Since its premiere, over one hundred chapters have been released in Japan. On July 11, 2008, Gakken's Animedia magazine confirmed the manga was going to be adapted into an anime series, directed by Toshiya Shinohara and produced by A-1 Pictures, which began airing in October 2008 and ended its run in March 2009.
The individual chapters are published in tankōbon by Square Enix under their Gangan Comicsimprint. The first volume was released on February 27, 2007 and, as of March 27, 2019, twenty-eight volumes have been released. In July 2009, Yen Press licensed the series for an English language release and began to serialize the manga in its Yen Plus' August 2009 issue for the magazine's first anniversary. They released the first volume in January 2010. Every chapter follows a naming scheme: The Butler (その執事, Sono Shitsuji) followed by a comma and a word or phrase composed of two kanji.
001. "In the morning: The Butler, Skilled" (その執事、有能, "Sono Shitsuji, Yūnō")
002. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Very Skilled" (その執事、万能, "Sono Shitsuji, Bannō")
003. "At night: The Butler, Omnipotent" (その執事、最強, "Sono Shitsuji, Saikyō")
004. "At midnight: The Butler, Most Evil" (その執事、最凶, "Sono Shitsuji, Sai Kyō")
In a manor house outside of Victorian London, Sebastian Michaelis, butler to the twelve-year-old Ciel Phantomhive, prepares the household for a special guest named Clause. However, Bardroy the chef burns the meat, May-Rin the maid breaks the dishes, and Finnian the gardener kills the garden, ruining the entire night. Through quick thinking, his perfect knowledge and ability, and a bit of inspiration from Tanaka the house steward, Sebastian is able to create a flawless Japanese-themed service. Days later, Ciel is kidnapped by a drug dealer Azzurro Vanel of the Fener family. When Ciel refuses to reveal the location of the drugs Clause delivered to Ciel, Vanel orders Ciel's servants killed, starting with Sebastian. However, the sniper misses, alerting Sebastian to his presence. Sebastian easily outmatches the sniper and is able to obtain Ciel's location. Sebastian then sets out to save his master, killing Vanel's large force by himself using nothing but silverware. Moments before he is able to give up the ransom for Ciel, he is shot fatally multiple times. However, Sebastian is able to easily recover from such injuries and kills the shooters. Not willing to break a "contract" with his master, he quickly fulfills the boy's order to save him and returns Ciel safely home, slightly late for dinner.
005. "In the morning: The Butler, Busy" (その執事、多忙, "Sono Shitsuji, Sabō")
006. "At noon: The Butler, Activated" (その執事、始動, "Sono Shitsuji, Shidō")
007. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Capricious" (その執事、粋狂, "Sono Shitsuji, Suikyō")
008. "At night: The Butler, Commendable" (その執事、殊勝, "Sono Shitsuji, Shushō")
009. "At midnight: The Butler, Encounters" (その執事、邂逅, "Sono Shitsuji, Kaikō")
Ciel tells Sebastian a group of orphans are visiting tomorrow. As Sebastian prepares chocolate for the guests, he is constantly interrupted by the servants, who bungle their own tasks. Sebastian completes the chocolate statues to find that Ciel has the statue's head. Ciel spends the social season at his London manor and is visited by his aunt, Doctor Angelina "Madame Red" Durless, her butler Grell Sutcliff, and Lau. They discuss the recent serial murders of prostitutes, called the Jack the Ripper case. To investigate, they visit Undertaker, a funeral director, and learn the victims' wombs were removed. They speculate the perpetrator is an anatomical expert. After a preliminary investigation, the Viscount of Druitt becomes the prime suspect. Ciel disguises himself as Madame Red's niece and investigates during the Viscount's party. During the party, Ciel is taken to a gas-filled room and becomes unconscious. When Ciel awakens, he is being auctioned off. Sebastian rescues the boy and the Viscount is arrested. However, another murder has taken place. Sebastian and Ciel learn the identities of the murderer and the next victim's and lie in ambush. Although no one enters, the victim is found dead and Grell is in her home. Grell and Madame Red admit to the murders as Grell transforms into his shinigami form and engages Sebastian in battle.
