So, Kuroshitsuji is an anime that is labelled “shounen” but I don’t really know why - it’s filled with bishounens, pretty clothes and the fancy Victorian age backdrop with massive shounen ai and shota undertones. Oh, and the obvious gay shinigami who keeps trying to kiss the butler.
The story starts off with an eerie atmosphere, showing a 10 year old child who exchanges his soul for a demon butler to help exact his revenge against the people who killed his parents and humiliated him. Two-three years later they are still together; Ciel Phantomhive the 12 (later 13) year old Earl also the head of
his house and company and Sebastian Michaelis, the demon butler who could do anything and together working for the Queen to solve mysteries and at the same time learning about Ciel’s past.
It would have been a great story. If not for the amount of filler episodes that had been injected in due to the lack of material that had come out from the manga and the confusion in later episodes that still left me with many, many questions.
The first and second episodes were indeed spectacular. Instantly there is a dark and mysterious aura and it is well maintained throughout the entire series (except for the idiotic moments with the less than lovable extra staff at the Phantomhive household). Even up to episode 6 it was still good. However, after that it just started to get a little tiring with all the missions they have to carry out. Boring in fact. The second half of the series was entirely all filler; filler that wasn’t even interesting and to put it plainly – all over the place.
As mentioned before, the anime does not follow the manga series exactly but the first half of the series does to an extent. The second half was written exclusively for the anime. Now this is where it goes horribly wrong. Most of the second half’s story made absolutely NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Take Sebastian’s sudden disappearance for example. For someone who has made an unbreakable contract and who has already done about two years work for Ciel it was a unrealistic that he would leave Ciel. Moreover it was uncharacteristic of him. His personality wouldn’t allow him to do such an act, even if it were to benefit Ciel in the end. Plot twists came from nowhere, justifications and character motivations did not add up and I would end up sitting there by the end of the episode wondering what on earth has just happened. Poor writing plagued the last three-quarters of the series, which is a real shame, considering how much I enjoyed the first six episodes.
When I first heard Sebastian’s and Ciel’s names I laughed. ‘Sebastian’ as the butler’s name, that was so cliché and Ciel ‘Phantomhive’ - now that didn’t sound conspicuous at all did it? Well it certainly did humour me with these obvious names, but the characters themselves aren’t ones that you can laugh at. Sebastian is seriously one badass butler, the anti hero of our story; he can do anything and I mean ANYTHING. After he SEDUCES A NUN to get information he certainly got my respect - the thought of him using such tactics was almost unthinkable (considering all the "sexual tension" between him and his master). And Ciel… well he is bratty. And he certainly does talk a lot of bull when it comes to why he is doing all this and such. What I liked about him though was how the producers practically used him as a doll to model fashion wear of the 19th century.
But these factors do not save them from being two dimensional characters. Sebastian can be thought as the anime parallel of Edward Cullen. Essentially a ‘perfect’ being with zero flaws, devilishly good looks (no pun intended) and abilities to do the impossible he contains no realism in him, more like a fantasy or ideal of ‘the perfect man’. But unlike the Twilight character mentioned there is an almost witty aspect to the butler, as each episode displays his tendency to be mischievous. In all honesty, though he is not much of a character for BEING the main character, he was still quite the fun person to watch as a viewer. Sadly, I cannot say the same for Ciel. As far as I’m concern, he was there for the fanservice – from cross-dressing to wearing scantily clad clothes for a teenage English boy – mass producing shota fans as we speak. His reason for working for the Queen is neither explained nor in line with his prideful personality and his burning desire for revenge towards the people who ‘humiliated’ him is not emphasized or profound enough to take him seriously that he is truly a bitter, angry boy.
The OP and ED were very well done, both musically and animated-wise. Most anime usually does this thing where in the middle of the series they change the opening song and have a whole new animation to it. With Kuroshitsuji they keep the same song but switch around the verses used but have a whole new animation to it. The first ED uses an American song "I'm Alive" by Becca which would catch some off guard. The rock/pop song contrasts greatly with all the other themes uses but is a song that can be easily sung along to. It also is one of the most amusing endings ever with the animation that employs a chibi-styled art showing the day to day activities of Sebastian as a butler. The second ED song is a lot more melancholic to fit the serious second half of the story. The background music is smoothly done and go fittingly well with the scene at hand. As an anime set in the high class 1800s, the production company rightfully uses dark gospel choruses to jazzy themes.
