Author: Yana Toboso
Series: Black Butler #8
Published: January 2012 by Yen Press
Length: 192 pages
Warnings: Violence, non suggestive situations made suggestive by the artwork 14+
Source: Carrefour (bought in France)
Other info: Reviews of other books in the series are here.
Summary : When one curtain falls upon the big top stage, another rises behind the scenes, as young Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his virtuoso butler, Sebastian, face off against the villain behind the missing children. But as Sebastian, under orders from his master, single-handedly draws the gruesome tale to its sad conclusion on one front, battle lines are drawn on another! With the masterless Phantomhive Manor under attack from the Noah’s Ark Circus and Sebastian nowhere nearby to protect its inhabitants, is Ciel’s home once again headed for the same tragedy that took the lives of the young earl’s parents?
Review: So, the circus troupe are storming Phantomhive Manor. Luckily, the servants are around to take care of things. Meanwhile, Sebastian and Ciel bring the circus arc to a close. Volume seven left with the toupe planning to invade the manor. Volume 8 starts with this actually happens. And then the three servents...they...yeah.
Character development definitely happens. Well, not so much development, more like seeing the side of these characters that we’ve never seen before. We get Finny beating up the circus’s strong man, Mey-rin showing off her incredible sniper skills, and Bard whipping out a machine gun that has been casually kept in the kitchen. Because, you know, every servant has to be able to do these kinds of things.
Sadly, after this amazing show of badassery, once the arc comes to a close, there’s huge character regression. Back to stupid, crying, useless, comic relief charcters they go.
New character alert! Two shinigami turn up, sorting out the bloodbath at Phantomhive Manor. It’s nice how even though he appears for six pages, everyone falls in love with Ronald Knox and his mad fun personality. Oh, and William turns up again. So fun. I wish we saw more of the shinigami.
I feel so bad for Doll. At first, I didn’t care for her. Then, in volume 7, she’s so happy and funny that I fell in love with her. And then the guy she’s slightly in love with (Ciel) tells her something that really kills the mood.
The final chapter is completely different. We meet Nina Hopkins, dressmaker to the Middlefords and the Phantomhives. Nina, her being racy (removing her skirt to reveal bloomer/short-y things) and Sebastian stopping her from seeing Ciel’s brand provides welcome comic relief, before we are treated to, most likely, another dark and gory storyline in volume 9.
The art, once again, is extremely detailed. I love Yana’s style, which works for comic and serious storylines. The cover to chapter 36 (Ciel and Doll) is beautiful in black and white, and the colour version (which you can find on the internet) is even better. On a less properly appreciating art note, I love Undertaker’s boots.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a volume that includes a little bit of every reason why I love this manga.