Vanessa's Reviews > Black Butler, Vol. 09
by Yana Toboso
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: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...)
||3.0%||"Aww, Soma pouted because Ciel told him rather unsubtly that he was crap at chess. *snort*"|
||14.0%||"Phipps just sewed a flower onto Finnian's hat before he could even notice. Haha"|
"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.
"AHAHAHA. One of Ciel's guests throws a wine bottle at another guest.
||35.0%||"Ciel just cheekily went 'shh' when he saw Arthur listening into his and Sebastian's conversation in French. D'aww."|
||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'."|
||55.0%||"Sebastian is so pretty that I just squee'd at a panel of him blowing out the candles. Ehehehe."|
||65.0%||"Sebastian, stop being so pretty. D:"|
||66.0%||"Wait, what is Hedwig doing in Black Butler?"|
"Arthur: When Ciel's asleep, he looks more like a boy his age. How cute. It's more 'little master Ciel' than 'Earl Phantomhive'.
"Ciel: Hand over my pillow. Quick.
"Okay so Sebastian has just died. Yeah.
||80.0%||""DID YOU FAIL TO HEAR MY COMMAND!? WHO IN THE NAME OF HELL GAVE YOU PERMISSION TO DIE!? I'LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR THIS, SEBASTIAN!"" 2 comments|
||92.0%||"Ha, Tanaka's the new head butler of the household." 3 comments|