Art and animation was very beautiful and fluid. Grand manors and clothing were all intricately designed and even in the few action scenes A-1 Pictures still had animation kept up – never letting choppy animation to ruin the flow. Everything is very gothic usually with night-settings, religion being brought in and of course, the clothes. Although Ciel did look very adorable in his attire, I felt like the clothes he was wearing were almost asking for him to be molested, which just made the paedophilia and gay overtones a lot more strong.
The most enjoyable part of this anime was the London/Victorian age setting. I was actually quite impressed with how well they displayed and used London and its history, like how they made Bethnal Green the base where all the drug dealers were from or the fact that there used to be fairs on the Thames during the winter when the water turned to ice. The producers did use the London card to the max - playing with different versions of “London Bridge”, using the Jack the Ripper character and displaying the fashion of the time. And of course since it’s set in England there is some engrish, but the best one is Sebastian’s “Yes, My Lord” - makes me smile every time. The setting practically made this anime; I mean if you replaced the setting to a modern time, different place this anime would have immediately failed.
Although I wouldn’t necessarily say it put the ‘shit’ in ‘Kuroshitsuji’ neither would I say this is a spectacular watch. This series was just ‘okay’ to me, it wasn’t particularly special and it’s quite tedious. I have had many unanswered questions formed in my mind and quite a few qualms about it. For those of you who actually read manga I suggest doing so first or instead of watching this since it just contains the main story and does not sell itself short with fan-pandering nonsense.
Will I be watching the second series? Well, yes for numerous reasons. I liked the manga enough to want to see it animated. I want to see if my questions will finally be answered. And most of all I want to find out WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED after the end of the last episode.
Holy flippin' A!!! Where to even begin with this anime?! There is so much here that I look for in an anime; I even added it to my favorites list before I was even done watching. It's got beautiful and THICK plot, hidden meanings, a GORGEOUS musical score, wonderful and zany characters, and enough emotional hitting power to make me keep a tissue box handy for those sad and happy tears. This would be my first review to be an absolute 10 in score if there weren't just a few unanswered questions and assumed understanding after everything was said and done. Even with
those there, though, this anime is one of the best things I've seen in a while, even better than Hikaru no Go which had be so wrapped up spring break. I'm sad to see it end 'cause I want more of this world, but, on the other hand, I'm glad it's got a definitive ending and isn't really leaving us cliff-hanging.
STORY - 9
The story of this show is something else. There's just so much depth, and it's so cerebral. I'll definitely have to do some re-watching to get all the little nuances and plot points down. I wouldn't recommend this show if you're just looking for some simple anime that would kill an afternoon. This is a thinking anime that touches on a ton of dark and deep issues. You'll also need to be paying close attention to all the plot twists! These little suckers come out of NOWHERE and twist the story into a completely different direction that one would expect. I was left gasping like fish more than once here. For me, that's one of the best aspects of this story is those little plot twists. I never know what I'm going to see when watching something like this. Now that I've mentioned the good, let's talk about why I couldn't give this aspect a perfect 10. After watching the ending, I was left with some unanswered questions regarding some of the details here. While these details didn't sour the complete story for me (hence the 9), they might sour it for someone else. One detail that they didn't address did leave me a bit peeved, but my mind made a connection with another story aspect that I could guess was the answer. If everything had been addressed here, this would have been a DEFINITE perfect 10.
