Otaku USA Magazine
Black Butler vol. 2

Butlers generally work hard, but Sebastian Michaelis really goes above and beyond in the butler department. He’ll even kill in order to help his young master, Ciel. Demonic butler, indeed. And it’s extra funny because there was a guy named Sebastien Michaelis who lived a few hundred years ago and wrote about demons.

But the Sebastian we’re talking about lives in nineteenth century England and does whatever he can to keep the manor in tip-top shape. The first chapter in this volume has Sebastian getting ready for a party Ciel decided to throw and having to deal with moronic servants. He tries to be polite, but you can see he wants to cave under the strain of idiocy.

The next chapter, however, moves us in a completely different direction. Ciel mentions that a prostitute just got killed in Whitechapel. Murders… in Whitechapel… in the late nineteenth century. Why does this sound so familiar? Oh, yes! Jack the Ripper!

Ciel, Sebastian and some others get involved with the case to solve the mystery. Despite the fact that Scotland Yard couldn’t do it and no one since then can definitively name Jack the Ripper (though there are plenty of theories), Sebastian of course gets to the bottom of the case very quickly. He’s not only good at putting out silverware—he can solve the world’s most famous murder mystery. But figuring out who Jack the Ripper is only opens a new can of worms, and this volume ends right in the middle of a problem that arises from discovering Jack. Naturally, since this is Black Butler we’re talking about, the Jack the Ripper case isn’t solved neatly with a mere man having done the crimes. There’s a much more sinister story behind it all.

Black Butler is a horror series, but it’s also quite funny in a really offbeat, wicked way. It’s often classified as shonen, yet I often feel as if it’s aimed more at girls. Sebastian is drawn like a shojo heartthrob, and there’s even a part where Ciel cross-dresses and he and Sebastian dance (I think I hear fangirls squealing). At another part, Sebastian laces up Ciel’s corsets, but it’s drawn in a way that… well, makes it look like something else. (I think I hear fangirls squealing again.)

I think the original Sebastien Michaelis probably wouldn’t find all this as amusing as we do.

Publisher: Yen Press

Story & Art: Yana Toboso

Danica Davidson has written for MTV News, Booklist and Publishers Weekly, among other places, and is currently seeking to publish a YA novel. She can be found atwww.danicadavidson.com and Twitter: @DanicaDavidson.