010. "In the morning: The Butler, Reflective" (その執事、回想, "Sono Shitsuji, Kaisō")
011. "At noon: The Butler, Retrospective" (その執事、追想, "Sono Shitsuji, Tsuisō")
012. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Retaliatory" (その執事、反攻, "Sono Shitsuji, Hankō")
013. "At night: The Butler, Mourning" (その執事、葬送, "Sono Shitsuji, Sōsō")
014. "At midnight: The Butler, On the Hunt" (その執事、狩猟, "Sono Shitsuji, Shuryō")
Grell's chainsaw-like scythe cuts through anything, quickly overpowering Sebastian as Madame Red attacks Ciel, attempting to strangle him. Grell kills her later when she refuses to kill Ciel. Memories of her life--her sister and her sister's husband the Earl of Phantomhive are played out, an effect of the scythe. Despite her love for the Earl Phantomhive, Madame Red marries Baron Dalles and becomes pregnant with his child. Her happiness is destroyed when her husband and unborn baby are lost in an accident. When she is released from the hospital, she finds the Phantomhive manor is burning. Madame Red is envious of her sister, who died with someone she loves while Madame Red is alone. Madame Red returns to work and is asked to perform abortions on prostitutes. Infuriated because they have what was taken away from her, she kills them. Grell, who witnesses these killings, joins her. The two become Jack the Ripper. Sebastian attacks Grell and tangles Grell's chainsaw with his tailcoat. Sebastian tries to kill Grell with the scythe, but the shinigami William Spears stops Sebastian. William apologizes for Grell's actions as he has killed people who are not on the to-die list and drags Grell away for punishment. After Madame Red's funeral, Ciel is warned against sinking into darkness. Ciel's aunt and fiancée, respectively Marchioness Frances Middleford and her daughter Elizabeth, visit the estate. Ciel and the Marchioness engage in a hunting competition. When the group is attacked by a bear, Ciel protects Elizabeth and Sebastian kills the bear, although it has appears to be the Marchioness' handiwork. The Middlefords and the servants wish Ciel happy birthday, the true purpose of the visit.
015. "In the morning: The Butler, Freeloading" (その執事、居候, "Sono Shitsuji, Isōrō")
016. "At noon: The Butler, Foreign" (その執事、異邦, "Sono Shitsuji, Ihō")
017. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Competitive" (その執事、拮抗, "Sono Shitsuji, Kikkō")
018. "At night: The Butler, Shadowing" (その執事、尾行, "Sono Shitsuji, Bikō")
019. "At midnight: The Butler, Superhuman" (その執事、異能, "Sono Shitsuji, Inō")
Ciel, Sebastian, and Lau investigate a case where British citizens returning from India are attacked, stripped, and hung upside-down outside Indian pubs in London. Attached to each victim is a letter insulting the English. The group is attacked by poor Indian men during their investigation. They are helped by the Indian Prince Soma and his butler Agni. They are searching for Soma's servant Meena, who was taken away by a British man. Although Agni is human, he is on par with Sebastian's fighting skills. Agni declines the compliments, saying that he once had power and wealth, which he abused until he was to be hanged for his crimes. He was saved by Soma, who gave him a new life and name, and, as a result, Agni views Soma as a god. Agni leaves the manor at night. The group, including Soma, follows Agni to Lord West's home. When he hears Meena mentioned, Soma quickly reveals the group's presence. Agni refuses to obey Soma's orders, but begins to act on West's order to beat Soma. A disguised Sebastian saves Soma and the group escapes to the manor. Soma becomes angry he has been betrayed. Sebastian tells him he is spoiled and never truly owned anything. Ciel admits he would have become the same if his parents were not murdered and he was sacrificed to summon the demon later called Sebastian. The group speculates West aims to win the upcoming curry competition, and subsequently, a Royal Warrant. Through the attacks, West terrorized other competitors. Ciel decides he will win the competition and the Warrant. However, Soma insists Agni, who is known for his curry, cannot be beaten.
