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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Manga Review: Black Butler GN 13

Black Butler volume 13
Yana Toboso
Yen Press
176 pages
His betrothed's unexpected skill with a sword having narrowly saved him from a gory fate at the gnashing jaws of the undead, Earl Ciel Phantomhive, along with his intrepid butler, Sebastian, fights to see another day aboard the doomed Campania. But as they draw nearer to the heart of the Aurora Society's scheme to reanimate the dead, the pair are met by the beautiful young "Kaiser," who holds all the keys to this mystery in the palm of his gloved hand, platinum blond locks fluttering in his wake... (Source: Goodreads)
Spoiler warning: Contains some spoilers for the Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji series so far.
It's been a long time since I've reviewed a volume of Black Butler - it's been almost two years and twelve volumes since then, actually. Since then, this series has taken a whole lot of twists and turns, and it's always been fun following the adventures of Ciel and Sebastian. Lately, Black Butler has gotten a hell of a lot more bloodier than ever before. Victorian killer zombies on a doomed cruise at sea? Just another day for the Phantomhive child heir.

There is a whole lot of ass kicking going on in this latest installation of Kuroshitsuji. Lizzie is chopping folks with her swords, Sebastian is fighting Grell and Ronald Knox, and even a familiar yet unexpected guest drops in - someone who is intimately familiar with how dead bodies work. If you thought the previous volume did not have enough action, this one should certainly slake your thirst. There's certainly enough bloodshed and zombie parts to go around.
I've always adored Lizzie and this volume has deepened said feelings into outright love. Honestly, if you can walk away from this series and not like Elizabeth? I don't even understand your thinking. She's a deft hand with a sword, is fiercely protecting of her fiancee, and is just too darn cute, even when slicing through zombie flesh.
Another memorable character turns out to be the Viscount of Druitt, who is both so oddly entertaining and very annoying I'm surprised Sebastian did not take him out. He's also one of several character who has been hiding some big secrets. I won't spoil who it is, but if you've been keeping your eye on him, it might not be as surprising as you think.
(Although I find it curious than in both Black Butler and Pandora Hearts, a manga that is often compared to Toboso's series, tie revealing a character's truth with revealing their eyes. It's always surprising to see the eyes of someone who has kept them covered, but I never expected such a reveal to be so gosh darn groundbreaking. Although I think Pandora Hearts and Mochizuki's turn at this trope was a lot wilder. Crazy eyes!)
Plus, if you are a Ciel and Sebastian fan - and if you've sat through twelve previous volumes, you kind of have to be - the last part of this volume will thrill you utterly. Did somebody call for a flashback sequence? Toboso is finally taking us back to the very night Ciel entered into a hellish contract with everyone's favorite demon butler, and it does not disappoint.
This series lately has been full of twists, but the twists in this one have the potential to totally change the series as a whole, as well as our perception of the Ciel/Sebastian relationship and some of our most beloved characters. Yana Toboso has been drawing us in for years concerning these two, and it looks like she'll finally be delivering. Well, in volume fourteen, that is. It's only a few months until it comes out!