After 109 chapters I can say that this is indeed one of my favourite manga. And one reason for that would be the fact that I wasn't bored at all at any point. Every chapter was interesting and I actually read everything at once. The story is interesting, yes, but I'm also most fascinated by the characters. This manga has a lot to offer, at first I thought it was the kind of teenage girl stuff some of the fans made it seem like, but at some point it gets a lot darker than that. I was a bit taken a back, to be honest. Positively, of course.
The anime can't even be compared with the manga. If you're like me, crushed, empty and angry after watching the second season of the anime, read the manga. Forget the second season ever existed because it didn't. It just gets better and better when you follow the story via manga. I do like the anime too, but it's just basically a sidedish compared to this.
The art isn't bad at all either. It's actually super expressive and at times so so detailed. The food also looks damn delicious so if you're interested in that, go for it. Not to mention all the super fine and frilly clothing that makes you drool more than the food ever could. The clothes are really damn awesome and you could even read the manga just to stare at them.
There is a story in this manga, but it's really slow build. Not that I really mind, because it just means it's gonna be a long story. There's basically several stories that link together somehow, a lot of detective-ish stuff going on and demon powers and all that. What I love the most at the time, is the backstories of some of the characters. All of them don't have one, at least not yet, but I'm sure they will have. It's nice when there's flashbacks or a couple of chapters telling a story from years back or something.
Overall, this is a really awesome manga and there's a lot psychological mind things going on, but there's some fine humor too. Too bad there's only this much chapters at the time.
First off, the best reason to read this manga is if you are at all into classic literature. I'm surprised I haven't seen it brought up yet: Black Butler is at its heart a Faust story with Colin from the Secret Garden as the lead. This made me very happy.
Having established that, my least favourite parts of the manga are always the bits that don't have to do with the main story. (And the occasional fanservice. Seriously. Didn't need!)
The rest of the manga is a cherry-picking of the best images of the late Victorian era, around 1890-1910; while technically it is 1889, nods are made to events that have not happened such as the Titanic.
The highlights include zombies & shinigamis on the Titanic (complete with a James Cameron reference, lol), Sherlock Holmes in the Phantomhive mansion (complete with an appearance by Jeremy Brett), and Jack the Ripper (complete with social commentary on the period yay!). The anime also includes the Hope Diamond.
To bring this back to the subject of fanservice, I need to put to rest the idea of a yaoi relationship between Sebastian and Ciel based on their master/servant relationship which apparently is appealing to some people despite the innate creepiness of the very idea. Sorry, ick. =P
The things that Sebastian does for Ciel - help him dress, etc - are rather period. Read some good classic British literature about upper-class kids. Kids like Ciel don't know how to dress themselves. Part of this is because the higher class you are, the more likely your outfit is something that you are not going to be able to get into by yourself; and the rest is because from birth servants have been there to attend to your every need. Why bother?
Sebastian does read as a creep sometimes. He's a demon who intends to devour Ciel's soul. Yeah. I think he warrants a little creepiness. But he never seems to have a sexual interest in Ciel. The author seems to get some fun out of fanbaiting, however. I'm not even sure why because there's obviously no real shipping going on.
As a side note, it's a very dark manga. Lots of blood (and dismemberment in the case of zombies) and the villains tend to commit crimes against children which can be disturbing. And yet it's also very funny. Sebastian, despite his evilness, manages to be very dry and witty intentionally, while at times he's utterly hilarious without meaning to be.
Ultimately, though, it's Ciel who keeps my interest. He's such a small boy taking on the world. Will the weight break him? Will he go mad, or will he go bad? He's got so much that wasn't his fault; but his reactions are what matters. So far, he's reacting very darkly; yet I have sympathy for him and hope that he grows up a little.
Will Ciel, like Faust, escape the deal? Remains to be seen but I expect he will - if he's not destroyed by his own madness. It also remains to be seen whether Sebastian will go soft and keep Ciel from hurting himself with his revenge quest. Again, I wouldn't be surprised.
The story is of Sebastian Michaelis as he works for his young master; a 12 (to 13) year old boy named Ciel Phantomhive. But their is more to this duo then meets the eye, Sebastian is actually a demon that is under contract to Ciel, working for him until the day that he can claim the boy's soul. (I'm stopping their I do not wish to give much away if one has not read it yet.).
The story if very interesting, with side trips of humor, and tradigy flowing through it as the story progresses. It really has one begging for the next chapter to come quickly as soon as it stops. Most shonen manga's I read are just to boring but this story brings a interesting twist to it all and I really love it for that. It would keep you guessing and if you were a ff.net user like me; you'd probably have stories just flowing through your head on the close relationship between Ciel and Sebastian (they are not in love..).
Fantastic works of art, I thought Toboso-sensei really captured the victorian era real well. The background art and character clothing was drawn really well, (though sometimes it looked a bit scratchy; no offense to anyone.).
The characters were all an interesting bunch, the maid for exsample through her clumsy and crushes for Sebastian, Finnian with his cheerful yet exstordinary strength, Bard his interest in using a flamethrower in the kitchen..They are funny character's (even though they are side.). Then we have Agni with his right hand of God and prince Soma from India they sort of annoyed me but brought up a good laugh now and again. Elizabeth; now she really would have you annoyed...but then you remember why she was their. Finally, Sebastian and Ciel. Sebastian with his beautiful red eyes, calm posser, interest for cats, and a skillful way of doing things. Ciel with his love for games, sweet tooth, his cold hearted attitude, interest in seeing Sebastian fail and working for the Queen as her watch dog... Lets just say you'd probably fall in love with them quite quickly.
Overall, I do recommend this manga to anyone who's looking for a twist in shonen or just looking for some interesting recipes to try out. The story is an interesting one, the art is fantastic and very well done, the translations aren't so bad either, the character's great... (Uh.. excuss me I was rambling again..).
(Note: I might come back and edit it a bit seeing as I have written it while half asleep.)