatsoever to write any more Sherlock Holmes cases, and in fact is given a confidence boost by a thirteen year old boy with a demon butler. Huh.

After the German guest is found murdered, everyone goes into a state of panic. And the next morning... Sebastian is found murdered. As is the shipbroker. Oh no, it's getting like Umineko no Naku Koro Ni. And to make things worse, no-one can leave the manor because of a storm raging outside. (Considering the godawful weather we've been currently having in the UK, this felt rather topical to me.)

The manga still has the little flairs of comedy, the pretty artwork (in fact, Sebastian (the times in which he's alive, that is) looks prettier than usual in this volume), and a fairly intriguing mystery going on at the moment.

However, the mystery aspect only really kicks into high gear around the second half of the manga, and the new characters feel so disposable and trite. Yana Toboso usually manages to make incredibly overwrought, cliché storylines work in the Black Butler universe, but the murder mystery just really doesn't feel right here. The mystery itself involves a locked room, one master key, and all the other keys being locked away, and only the servants know where they are. So after a while the characters go from: “THERE IS ONLY ONE KEY TO THAT ROOM” to “THERE IS A LATCH IN THAT ROOM” to “WHAT IF SOMEONE USED A NEEDLE AND THREAD TO FIDDLE WITH THE LATCH” to “SHIT WHERE ARE THE KEYS”. I'm sure it'll get better by next volume, but I'm going to give this volume a 3.5/5.

(This review is also available on my blog:
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Reading Progress

05/02/2012 page 6
3.0% "Aww, Soma pouted because Ciel told him rather unsubtly that he was crap at chess. *snort*"
05/02/2012 page 25
14.0% "Phipps just sewed a flower onto Finnian's hat before he could even notice. Haha"
05/02/2012 page 50
28.0% "So according to the world of Black Butler, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study In Scarlet and had no inclination whatsoever to write any more stories... until Ciel complimented him on Holmes and Watson's characterisations.

Oh, this manga.

05/02/2012 page 56
32.0% "AHAHAHA. One of Ciel's guests throws a wine bottle at another guest.

What does Sebastian do? Somersaults over the guests and grabs the bottle, uncorks it and uses it to refill a wine-glass fountain in mid-air.

The man is just too perfect. And too pretty. ;w;

05/02/2012 page 61
35.0% "Ciel just cheekily went 'shh' when he saw Arthur listening into his and Sebastian's conversation in French. D'aww."
05/02/2012 page 96
55.0% "Lol, Charles Grey just went back to his carriage and retrieved some shackles that he uses when on 'secretarial work for Her Majesty'."
05/02/2012 page 97
55.0% "Sebastian is so pretty that I just squee'd at a panel of him blowing out the candles. Ehehehe."
05/02/2012 page 114
65.0% "Sebastian, stop being so pretty. D:"
05/02/2012 page 117
66.0% "Wait, what is Hedwig doing in Black Butler?"
05/02/2012 page 121
69.0% "Arthur: When Ciel's asleep, he looks more like a boy his age. How cute. It's more 'little master Ciel' than 'Earl Phantomhive'.

Sebastian: (from behind him) He is indeed adorable when he's asleep.

Arthur: ARGHHHH!!! What are you doing here!?

05/02/2012 page 122
69.0% "Ciel: Hand over my pillow. Quick.

Arthur: Your pillow?

Sebastian: I suppose one could say this is young master's security blanket at the moment?

Ciel: Not hardly! I just happen to like this pillow!

Sebastian: Would you like a lullaby as well, young master?

Ciel: NO! And I have never had you sing one to me in the first place!

05/02/2012 page 140
80.0% "Okay so Sebastian has just died. Yeah.

What's Ciel's reaction?

"Sebastian. Get up. Right now."

And then he kicks him and slaps the shit out of him.

Why am I laughing so hard.

05/02/2012 page 140
05/02/2012 page 162
92.0% "Ha, Tanaka's the new head butler of the household." 3 comments
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message 2: by Chels M. (new) - added it

Chels M. Jealous *OOO*

Vanessa Rachel Holmes. wrote: "Jealous *OOO*"

If I ever come to the Spanish/Portuguese border, I'll pack these in my suitcase. ;)

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