Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Seven, by Yana Toboso

Kuroshitsuji volume seven was almost a deal breaker for me. This is not to say that it was a terrible volume, only that this is one of the more horrifying story arcs. After this arc ended I had to take a hiatus from the series and considered not keeping up with it at all, I was that affected by the arc and the ending. I am trigger warning for abuse, murder, a kid having some fairly sever post traumatic stress, and some extremely creepy and very disturbing stalker behavior. 

We open with Ciel getting caught by “Doll” who mysteriously decides to cover for him. We also learn that the area is full of snakes (Sebastian having followed Ciel’s earlier directions to the letter, even though he knew that Ciel would be in the area). Ciel claims to have been looking for something to steal and works this into his persona. Doll reveals herself to actually be his tentmate Freckles. She believes his story and warns him not to steal again.

Ciel and Sebastian discuss “why you should always make sure your orders do not contradict with your actions because your demon will find a way to make you regret your lack of consideration.” Then they move on to a discussion about a trademark and Ciel has an asthma attack. Sebastian was previously unaware of Ciel’s asthma and is understandably not happy about this new discovery.

Next, we discover that Snake’s ability to communicate with his reptilian friends means that Joker now knows that Sebastian and Ciel were snooping around the tents. Joker is understandably worried about being “found out,” but he doesn’t want to risk getting rid of Ciel and Sebastian if they’re with Scotland Yard. He decides that he’s going to need to consult with “Father,” so he heads off. Meanwhile, in order to get more information about the trademark and the circus’ sponsor, Sebastian decides to seduce an emotionally vulnerable Beast. He is able to find out a great deal of information and returns to the townhouse with a still-sickly Ciel in tow.

At the townhouse, Soma has been beside himself with worry! He fusses at both Sebastian and Ciel, going so far as to scold Sebastian for not taking into account that Ciel is a little boy. He is backed up by Agni. Interspersed with Soma and Agni’s attempts to mother-hen Ciel we learn that the mysterious “Father” is someone named Baron Kelvin. Ciel has a vague memory of having been introduced to him by “the previous Earl.” Ciel attempts to continue his investigation but is not able to, since he is still sick and Agni and Soma are extremely insistent that he get some rest.

Back at the circus, everyone is angry at Freckle/Doll because she let Ciel get away. We also learn that the circus has a new target. Doll is sent to tell Joker what is going on. The chapter ends with William being and odd combination of whiny and sinister.

We learn that Baron Kelvin is an extremely creepy individual with an obsession for children in general and Ciel in specific. He is surrounded by a number of blank-faced and zombie-like children. At one point in time, he was a philanthropist but somehow he degenerated into an extremely unwell criminal. He instructs Joker to invite Ciel to the manor.

Let us shed some light on why the next part of the arc gives me the dry heaves. Baron Kelvin develops an extreme fixation on Ciel after being introduced to him at a party. Part of the obsession is because Kelvin learns that Ciel’s father “rules the underworld,” and Ciel seems completely sweet and innocent, yet is the son of the queen’s sinister agent. Kelvin’s obsession leads him to do a very great many criminal acts in order to pay for cosmetic surgery so that he can “perfect” himself for Ciel. (It is also implied that Kelvin’s philanthropy was actually a front for his pedophilia.)

 So Ciel pretty much walks into a live snuff show. Baron Kelvin reveals a great deal of what he has been up to and then he leads Ciel to his cellar where he has faithfully recreated the theater where a bunch of occultists tried to sacrifice Ciel. Ciel shoots Baron Kelvin. Joker tries to convince Ciel to show mercy but Ciel does not actually care about Joker or the reason for his continued devotion to the Baron. Joker reveals that the circus has gone to Ciel’s manner to kill everyone there.

Ciel does not seem very bothered by this, though he is understandably worried for Elizabeth. (It turns out that Ciel’s silly servants are actually very effective guard dogs.) We end with the circus invading the manor and encountering Finn, who seems unusually–or perhaps unnaturally–resilient.

In the next volume, we’ll go a little more into Why the Circus Arc Was Nearly a Deal Breaker.

Black Butler, Vol. 7 on Amazon

Black Butler, Volume 7 on Powell’s

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Filed under fantasy, Kuroshitsuji, manga/anime, Review: Manga

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