020. "In the morning: The Butler, Cogitating" (その執事、着想, "Sono Shitsuji, Chakusō")
021. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Competitive" (その執事、競争, "Sono Shitsuji, Kyōsō")
022. "At night: The Butler, Victorious"
023. "At midnight: The Butler, Agitated" (その執事、交流, "Sono Shitsuji, Kōryū")
Soma repeatedly rejects Sebastian's curry, even when the curry tastes and smells like Agni's. Sebastian realizes that chocolate completes the curry and gives it an English touch. This curry matches Agni's. Ciel comments that replicating the curry is not enough to win, but Sebastian has a plan that will win the Warrant. At the competition, Agni and Sebastian impress the audience. However, Soma and Agni realize that Sebastian will lose because he cannot make a perfect naan and he is cooking the curry at too high a temperature. Agni easily wins the judges' approval during the judging with his seven varieties of curry. The judges immediately reject Sebastian's curry because it appears to be a doughnut. When the judges learn the curry is inside the doughnut and taste it, they are evenly split over which curry is superior and proclaim a tie. However, Queen Victoria arrives to the competition and awards Sebastian first prize because his curry accounts for the children. As West copes with his loss, he is comforted by Meena, whom Soma tries to take back to India. He learns Meena wants to be West's rich wife rather than Soma's cook and Agni is hiding this truth from him. Soma realizes he caused all of his grief and apologizes for all the trouble he gives Agni. Meanwhile, Lau and Ranmao kill West and Meena in an alleyway. When Commissioner Randall and Fred Abberline visit Phantomhive manor, Agni tries to take the blame for the recent crimes only to have Sebastian stop him.
024. "In the morning: The Butler, Onstage" (その執事、壇上, "Sono Shitsuji, Sanjō")
025. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Treated" (その執事、治療, "Sono Shitsuji, Chiryō")
026. "At night: The Butler, A Colleague" (その執事、同僚, "Sono Shitsuji, Dōryō")
027. "At midnight: The Butler, Performs" (その執事、興行, "Sono Shitsuji, Kōgyō")
Ciel and Sebastian investigate the connection between the disappearances of children and Noah's Ark Circus. When Sebastian is bitten by a tiger during one of the circus' performances, Sebastian is able to search for the children. He finds that the circus performers have prosthetic limbs. While examining the prosthetic Beast the animal tamer has, she accuses him of being rude. She and another performer attack him, but Sebastian evades the attacks. This impresses Joker the ringleader into recruiting Sebastian. Sebastian accepts and Ciel takes the entrance test the next morning. Although Ciel cannot perform the circus acts, Sebastian helps him pass from the sidelines. The two are welcomed into the troupe. When Joker leaves them, Sebastian tells Ciel that there is no sign of the children and suggests they investigate the snake-protected tents of the main cast. Afterward, they find William Spears has also joined. Sebastian notes that if a shinigami is at this circus, then there is something wrong about it. William states his division is understaffed and there is business to attend to. The three agree not to interfere with each other. During a performance, Sebastian and Ciel are able to investigate the tents. At the last minute, Sebastian must stand-in for a performer. Ciel searches the tents and finds photographs of a philanthropist whose hallmark is on Beast's prosthetic. He also finds a letter mentioning Ciel. The performers return before he can investigate further.
