on 13 November 2012
Others have pitched Black Butler so I'll crack on with the review.
While being dark at heart the show still has bags of humour. Most of the comic relief is provided by the servants Mey-Rin, Finney and Baldroy. Snapshots of the meals Sebastian provides his young master gives the show a surreal edge without making it as barmy as other anime series.
BB have several interesting themes: one is that know is who they appears, everyone has secrets, dark secrets. A recurring motif is chess. Ciel is playing a game and all of the characters are his pieces and he will sacrifice his pieces to win.
Ciel is a superb central character. Taciturn, vengeful and a burning simgle ambition. Unlike other revenge sagas however, Ciel has no interest in saving himself or gaining redemption or other cheesy American cliches. He wants to drag his enemies down to hell with him.
BB is a tradegy on a par with Macbeth. The bonus episode shows the Bard was a clear influence. The quality of the writing is staggering. You'd better brace yourself as the characters you come to know and love will be dragged down into the maelstrom of Ciel's obsession's.
Beyond the storytelling the animation and design is superb, the incidental music amazing and the dub is perfection.
This is what all television should aspire to. A powerful, captivating but also fun work of genius. If you only ever see one anime make it this one.
on 16 July 2014
I cannot phrase this highly enough. I was a bit nervous spending money on something I have no knowledge of but after reading about the series and reviews I gave it a change. It is just simply highly entertaining. I am over 40 and have been a bit put off a lot of films lately by the whole teenage twist on old tales to make them appealing..the watering down of the true darkness behind the vampire etc. When you start to watch this you will think it might be similar ...the humour is fantastic and keeps you smiling while you watch. Sebastian is perfect...he is tall..he is in control..he is invincible...he can do anything...he will seduce you with his voice, smile and perfect manners.....you are fooled into thinking he is a hero, he will save the day...and indeed he does...but every now and then he reminds you why. With a smile and a glint in his eye he explains he serves his master till the very end...and then he will DEVOUR his soul.....those 3 words are chilling and you are suddenly reminded of the true evil behind the perfection. Sebastian spares no one ..he kills with a smile and no remorse...of course..being who is he why should he care?.
When we watches people...he takes a few seconds to spot their weakness and as soon as he spots it...he smiles muttering one word "interesting"...that word seals your fate...he knows what to do to take you down and does not hesitate to do it. Even a reaper does not phase him...he finds everything human/mortal highly amusing and is constantly frustrated with the constant attraction to him from the fabulous pluto to evil yet hapless Grell and anyone inbetween.
The darkness of the story mixed with the humour is a good mix and the animation is beautiful. Some of the scenes are hauntly almost gothic like and others are just wacky cartoon.
Ceil has his own appeal with his story and he rules his empire with the mind of an adult and not the child he is....a reference to his lost childhood perhaps? He is almost as ruthless as his butler when dealing with enemies and not one to be crossed. He is so deadpan he is likeable..unlike his betrothed..the brat Elizabeth, her candy coated, smiling, girly goodness is scary in its own way.
Ceil is often caught, bound,beaten etc and he never breaks down..he just calmly tells his butler to stop messing about and help him, which then gets the evil smile as Sebastian knows he gets to kill, and the trail of bodies he leaves behind is often impressive.
So while you are laughing at the great jokes..smirking at the inuendos...wondering what a nose bleed means ( I do before anyone trys to explain it to me), never ever forget that Sebastian is pure unadulterated evil and enjoys it...he serves because of a contract no other reason..oh and of course his personal gain of a Soul. BB is funny, it is well drawn, it has a great story and is dark under it is...dark and scary with a smile. And remember " I am simply just one hell of a butler".
on 20 March 2013
I am already in the middle of the reading the books for this series. I actually picked up series 2 in a shop near to me, started to watch that, was enjoying so much, had to stop and go and get series 1. Some of the stories are familiar to the books, but there are some things different, you don't have to read the books to know what is going on. Also really enjoy the music for the titles, both begining and closing. The only part that is in Japanese is the opening title song, but even that has subtitles (in both languages) the main show is in English, so you don't have to worry about any translation issues. Throughly enjoying, can't wait to start series 2 again.
on 2 February 2015
From A1 Pictures and Squenix comes a 24 episode anime based on the popular manga. A young Victorian aristocrat makes a demonic pact to avenge his murdered parents, while also running Britain's underworld. Together, the earl Ciel Phantomhive and his 'One Hell of A Butler', Sebastian, battle everything from drug runners to serial killers to demon hounds to even other angels, ghosts and demons.
A glorious mess if there ever was one, this has to be one of the most fun yet unbalanced shows I've ever sat down for. On the definite up, the animation is rock solid and dynamic, the voice cast in either language is spot on, and the Victorian setting allows for a lot of weaving in of actual history and culture from the era (not limited to but including Jack The Ripper, Hound of the Baskervilles, The Opium Wars, the construction of Tower Bridge and the Eiffel Tower and even a really touching take on the story of the Princes in the Tower thankfully free of any revisionist history BS). What's more, despite the dark subject, the characters are by large really likeable and a lot of fun to be around, with special note going to the wonderfully charismatic yet dry Sebastian (who practically built this franchise), as well as the simply FABULOUS grim reaper and humourous fangirl insert Grell.