ART - 10
A simple word here. BEAUTIFUL!!!! The animation flows so gorgeously in this anime. From the fight scenes to humorous antics to zany parties to heart-wrenching death scenes, absolutely everything here is flows so smoothly and sweetly. An aspect I noticed a lot in this anime was lighting. I don't see that a lot in anime and found it very appropriate for this title. If the characters were experiencing a dark and horrific scene, shadows and reds played big parts. If they were experiencing light-hearted birthday parties or servant antics, colors were bright, vibrant, and day-filled. Besides just the lighting, the art conveyed the atmosphere so much. It almost seemed to reflect character emotions and fates/destinies as well as set the mood for the anime. You will not be disappointed here! Just a slight warning, though, this anime doesn't shirk from blood. Not that it's gratuitous, every scene with it almost requires it and the blood adds to the atmosphere. But do be warned; I wouldn't let kids watch this.
SOUND - 10
This is the crowning glory in my opinion. Every single piece of music adds to the atmosphere of this anime and leaves a person breathless. It's so haunting...... It's full of fast consistent beats for the fighting, chants and drones for the dark, plot-filled moments, sad female-filled melodies for the gut-wrenchingly sad parts, and a soft operatic finish for the final anime finale. There was use throughout the anime of a really fast beat chanting/droning thing used towards some combat and many plot-revealing scenes that I found particularly innovative and unusual. It added something really unique to an already beautiful track of music. The opening and ending themes fit the anime to a tee; the 2nd ending, Lacrimosa by Kalafina, especially fits the ominous ending the anime is barreling towards when this ending comes in. It's haunting, lyrical, and so emotion-filled. Just beautiful!! Besides the glorious musical score, this anime exhibits very good character voices. I especially loved Sebastian's dark and low voice. I could imagine my demon butler having that voice. *shiver* I can't think of any misplaced vocals at all. Everyone was distinct and complete unto themselves.
CHARACTERS - 9
There were so many hidden depths to most of these characters that absolutely no one seems two-dimensional. Everyone is fleshed out to some degree with emotional back stories and plot twists. Oh the plot twists!! There were a lot where it came to character development. I only wish that there had been equal attention to all characters. For some of them, the viewers were left wishing fervently for more. I personally wished the back stories of the servants at Phantomhive were fleshed out more. We are given some back hints in a few episodes and one episode almost completely devoted to the four of them, but not really a lot and I was curious! Oh well. The gradual building of Ciel's character and his relationship with Sebastian is more than enough to make up for it. There were some characters who I thought I had pegged when something radical happens and their intents and motivations turn in a completely different direction. Again, oh those plot twists!! Gotta love 'em!!
ENJOYMENT - 10
I thoroughly enjoyed this title, unanswered questions and all. My mind can find connections between points where there may be no connection and so I can answer those questions in my own little mind. It was a beautiful and haunting ride that took me on an emotional rollercoaster and through a thorough mind-wringing. There was so much content here, from plot to wacky humor. I loved every bit of it. And the music!! Ack!! I'm going to be haunting ebay and the net in general looking for this OST ASAP!!
OVERALL - 10
I think I pretty much summed it up in the enjoyment section. Everything just came together beautifully and created an anime that has made it to my favorites and re-watchable list. I absolutely adore it and wish there was more!!
As of late, Kuroshitsuji is essentially the poster-boy for thinly-veiled fangirl bait. Kuroshitsuji (or Black Butler, whatever floats your boat) has tons of yaoi tropes, and has the word bishie plastered all over it, so you may think that being somebody who does not like these things, that I hate it because of that. So let's make this clear now: No. That has nothing to do with it. There are plenty of legitimate reasons not to like Kuroshitsuji besides that, so before you reach for the Not Helpful button, please think for a second: are you doing that because my review is badly written, or
just because you don't agree with my score? So, at the very least, just read the rest of the review first, OK?
With that sadly necessary disclaimer out of the way, let's discuss Kuroshitsuji. Kuroshitsuji is the story of a boy named Ciel Phantomhive, and his butler, Sebastian Michaelis. Ciel is the head of a toy company, and is also in the employment of the Queen, who enlists him to deal with various mysteries. Why this is the case isn't really explained, but nonetheless, most of the episodes play out as a Sherlock Holmes style detective series with him solving various supernatural mysteries.
Of course, Ciel is no ordinary boy... he has a contract with his butler for his soul. As you probably already knew, Sebastian is a demon of sorts. He is nigh invulnerable to everything, has amazing skill in pretty much every field, and is basically perfect in every way.