028. "At midnight: The Butler, Parleying" (その執事、交渉, "Sono Shitsuji, Kōshō")
029. "At noon: The Butler, Scandalous" (その執事、醜行, "Sono Shitsuji, Shūkō")
030. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Nurturing" (その執事、撫養, "Sono Shitsuji, Buyō")
031. "At night: The Butler, A Spectator" (その執事、歓望, "Sono Shitsuji, Kanbō")
032. "At midnight: The Butler, Mocking" (その執事、嘲笑, "Sono Shitsuji, Chōshō")
The performers learn that Ciel was in their tents and Joker leaves to consult Father. Ciel orders Sebastian to learn the name of hallmark's owner. Sebastian seduces Beast into revealing the name Baron Kelvin. Sebastian and Ciel leave for the London manor in the morning to prepare for further investigation. However, Soma and Agni recognize Ciel is sick and prevent him from investigating. Meanwhile, the performers learn that Sebastian, Ciel, and William have disappeared and decide to carry out Father's orders without Joker. Joker reports that Ciel has infiltrated the circus. Despite this, Kelvin becomes excited. Ciel and Sebastian are welcomed into Kelvin's mansion for dinner. For entertainment, Kelvin has untrained children perform circus tricks, resulting in their gruesome deaths. Sebastian finds a kidnapped child among the performers and puts a stop to the performance. Ciel learns Kelvin has recreated the day Ciel was used as a sacrifice. Disgusted with the Baron, Ciel shoots him. Joker attempts to save Kelvin, but Sebastian incapacitates him. Joker begs Ciel to let Kelvin live because he saved the Noah's Ark Circus performers from the streets. Because Joker lives by the same code Ciel lives by, Ciel lets him live. Joker tells Ciel that the other performers are searching for Ciel and will kill his servants and Elizabeth, but Ciel is not worried. At Ciel's manor, the performers attack.
Finnian, May-Rin, Bardroy, and Tanaka defeat the circus performers. Meanwhile the doctor who examined Sebastian when bitten by a tiger reveals to Ciel and Sebastian that the artificial limbs he made for the performers were actually made from "certain materials": the bones of the kidnapped children. When the doctor kills a child, Ciel has a flashback of when he was nearly sacrificed and has a panic attack. Sebastian reminds him that he is now "out of the cage", and Ciel orders him to kill the doctor and Baron Kelvin. Sebastian does so, and hesitates when Ciel commands him to burn down the manor, as the kidnapped children are still imprisoned inside, but obeys. William looks at Joker's Cinematic Record on the days when Baron Kelvin had taken in him and his friends, and Ronald Knox appears; then they both prepare to collect the souls. Doll arrives at the burning manor, and Sebastian informs her that Joker and the other two were dead. Realizing that "Smile" was actually Ciel Phantomhive and that everything had been a lie, Doll breaks down and vows that she will never forgive Ciel, then attempts to kill him. Sebastian is seen walking away from the manor with Ciel, and it is implied that he killed Doll. The Undertaker is then seen watching the manor burn, as well as two men in white. Snake later on goes out to find the other performers, while Ciel and Sebastian go to the workhouse where Joker had said that several other adoptees were. But when they arrive at the workhouse no one is there, and Ciel finds it darkly amusing that people would try to protect something nonexistent.
038. "In the morning: The Butler, Wretched" (その執事、悲愴, "Sono Shitsuji, Hisō )
039. "At noon: The Butler, Startled" (その執事、咆驚, "Sono Shitsuji, Houkyou")
040. "In the afternoon: The Butler, Confining" (その執事、収容, "Sono Shitsuji, Shūyō")
041. "At night: The Butler, Deceased" (その執事、死亡, "Sono Shitsuji, Shibō")
042. "At midnight: The Butler, Substituted" (その執事、代行, "Sono Shitsuji, Daikō")
Ciel receives a request from the Queen to host a banquet to entertain a German relative from her who is visiting England, Georg Ven Siemens. The story is told from another guest's perspective, a writer named Arthur, who meets the other invited ones including Lau accompanied by Ran Mao, one of the Queen's butlers, Earl Charles Grey, the president of a diamond company, Carl Woodley, Patrick Phelps from a shipbuilding company, and theatrical producer Grimsby Keane accompanied by his girlfriend, the opera singer Irene Diaz. During the dinner, an intoxicated Siemens falls asleep and is sent to his room. Sebastian later finds Siemens dead, and the guests conclude that the murderer is one of them. Since Ciel is the only person without an alibi, he is suspected of killing Siemens and has Arthur sleeping alongside him with scorting cuffs as an insurance. After the night, the servants find Sebastian dead and not even Ciel's orders cause him to move. Ciel places Tanaka as Sebastian's replacement and as the guests try to have breakfast, they go Phelps' room where he is found dead.
