12 of 12 episodes seen
Sebastian's intentions are revealed fairly quickly: He has come to retrieve the Phantomhive family ring, and uses it to revive Ciel's lifeless body. At this point, the viewer does not know why the ring can be used to resurrect him, why he wants to resurrect him rather than eat his soul, or what has happened between the first season's finale and this episode, but it will be revealed in time.
Sebastian and Ciel return to the Phantomhive mansion, and their life mostly carries on as it did before – until Ciel learns of another family that serves the queen much like his own, the Trancys. The season primarily revolves around the connection, the parallels, and the animosity between Ciel and Alois.
I found the second season to be considerably darker than the first, and I should warn that it also contains some themes that might be difficult to stomach. Unlike in the first season, this season contains a fair amount of pedophilia that is not only suggested or made reference to, but actually shown. In a flashback, a young boy is forced to have sex with an old man, and while the act itself isn't shown, enough is that it is pretty uncomfortable. An adult male character has frequent suggestive thoughts about Ciel and eventually makes advances on him. Also, it's quite evident from the beginning that Alois is in love with Claude. Just a heads up.
Characters (9/10): The characters introduced in the first season did not change significantly in this season, and since I've already written a review for season one, I'll only write about the new characters (although all characters were considered in the rating). I kind of despised Alois at first, and if you decide to watch it, it won't take you long to understand why. He is a very cruel character with an extreme personality and mood disorder. He goes from very cheerful and upbeat to sad or angry in a split second. He is often extremely violent towards his servants - particularly his maid, Hannah.
However, when his complete backstory is finally unveiled, his actions are easily understandable, even if still completely unacceptable. I found myself feeling sad for him, in the end. For the most part, he's not a likable character, but he is a good character because he's unpredictable. He is always intriguing and usually enjoyable to watch. His backstory, while very similar to Ciel's in some ways, may actually be more disturbing and dramatic than Ciel's. Likewise, I didn't particularly like his butler, Claude, but he has a critical role in the story and I really wouldn't change a thing about him. After all, some characters, you just aren't meant to like.
Music (10/10): Although the music that I loved most from the first season was left out of this one, it is still quite beautiful and very suitable for the series. The soundtrack fits the atmosphere of Kuroshitsuji perfectly. I didn't love the OP or ED songs, but I also didn't dislike them. I generally don't have a strong opinion either way on OP and ED songs, though, since they usually don't fit my taste in music, so it's difficult for me to judge that accurately.
Art/Animation (9/10): The quality of animation has not changed from the last season to this one. I'm repeating myself a bit from my review on the first season, but I love symbolism, and it is used very liberally throughout the entire season. Most notably, spiders and spiderwebs are frequently used to represent Alois and/or Claude, while roses or rose symbols were used to represent a contract made between Sebastian and Claude. One of the most interesting ways I recall noticing this implemented was in the trees during Alois' first meeting with Claude. From a low angle, the dead tree branches in a forest form the shape of spiders and webs; I thought it was pretty clever. As with the first season, I felt that their usage of colors was expertly done – dark, mute colors provide the general ambiance, making particularly bright colors seem striking in many of the key scenes. The artwork and colors used always fit the scene perfectly.
Final Thoughts: Some people have apparently found the ending confusing, or have otherwise disliked how it ended. I disagree. It doesn't have a happy ending, but really, how could you expect one from a series like this? It also doesn't end on a similar note as the first one, but I was actually glad about that. We've already seen that ending – why see it again? One reviewer suggested that we view this season as a sort of "alternate ending," and I think that's a fair way of looking at it. Although the storyline is continuous from the last season to this one, the occurrences of season two provide the opportunity for a very different ending. It's also quite unpredictable; you probably won't see it coming.
As a whole, I really enjoyed this series, and for once, I actually wish there was more to watch. However, the pacing was much better than it was in the first season, and I felt that it ended no sooner nor later than it should have. It's dark, and some scenes are not the easiest to watch. As I mentioned, the pedophilia is kind of heavy in this season, even when it isn't overt. The recurring monologues and discussions between the demons about the devouring of souls often seem sexualized, and there is quite a bit of sensuality in the relationship between the boys and their demon servants that was not present nearly as much (if at all, depending on your perspective) in the first season. That said, I have to point out that it really doesn't seem out of place in a story as twisted as this one.