This, however, is the first problem with the series... Sebastian is a massive Gary Stu. He's simply too perfect. Not once do you feel for him as a character. He is completely overpowered, and is essentially an end all, fix all solution to more or less every single problem the series can throw at any of its characters.
Sadly, the rest of the cast isn't much better. Ciel Phantomhive is probably the most likeable character in the show, being something of a snarky, deadpan character with a chip on his shoulder the size of Africa. But he has his idiosyncrasies as well... most of which simply come down to him being a complete jerk to everyone. Ciel is generally single-minded, only caring about whatever mission the Queen has given him, or getting revenge on those who ruined his life. The reaper, Grell Sutcliffe, had potential to be a loveable psychopath in the vein of Ladd Russo or any given Hellsing villain, but they eschew the chainsaw wielding, slasher smile route laid out in front of them in favour of making him incredibly, incredibly gay, as though they were trying to make a psychotic badass Leeron. But unlike the aforementioned Gurren Lagann character, they don't manage to make him nearly entertaining or tongue-in-cheek enough... to be perfectly honest, Grell is just plain offensive.
Another problem with Kuroshitsuji is that it can't seem to decide what it wants to be. For half the series, it goes down the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes route, painting a great depiction of 1888 London, rolling through themes like Jack The Ripper and Scotland Yard, but for the other half it tries to blend a Tim Burton-esque supernatural demon theme to the mix, and the tone of the series becomes very inconsistent as a result. Both styles are well-executed, but they conflict with each other. If they had been more consistent, Kuroshitsuji would have been better as a result. The character designs also mirror this quite heavily; While we often get a good, 1800s design like Sebastian, we also get overblown, colourful and vibrant designs like those of Grell or the Undertaker that creates a very poor contrast.
Also, there's something that can occasionally be very jarring, and that would be the anachronisms. Despite the show being set in 1888, you will frequently see things that are very out of place in this time period, like advanced modern handguns, sophisticated chainsaws, and film. While all of these things did exist in some form at this point, none of them do in the form they are shown in. And even more jarring is that most of these are applied to the Reapers, ancient beings that would not realistically incorporate these sorts of things into their supernatural array of weapons.
And on that note, one of the things that annoys me most about Kuroshitsuji is that the demon lore is left completely unexplained, as though they were some sort of afterthought. The reapers hate demons, but why? It's never given any real mention. There are also Angels, only one of which we ever see, whose purpose and role in the demon lore is never even touched upon, let alone their motives. I think Kuroshitsuji would have actually been better if they had completely left out the angel/demon/reaper aspects of the show and solely focused on the detective angle instead.
The only aspect wherein Kuroshitsuji really shines is the production job. The animation is fluid, and the art style is thoroughly polished, using a blend of dark, rich tones. The 1800s environment is one of the strong points of the series, which makes it all the more of a shame that they so often opt for the Burton-shtick instead. The soundtrack is also very strong, featuring a variety of music fitted to the period, most notably the smooth jazz.
Now, before this reads like an invitation for all the yaoi fangirls to break down my door, let me just clarify this by saying that Kuroshitsuji is not bad. What it is is average. Ordinary. Run of the mill. The only exceptional thing about it being the insane level of fan-pandering it stoops to.
However, there is still one serious problem with Kuroshitsuji not accounted for... the ending. The last few episodes are an evermounting pile of contrived nonsense. Things happen, but no explanation as for why or how is ever really given. No character's motivations ever make sense. Plot twists come from absolutely nowhere with no foreshadowing or real explanation. It rivals Soul Eater in terms of ridiculous bullshit endings, but at least Soul Eater didn't leave us on an incredibly dodgy cliffhanger that leads to a second season of pure filler.
Final Words: It had potential, but it ignored it so it could pander to fans.