Based on the alibis, Arthur comes to the conclusion that there are multiple culprits who could work together. Despite new arguments between the guests, Ciel agrees to leave the investigation in Ciel's hands. A man known as Father Jeremy Rathbone comes to the mansion as invited by Sebastian in hopes of finding the culprit. Father Jeremy orders to investigate the three corpses and stages a trap to find the culprit. Jeremy captures the culprit that tries to kill which is revealed to be a snake that accidentally killed Phelps because he was sleeping in Ciel's room. Jeremy then comes to the conclusion that Siemens was actually killed after they found his body, having been temporarily dead thanks to a poison. Upon analyzing who could have sent the snake, Woodley is deemed as the only culprit because of possible reason to attempt to murder Ciel and is arrested by Earl Grey. Feeling disturbed by how the case was closed, Arthur confronts Ciel and reveals that Father Jeremy was actually Sebastian in disguise.
Ciel and Sebastian decide to explain Arthur the truth behind the case, having anticipated most of the events that occurred previous nights. Ciel had ordered Sebastian to act when he investigated the mystery behind Siemens' fake death. Sebastian was then attacked by the real culprit, Earl Grey, who was ordered by Queen Victoria to murder Siemens to stop the growth of Germany's military power he was causing, and Sebastian faked his death. While the guests were searching for the culprit, Sebastian made preparations to disguise as Father Jeremy and have a solid alibi by quickly change his clothes when investigating his corpses and disguising Phelps' corpse as him when the manor house's people had to check Sebastian's body. In order to avoid Arthur tell the truth, Sebastian shows his true demon form, terrorizing him. After Arthur escapes, Sebastian shows Ciel the one who accidentally murdered Phelps was Snake from Noah's Ark Circus, who suspects Ciel of having something to do with the disappearance of his friends. However, after Ciel tricks him into believing his friends from Noah's Ark Circus are still alive, Snake becomes their footman as he(Ciel) said the quickest way to see his friends again is by working for him because he is searching them and is sure they are innocent from the child kidnappings. Ciel is later informed by Lau about a cult known as the Aurora Society that appears to revive the dead. Accompanied by Sebastian and Snake, Ciel goes to the luxury ship Campania where a meeting from the group is to be held. There they find Elizabeth's family who is taking the trip as well as Aurora Society's members, the Viscount of Druitt, and the founder Ryan Stoker who causes the awakening of a berserker zombie.
The zombie is defeated by the Grim Reaper Ronald Knox who has been dispatched by his group to stop the souls manipulated by the Aurora Society. While Ronald tries to kill Sebastian knowing his true nature, Ciel goes to catch Ryan Stroker. Alongside Elizabeth and Snake, Ciel tries to escape from a zombie outbreak, and the three are saved by Sebastian as Ronald left him. Ciel finds Ryan who reveals that the zombie can be rendered inactive by using a device left in his room and that a company known as Osiris wants to the zombies to be taken to America via the ship. However, with the captain killed during the outbreak, the ship crashes with an iceberg and it starts flooding. Sebastian is once again attacked by Ronald as well as Grell. As Ciel is unable to protect Elizabeth from the zombies, Elizabeth herself starts defeating the creatures revealing she is a trained knight.
As Sebastian stops Elizabeth, the Grim Reapers leave. Ciel and Sebastian decide to stay in the sinking ship as an unconscious Elizabeth, her family and Snake leave on boats alongside with the other passengers. Ciel, Sebastian and the Grim Reapers then find the Viscount of Druitt who is in control of the machine able to stop the zombies, but Undertaker, revealed as a former Grim Reaper, comes to his defense. Revealed as the mastermind behind the control from the dead, the Undertaker confronts the Grim Reapers and Sebastian. Undertaker easily overwhelms his opponents and when impaling Sebastian with scythe, all of memories regarding how he became a butler are shown. When Ciel was in a cult ritual, his hatred summoned Sebastian and made a contract with him so that he will kill his kidnappers and stay by his side to gain power. From there on, Sebastian rebuilds the Phanthomhive's burned mansion and tries to work as a human for Ciel and avoid using his demonic powers.
