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Black Butler volume 1

January 12, 2010

Yen Press ran a contest on Twitter (they’re @yenpress there) a few weeks back (right before Christmas) for five people to each win a copy of Black Butler (aka Kuroshitsuji) volume 1 (by: Yana Toboso) and a cover for the Japanese version of the manga straight from Japan (see Yen Press’s page about the give-away here). Guess who just so happened to be one of the 5 winners!! :D (and no, my camera isn’t working at the moment, so I can’t post any pics of the book or cover! Hooray, I got my camera to work!!) But anyway, check out the review

Black Butler volume 1
by: Yana Toboso
published by: Yen Press
from the back cover: Just a stone’s throw from London lies the manor house of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria’s faithful servant…and a slip of a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out his master’s wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London’s underbelly, there apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true…or at least, too good to be human…

My ramblings: The first thing I noticed is that there are actually color pages (well…one, but it still puts Yen Press above the pack in it’s general manga). I also really like that there is no “You’re reading the wrong way” page, since it’s likely that most of the people picking up this series are going to know that it’s manga and that it doesn’t read the same way as a Western book would. And this is a personal preference, but I’m really glad that the side of the volume is the same color scheme as the front and back (it looks more streamlined, and since it’s black it’s not killing my eyeballs, like some of the recent manga I’ve bought *cough*Karakuri Odette*cough*). On the whole, I think the book looks fantastic, and is a perfect English equivalent of the Japanese cover.

From what I know of the story, the translation seems to be perfect. The only thing I’m kind of on the fence about is how Yen Press handles the sound effects; they’re romanized and translated right next to the original Japanese, and it’s just kind of cluttering up the page. Again, this might just be a personal preference, but I’d prefer they do one or the other and not both; for instance, a glossary in the back like earlier Viz releases or just editing the soundeffects to their English equivalent (which I’m positive is more time consuming and costly, but would help make the book easier to read through).

The art is superb (I think I prefer it to it’s anime counterpart), and I love the adorable little chibi parts with Baldo, Mey-rin, and Finny. Story-wise, not much actually happens in this volume, which isn’t too surprising, since it’s just the beginning of the story. It does give you just enough to leave you wanting more though.

I’m excited that this series was licensed by Yen Press, since they do such a fantastic job with everything they put out. Volume 2 comes out in May, so do yourself a favor and buy this before then!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2010 6:52 pm

    Aw, lucky! :D
    I’ve got this manga on order so I’m looking forward to reading it here soon along with Pandora Hearts (unfortunately bad weather is keeping my stuff from being sent out – NOOO! *shakes an angry fist* D:).

  2. January 12, 2010 8:01 pm

    My guess that it’ll stick to the norm anime-lightnov relationship and parallel the first 3~4 or so episodes of the anime?

    Might check it out if the later novels present enough different from the anime. Sadly time is at a premium for me these days =(

  3. January 12, 2010 9:35 pm

    @sylphalchemist: I was soooo surprised, cuz I never win anything (I tend to have really bad luck), but it’s definitely worth your money. :]

    @Aorii: I’m pretty sure it’s covered in the first 3 episodes, but a little differently in some cases.
    With a second season of the anime announced, I’m not sure how much of it will be different in the long run…but I definitely understand your reasoning!

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