When it comes down to programmes that I enjoy but have a hard time defending, few can come anywhere close to the position that Kuroshitsuji has on my list. There really is a lot that I enjoy about the programme, but there's also a good deal of stuff about it that just gets under my skin. Considering the fact that this is a show that receives no shortage of praise and criticism, I feel that someone should try and give a semi-impartial review of the series and explain why they like it in the first place. With that said, let's get on with it.
reason as to why I enjoy Kuroshitsuji is the fact that it's a supernatural mystery drama. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a supernatural programme that isn't action-oriented or comedy-centric? I've also got a soft spot for mystery drama and I also love the time period that the story takes place in. I've always had a thing for history and the rampant hypocrisy that went on during the Victorian period never ceases to capture my fancy. Furthermore, it's actually quite capable of keeping me hooked when it's giving me some involving plot. Of course, you can't really tell that it's a supernatural mystery drama that does all this stuff at first glance.
The most glaring problem that Kuroshitsuji has by far is the fact that A-1 Pictures does not know how to employ levity properly, which is most prevalent in the first 15 episodes. Furthermore, it opts for the worst kind of levity possible: chibi-style visual gags like the kind that Ultimate Spider-Man and Teen Titans use. Of course, I'd say that it's closer to Ultimate Spider-Man, given that all the levity ends up making it difficult to take the story seriously in the first place. Some people like to attribute this to the source material, but the manga itself is quite tame when referring to its usage of levity, but A-1 Pictures in their infinite wisdom decided to ruin a good thing. I understand that Kuroshitsuji is a shonen series by the end of it all, but is dark humour too sophisticated for a shonen audience? Come on...
While we're on the subject, the second biggest problem that Kuroshitsuji has is the yaoi/shota subtext. Even though Yana Toboso has written several yaoi mangas prior to writing Kuroshitsuji and that fact does reflect itself to a certain degree in the manga, any sort of yaoi/shota elements present in the source material were always intended to be used in a comedic context and weren't meant to be taken seriously in the slightest. Yes, you also have some official artwork of Ciel, Sebastian, et al but that shit don't contribute to the story so I ignore it! Unfortunately, A-1 Pictures in their infinite wisdom saw that there were a lot of Kuro fans who were into that shit and decided to dial up the yaoi/shota subtext between Ciel and Sebastian to an uncomfortably disturbing degree (it got to a point where I genuinely contemplated dropping the show).
Contrary to popular belief, Kuroshitsuji has a sizeable portion of its fanbase that *ISN'T* into slash in the slightest. I am a heterosexual male who absolutely despises paedophilia but I also happen to be an avid fan of the manga. Whilst the yaoi/shota moments that are present in the manga end up making me face-palm, they're short enough to the point where I can just look past them and pretend that it never happened. That's not the case at all when it comes down to the adaptation, since it felt like A-1 Pictures was playing this shit straight rather than for laughs. If I were to take a shot for every time there was a *serious* moment between Ciel and Sebastian which felt like A-1 Pictures was catering to the SebaCiel shippers, I'd probably succumb to cirrhosis. Okay, that's hyperbole but it's still a major problem that remains throughout the run of the programme.
Now, another problem that Kuroshitsuji has when it comes down to the execution is the fact that it... gets... BORING. Seriously, this is supposed to be a supernatural mystery drama about a 13-year-old boy exacting revenge against those who've wronged him whilst losing everything precious to him in the process, right? Well, the first four episodes don't really paint this show to be like such. Instead, they just make this programme feel more like a slice-of-life comedy taking place in Victorian England. Okay, Episode 2 - "His Butler, Strongest" is kind of an exception but the point still stands. These episodes aren't bad by any means, but they certainly did get tedious for me. I just come into this show expecting serious plot, and I end up getting flawed storytelling. Well, it does get better but with a caveat attached to it.
Unlike other popular shonen mangas such as One Piece which are published on a weekly basis, Kuroshitsuji is a monthly publication. As such, there was a limited amount of material to work with for the adaptation. Instead of giving this show a 1-cour run like it probably should've had from the get-go, A-1 Pictures decided to just fork the adaptation off from the source material after Episode 15 and then end on a completely different note. With that said, it should be noted that A-1 Pictures wasn't exactly the most faithful to the source material until that point and that there were many alterations present in what they did adapt.