However, I did say the show was a mess: it's tonally all over the map, one minute dark psychological horror and revenge thriller with some pretty heavy emotions, the next, your prototypical slapstick wacky anime comedy complete with goofy servants (whose backstory and ultimate rational is kind of neat, but it comes really late) and stuff that feels like its proding at anime tropes and the fanbase (such as the infamous corset and nun scenes). To an extent, it does work and gets a chuckle, especially the latter, much more savvy gags. The issue is not being sure how much of this is intentional versus just plain tropes that are part and parcel of anime, but would feel jarring to Westerners more used to clean cut, cohesive entertainment. Furthermore, at 24 episodes, it's too damn long for this kind of vengeance story, and Ciel by and large isn't terribly proactive in finding his parents' killers despite the pact, with the whole 'Queen's Guard Dog'aspect being more the bread and butter of the show, and the two sides never fully reconcile save for a few choice moments and hints drops sprinkled very, and I mean even Abrams would blush VERY, liberally across the many episodes. From an entertainment angle it's fine, since I get to spend more time in this world, but to less generous viewers or those new to the weird world of anime, this could be a big deal breaker.
Despite that though, it still kept me really engaged, even the blatant filler-y episodes concerning life in the mansion (because that's what I want in a show about a badass demon butler who can kill with silverware and still be on time for tea!). Its odd mixture of themes and ideas, covered in a thick coating of professional polish, made for a show I was always keen to see the next installment of. Want to know how, say, Penny Dreadful would've been had it been a little more comical and trope-aware? Here's your answer!
on 14 June 2015
Black Butler is a series that tends to divide anime and manga fans. I personally love it, though as much as I'd like to recommend it to everyone, this is very much a series that you might like, or you might not.
You might enjoy this series if you like:
- Mystery, action-adventure, the supernatural, detailed and vivid art.
- A cast of zany characters. The main overarching plot is bitter young earl Ciel Phantomhive's quest to drag down those who brought him pain and humiliation, with the help of his charismatic and demonic butler Sebastian. Very serious... however, in the meantime they are kept company by Ciel's quirky and exuberant remaining family members, house staff, friends, associates and other interfering supernatural creatures. The cast all have 'out there' personalities and interesting designs.
- Humour from a variety of different sources. There are moments of comic seriousness from Ciel, some spectacular and ridiculous scenarios, stern characters stuck with silly characters, culture clash, irony and astonishing incompetence from the Phantomhive servants.
- A combination of darkness and lightness in tone.
This series might not be for you if you dislike:
- Stories where the protagonists are not heroic or 'good' role models.
- Humour which is based off clumsiness. The servants mentioned earlier could annoy some, as could certain other comic relief characters.
- Story arcs that might have little to do with the main plot.
- Scenes with violence and cruelty.
Rated: 15 years and up (contains violence, gore, one strong innuendo and a brief and non-explicit sexual scene). Episodes 8-17 are rated 12.
Features: 24 episodes and one bonus episode, both the original Japanese audio with subtitles and the English dub, commentaries on select episodes.
I think this series is excellent. Beautiful visuals, effective music, a gripping story and all scenes held my interest. I recommend this to fans of Tim Burton, Death Note, Soul Eater and anyone interested in Faustian stories.
on 4 January 2013
This is my favourite anime that i have seen so far. It is rated a 15 but I would reccomend it more like a 12. There are fantastic charators in the series like Sebastian. Although I do rather hate the charactor of Ciel.Phantomhive. In my opinion he is annoying and a pain in the neck but that does not take away the magic in this anime. The basic story is that Ciel forms a contract with a demon. Ciel names this demon Sebastian and allows him to be his butler and manage all his tasks. When all the tasks are done, Sebastian is allowed to eat Ciel's soul. -_- Grim. The ending however gave me shivers down my spine and formed tears in my eyes. T_T I do strongly reccomend this product for those people who like dark, gothic stories. :)
on 30 October 2014
I honestly don't get why people seem so enamoured of this series. This is probably the only Funimation dub I've bought that I've regretted. The concept sounded okay but in practice, all you really get is a bunch of standalone episodes with barely passable storylines. A lot of them were just bizarre and left me wondering what the hell was going on, as if I were stranded in a some sort of alternative cartoon Downton Abbey.
Some shows work mixing comedy and drama - just look at Trigun. This isn't one of them. When it should have been concentrating on the pact between demon and master, it was instead offering up weird, supposed comic moments. I just didn't get it. I struggled through the first half dozen episodes and put this one on the back-burner for quite a long time because it wasn't gripping me at all. Good anime makes me want to put on the next episode right away. This series doesn't do that.
Finally got around to finishing it and suffice to say, I won't be buying the second series.
The voice acting is a mixed bag as well. J. Michael Tatum can do no wrong in my book; the guy's brilliant. His English accent is great, which is more than can be said for his co-stars. Whenever the other servants come on screen, my face pre-loads this solemn wince. I got a mirror - its actually something to behold. I usually like Monica Rial too but she shrieks her way through her part like she's being paid for every shred of sanity she tears loose from my skull.
In conclusion, I can't understand this show at all. Maybe the second season is better but I'm not taking the risk.
on 11 May 2015
I havn't actually watched this, it was purchased for my 16 year old daughter (though I will watch it at some point as it sounds quite good). It kept her locked away in her room for about 1 week solid, which in my book is well worth every penny of nearly £20! I'm fairly certain that I saw the hint of a smile as I handed it over too, though that may be my fanciful imagination! All in all an awesome result for so little cost & I shall certainly invest in series 2 in time for the next school holidays! Where else, I ask you, can you get that sort of return for £20??? :o)
on 20 May 2014
This series is one of a kind, no other anime could fill the slot of black butler. This dark anime has so many unique features. The storyline is brilliant, unfortunately I cant go into too much details as i dont want to spoil it. basically a young boy makes a contract with a demon, this contract means that he will eventually have his soul devoured. so much happens in this anime and a lot of shocking scenes. if you want an anime that will keep you begging for more, this is it. what are you waiting for? watch it
on 11 June 2014
If you love Black Butler, then obviously you'll love this. If you don't know what Black Butler is, you're missing out, and I suggest you get this dvd Thats an order :P