Black Butler 7

December 27, 2011

Yana Toboso – Yen Press – 2011 – 13+ volumes

I can’t believe I haven’t talked about this one yet! I like this series more and more with every volume I read, despite the terrible first impression I had. This storyline is the best yet, though. This volume leaves off on a terrible cliffhanger after a lot of exposition, and it really, really left me wanting volume eight.

This is the continuation of the story that began last time, where Ciel is investigating some kidnappings in relation to a traveling circus and has joined, along with Sebastian, in order to determine whether or not the performers are abducting children. Ciel and Sebastian start the volume by snooping in order to determine who the patron for the circus is. An old illness of Ciel’s, along with shinigami interference, means the investigation at the circus doesn’t go extraordinarily well, but they get enough information to leave and track down the culprit.

The culprit is a magnificent villain. Absolutely, repulsively evil, but he doesn’t seem to understand that he’s doing wrong. His flashback is almost hard to read, because… well, his motivation is that he wants to be one of the “beautiful” people that is “accepted” by society. Ciel’s father and relatives are at the beginning of all this, and what happened to Ciel is actually what this is all leading up to. More of Ciel’s past trauma is explained, and Ciel has to come face-to-face with a situation that literally killed him last time.

The villain uses leverages of debt and guilt to get the circus staff to do the terrible things he bids them, rather than blackmail or force. They do terrible things because they love him for rescuing them, and want him to help other orphans like themselves. The villain also seems to think that Ciel, because his family is involved in the underworld, will appreciate the awful things he is doing to the children, and even the ceremony that left Ciel with Sebastian. He’s a really bizarre kind of oblivious, and more than a little sad, which is saying something considering the fact that he’s a child murderer.

Yana Toboso talks a bit in the back about how long it took her to develop his character and get him just right. The time was well spent, and his evil makes for a wonderful story. She was upset, however, that most of the feedback was about the page or two that had Ciel’s father and uncle on them. He is an excellent bad guy, so that’s a real shame.

I was happy with the villain, the unusually dark tone of the story (the light tone of the circus gets dark really quick after they trace things back to the nobility), the flashback for Ciel, and all the extra insight this volume offered for Ciel and Sebastian. Plus, it ends with an awful cliffhanger that leaves the safety of Ciel’s mansion in question. What’s not to like? I’m completely sold on this series now.

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