On the plus side, the final nine episodes were where the show actually took itself seriously whilst dropping most of the shenanigans. Furthermore, the ideas and whatnot that they actually brought up were fairly interesting to say the least. Also, I have to give A-1 Pictures props for at least having the decency to end the show before it got too unnecessarily convoluted. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a show that has a solid conclusion rather than a show that spends week after week in a filler arc until it can resume adapting chapters. On the subject of the ending, it certainly wasn't a grand finale but at least I can safely say that it ended... you know, until Kuroshitsuji II came into the picture and shit all over that (among other things).
Of course, if you think these episodes don't make any sense or suffer from some rather noticeable writing problems, I don't blame you. The biggest problem that these episodes have is the fact that they try to accomplish far too much in the time that it was given (in other words, they're pretty damn rushed). I mean, I wouldn't mind it if A-1 Pictures at least extended the runtime of this anime-original second half to 15-18 episodes so that things could run at a coherent pace, but I guess it's too late to change that now. Hindsight's a bitch, ain't it? Sure, the damage was done by the time that this show started taking itself seriously but hey! At least it got its shit together!
From a characterisation standpoint, Kuroshitsuji is rather flawed. Whilst the manga has been publishing for roughly eight years and has 100+ chapters as of 25/12/14, the anime came out in 2008 when there were only 24-25 chapters available to adapt at that point in time. As such, Ciel and Sebastian (among others) remain the same throughout the bulk of the programme's run. This is quite unfortunate, as I quite like Ciel as a character and the manga does bring up some rather interesting questions about him. Here, he's more or less a generic broody protagonist who needs to stop trying so hard to be like Bruce Wayne but with an eye patch.
Despite my numerous complaints with Ciel's characterisation, I have almost no complaints about our butler to the core, Sebas-chan. Simply put, I absolutely adore Sebastian and I'll admit to having fangirled over him more than once (seriously though, who hasn't?!). I can't bring myself to hate him since he's got a charm similar to Alucard from Hellsing (in the sense that they're both badass servant characters). A lot of people like to give Sebas-chan crap since he's damn near infallible, but you know what? I don't really care. He's a DAEMON butler. He's not bound to the same rules that govern humanity, and it's not like he's without personality either. I just can't get enough of his quips and his snark. Plus, there's always something hypnotising about watching a butler killing goons with silverware whilst complaining that dinner will be late if he doesn't hurry up. Really, my only complaint is the fact that he remains static throughout the run of the programme but then again... he's kinda like that in the manga too.
As for the side characters like the other Phantomhive servants, Lizzie, Madame Red, Lau, Ran-Mao, and the like... they don't really get a lot of screen time outside of being comedic relief. Well, some characters like Madame Red and Lau end up getting their roles expanded as the series progresses but the fact that they were comedic relief for the bulk of their appearances kinda made it hard to take them seriously once their time to shine in the sun came. It really is a shame that A-1 Pictures didn't allow for more time to pass before adapting Kuroshitsuji because characters like Mey-Rin, Finni, Bard, Tanaka, and Lizzie actually ended up becoming favourites of mine later on in the manga's run. Well... I guess that doesn't stop Mey-Rin and Finni from being so adorable that it hurts, but I digress.
When you get right down to it, A-1 Pictures might not be the best when it comes down to telling a story or giving us some good characters. But there's one area that they never cease to impress me with, and that's with their visual department. As much as I despise some of their OTHER works (*cough* Sword Art Online *cough*), there's no denying that each time A-1 Pictures works on a show, the visuals will be much better than what they previously worked on. That's seriously saying something, because the visuals here in the first season of Black Butler (which came out in 2008 no less) are absolutely gorgeous.
What I really love about the art direction is the large amount of detail put into the backgrounds along with the colour palette. Unfortunately, the art direction and the animation don't really come into full bloom until Episode 16-onward when the show begins to take itself seriously. Everything before then is still really awesome stuff to look at, but the art/animation really shine whenever this show is taking itself seriously and is trying to feed us some involving plot. That really doesn't happen all that often in the first 15 episodes. With that said, the art/animation also shines whenever it drops the super serious, high-detailed stuff and goes into the less-detailed, comedy sketch stuff in a vein similar to Teen Titans. Whilst I'm not particularly fond of the comedic relief used in this show, at least I can say that the visual gags are well-animated and pretty to look at.