The story and the characters are fascinating from beginning to end, and the artwork, animation, and music come together perfectly for an optimal viewing experience. I already know that this is a series that I'll be coming back to again, someday. Both seasons are worthy of repeated viewings. read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
I'm not always attracted to dark stories - in fact usually I steer clear of anything that seems too depressing - but Kuroshitsuji does it so well that I can't help but enjoy it. What keeps it from being too heavy-handed is that the main character doesn't really seem to wallow or indulge in self-pity. He addresses everything in a very direct, almost abrupt, manner, and he takes responsibility for his actions. Also, there's a sardonic humor that is often demonstrated by both Ciel and Sebastian about their whole ordeal that makes it seem almost darkly humorous, rather than merely tragic.
This part of the review may be a bit vague, but I don't want to spoil anything for those who have not yet seen the show.
Characters (8/10): The characters as a whole are interesting and enjoyable to watch. The supporting characters, such as Ciel's staff and the grim reapers, tend to be ridiculously silly most of the time, although this does provide the needed comic relief. All of them have a backstory, although some are more fleshed out than others – and none of them are explored as in depth as they could have been. One could accuse Sebastian of being a "Gary Stue," but his ability to do things perfectly is explained by his demonic powers and is usually presented in a humorous manner.
To me, the most intriguing character is Ciel, because he is undoubtedly the most complex. He is usually very somber and cyncial, and has a somewhat dry and twisted sense of humor. He presents himself as being very mature and adult-like, but underneath the cold exterior, it is easy to see that he is often scared and not as sure of himself as he'd like others to think. Ciel isn't always the most likable character, but to me, he is always interesting.
Music (10/10): The soundtrack is gorgeous, and perfectly suited to this series – certainly one of its strongest assets (which is unsurprising, considering the composer is Yuki Kajiura). It provides much of the dark and moody ambiance that is so characteristic of Kuroshitsuji. I particularly love the orchestral and choral tracks. "Si deus me relinquit" and "The Dark Crow Smiles" are a couple of my favorites. The OP song is okay, but nothing spectacular. The first ED song is cute, as is the animation that accompanies it, but it doesn't necessarily fit the mood of the series. The second ED song, however, is perfect; the animation is also somber and beautiful, and it alludes to the end of the anime series.
Art/Animation (9/10): The character designs are striking, the background artwork is beautifully detailed, and the animation is consistently above average. What struck me the most about the visual aspect of this show, however, is the choice of colors. In most of the scenes, the colors are rather mute and subdued, which seems appropriate for an anime that takes place in Victorian England. However, this makes it more noticeable when more vivid colors are used, and they are often used to accentuate the emotional quality of the scene. For example, the color red against dull grays and whites in the funeral in episode 6, or the bright, warm colors of the flowers and fire against the dark background in Lau's flashbacks in episode 20. I also enjoyed the symbolic artwork that is occasionally used, such as Ciel sitting on a throne, his "pawns" (bodies) scattered below; the chess board and pieces; or the poppies and butterflies in Lau's memories.
Final Thoughts: I would have rated Kuroshitsuji a 10 had it not been for some unfortunate sloppiness in the storyline and leaving too many things open-ended. Too much time is spent on filler that could be used for character development. It would have perhaps done better with half the number of episodes.
Nevertheless, this is a high quality series. It does apparently deviate from the manga quite a bit, but as I did not read the manga before watching the anime, this was not an issue for me. As with anything, not every anime fan will enjoy this - it does cater to a certain audience. If you like dark supernatural themes, EGL fashion, and/or Victorian-era England, you'll probably love Kuroshitsuji - as long as you don't take it too seriously or expect it to be historically accurate. Despite it's darkness, it's a fun series, and it should be taken as such. :) read more