Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji Vol. 23

Review:

Black Butler Vol. 23 - Yana Toboso

In this volume we see the return of some familiar faces (I won’t spoil them all), including the P4 from the Weston College arc, who are, shall we say, stars of a different sort. I’m excited to see Lizzie in a central role for this arc, though she’s only scattered throughout this volume. I hope we get some badass Lizzie next time. Also happy for some Emerald Witch, with her hilariously oversexed banter.

There’s of course also a new face, Blavat Sky (after the Victorian medium), who’s mysterious and interesting, especially due to his interactions with Sebastian (again, being intentionally vague and non-spoilery). He appears to have genuine fortune telling abilities, but I already have a theory about that. In addition, there’s what I think is a fresh face at the end who certain fans will surely love (for my part, I already clearly get confused about who’s new and who we simply haven’t seen in a while).

As a first volume in a new arc, there’s a lot of setting up the mystery happening, which is fun in its own way. There’s some Sebastian cat action, which is always entertaining, some Ciel in danger, and a bit of the Queen herself. This manga never disappoints, and I’m already anxious for the next chapters.

No Snake or Finny this volume, though, which breaks my fangirl heart…

Original post:
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Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji Vol. 23

My Man Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse

Review:

My Man Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse

When I was a freshman in college, a professor assigned Right Ho, Jeeves as our last book of the semester for a class on 20th Century Fiction. I’d never heard of the series, though clearly it’s had a big influence on depictions of butlers/valets and hapless masters (among other things) in popular culture. Reading the novel, I quickly understood why my prof had assigned it when he had; it was an easy, impossibly fun and funny book, a relief at the stressful end of the semester. My friend and roommate shot me a lot of looks as I chuckled or cracked up while reading it on my loft bed.

 

I’d always figured I’d read more Jeeves someday, and a free kindle book of My Man Jeeves proved a perfect opportunity. However, I didn’t realize at first that it’s a collection of short stories rather than a novel, and not all the stories feature Jeeves and his “master,” Bertie Wooster. All the stories are set in America, or begin there, since Bertie is spending time abroad.

 

The Jeeves stories are, as usual, full of Bertie–or, I should say, Bertie’s friends–getting into fixes that Jeeves inevitably gets him out of. Bertie is completely conscious of the fact that Jeeves is The Man at these things, though Bertie himself is a good chap who wants to help his friends. Bertie’s voice, the language generally, is at least half the pleasure. As an example, here are a few ways he describes Jeeves’s physicality:

 

Jeeves trickled in with the tray, like some silent stream meandering over its mossy bed

 

He moves from point to point with as little uproar as a jelly fish.

 

Encountering these characters again, I was reminded of Sebastian from the manga and anime, Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji, clearly Jeeves’s descendant in terms of skill and smoothness, if not devilry (though Ciel is more Sebastian’s equal than Bertie is Jeeves’s; one would never describe Ciel as “hapless.”).

 

If one wanted, the Jeeves stories can be read as a portrait and satire of upperclass, male, British layabouts and their silly pursuits and problems, often involving allowances being cut off by stiff, older relations. It’s a pleasant, pre-WWII world, and though the young men getting into scrapes are the butt of jokes, you still like everyone rather than sneer at them.

 

I do find that reading story after story rather than one bigger narrative made the stories feel same-y, and after the first non-Jeeves story, I skipped the others. But reading the book was still a damn fun time.

Original post:
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My Man Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse

Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji Vol. 22

Review:

Black Butler, Vol. 22 - Yana Toboso

This volume felt like a quickie transitional one, with its final chapter presenting a fun standalone story featuring the characters readers voted as their favorites (fandom, please explain all the love for Charles Grey and Vincent Phantomhive; I don’t get it). We see the gang at Diedrich’s, followed by a return to London where the “emerald witch” (Sieglinde Sullivan) must be schooled in how to be a lady before she’s brought to meet the queen. At first I was side-eying the goings-on; I mean, this is a girl who can’t walk because her feet were bound for so long. But eventually Lizzie arrives to save the day (after a perfectly understandable misunderstanding), making Ciel join the lessons as well.

 

We also see a bit of Wolfram’s background, and a touching scene or two between him and his charge. Finally, we learn how reapers are made (no storks involved), or, I should say, what “qualifies” one to become a reaper; I don’t think this is information we’d already been given, but we’re at volume 22, so there’s a chance I forgot.

 

As usual, this volume could use 200% more Snake and Finny (and why is Mey-rin on the cover when she’s barely present?), but there’s some Undertaker at least!

Original post:
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Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji Vol. 22