After remembering how Ciel became an earl but still decided to seek revenge for his parents' deaths, Sebastian's memories ends. Undertaker tries to finish Sebastian, but the ship starts sinking and the two Grim Reapers are rescued by William Spears, while Ryan Stoker dies. Undertaker splits the ship in a half freeing the zombies and is not seen again. Meanwhile, Sebastian takes Ciel to a boat and has to finish the zombies able to move underwater. After returning to England, Ciel and his friends celebrate Easter and the two butlers from Queen Victoria leave him an assignment to do. For this Ciel and Sebastian infiltrate in the British school Weston College to search for the Queen's relative Derek who has not been seen again alongside other students living in the same establishment.
Ciel investigates and concludes the principal of the school might have a clue on Derek's whereabouts. However, the principal only meets with the school's prefects forcing Ciel to win their favor. His attempts are sabotaged by Maurice Cole, a student jealous of Ciel's rising popularity. In retaliation, Ciel exposes Maurice's true personality and proves his innocence while winning the prefect's opinions at the same time. When Ciel brings up Derek's name into a conversation, the prefects are shocked.
The prefects quickly cover up their shock and reveal Derek changed dorms per the principal's orders. Ciel and Sebastian's investigation reveals other students changed dorms the same time as Derek and have all disappeared. An upcoming cricket tournament presents Ciel a chance to meet with the principal as the most impressionable player gets to have tea with him. Ciel's team wins the first match after Sebastian poisons the other team. For the second match, Ciel's strategy gives them the advantage. When the principal appears in the crowd, Sebastian chases after him.
082. "That Butler, Laughing Out Loud" (その執事、朗笑, "Sono Shitsuji, Rōshō")
Earl Ciel Phantomhive finally succeeds in earning an audience with the enigmatic headmaster of Weston College following the outcome of the annual cricket tourney. As moon-pale petals bloom on the lapels of the students who have been granted a place at the Midnight Tea Party, the man who holds all authority at the school reveals himself to his guests.
Their elaborate schoolroom deception at an end, Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his peerless manservant, Sebastian, finally hit upon the truth behind the incident of the vanished students at Weston College. Just what tragic steps did the elites of the school, spurred on by their overwhelming sense of justice, take to stamp out the bullying running rife in the halls of their institution?!
Gruesome and mysterious deaths are occurring on the continent. Along with the fear of contagion that permeates the air, there are also rumours of witches and wolfmen running amok. In accordance with the wishes of Queen Victoria, young Earl Ciel Phantomhive embarks on a jaunt to Germany with his elite butler, Sebastian, in tow. When Ciel's party heads right into the heart of a cursed forest where supernatural creatures are said to dwell, they run straight into a witch! In fact, several of them! And the village head is none other than a little girl who appears as though she's stepped out of a fairy tale?!
In the hinterlands of Germany, the servants of the Phantomhive house are at a loss when their master, Earl Ciel Phantomhive, is both physically and mentally debilitated by the curse of the Wolfman that roams the Werewolves' Forest. In the face of his master's pitiful new demeanour, consummate butler Sebastian, disillusioned, viciously takes Ciel to task, citing a breach of contract. As the Phantomhive household's crisis unfolds, the sulphurous miasma of the Werewolves' Forest encroaches ever more upon the village ruled by the Emerald Witch...
His matchless butler Sebastian having discovered the artifice of the curse that reigns over Wolfsschlucht, Earl Ciel Phantomhive absconds with the village's precious Emerald Witch and her ultimate spell. But his actions are most unwelcome, and the villagers bare their true fangs at house Phantomhive. As the precocious aristocrat of evil attempts to make his escape from the forest, a monster cloaked in olive drab trundles ever nearer, taking aim at the back of the fleeing earl...
Escaping the wolves in sheep's clothing of Wolfsschlucht, Earl Ciel Phantomhive, unstoppable butler Sebastian, and the rest of the Phantomhive household abscond with the Emerald Witch. They take refuge in the hideaway of an old family friend-Diedrich, the late Vincent Phantomhive's schoolmate and confidant. But as preparations are made for the passage home to England, word of the Undertaker and his odd behaviour hangs over the proceedings. What little memory could have tripped up the ever-jovial reaper, causing his chartreuse eyes to well with tears...?