As for the animation on its own, well it's solid stuff. A good deal of the animation is limited to stills and talking heads but worry not for this is a drama show with some action thrown into the mix! The action sequences in this show are roughly similar to that of Wolf's Rain and Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): a lot of stuff happening in the foreground, not that much going on in the background. In fact, the high point of the action sequences are mostly going to be Sebastian stopping bullets before they leave the pistol along with Sebastian throwing silverware at random goons in the most epic ways possible. Of course, that's only fitting since Sebas-chan is one hell of a butler.
Another thing to note about the art/animation are the OP/EDs. You know how half-way through the season, the OP/ED change for no apparent reason in some shows, with new animation and a new song? Well the OP's animation changes at Episode 16, but they just use the second half of the OP song. Now, this isn't the first time I've seen an anime use the second half of a song for the OP (Trinity Blood did something similar), but this is the first time I've seen an anime use new animation for the second half of the song. It's the little things like this that make me smile. The 1st ED is shows a regular day in the life of Sebastian in chibi form while the 2nd ED is mostly stills of Ciel and Sebastian set over a more sombre tune. I'm more fond of the 1st ED, but the 2nd ED actually fits the show becoming more serious toward the end of its run and the song doesn't conflict horribly with any dramatic moments! I give props for that.
Art/animation ain't the only thing that Kuroshitsuji has down because the OST for Black Butler across both seasons and Book of Circus is some downright amazing stuff. It fits in amazingly well with the time period that this show takes place in, with most of the BGM being stuff like slow jazz tracks and baroque violin/cello stuff you'd hear at a ballroom. What's more interesting is the fact that there's also quite a few super serious/ominous tracks that would play whenever Ciel and Sebastian are having a moment, my personal favourite being "Si Deus Me Relinquit" (Latin for "If God Has Forsaken Me"). I'd like to explain what it sounds like, but you should do yourself a favour and listen to it. The OP track, "Monochrome Kiss" by SID along with both ED tracks are highly addictive to listen to as well. Fun fact: the first ED track, "I'm Alive" by Becca is actually an American rock song, if I'm not mistaken.
As for the English dub, well... I've got rather mixed feelings about it. You see, unlike the Hellsing/Hellsing Ultimate dubs where actual people of British descent were hired to do the voice acting... the dub just uses American actors like Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum, Monica Rial, etc. and has them do their own take on a British accent. Now, Brina Palencia and J. Michael Tatum as Ciel and Sebastian respectively do an excellent job with the roles they've been given. You can still tell that they're faking an accent, but at least they're trying. Everyone else... not so much. The biggest problem I have with the dub is that some characters just speak normally but with the accent and others like the Phantomhive servants have Cockney accents which I find rather irritating. Monica Rial's work as Mey-Rin especially irritates me, but the Japanese VA is like that in the original I can't hold TOO much against her.
Another thing that I take umbrage with is the fact that there are two... Indian characters in the show, and yet they're not voiced by amateur Indian VAs with a proper understanding of the English language. Funimation just had Christopher Ayres and Patrick Seitz go about their lines but with horribly exaggerated Indian accents. Why do I take umbrage with this? Well... fun fact about me: I'm Punjabi, and Punjab is a part of India! One of the things that I hate is whenever there's an Indian character on-screen, and they have a horribly exaggerated accent. Seriously, would it kill Funimation to just hire Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan to just do the voice acting for these two characters?
Now, it's not like the dub is complete shit because that's far from the truth The ADR crew also did a great job of making sure the dialogue fit the mouth movements while making sure that the actors/actresses gave a good performance. I'm also guessing that the accents were used as a way of giving *some* semblance of authenticity. At the same time, I just die a little inside every time I hear Christopher Ayres, Patrick Seitz, or Monica Rial give their take on a horrible accent imitation. If anything, this dub is similar to the Kanon (2006) dub: the dub itself is solid stuff, but there's just that tiny little detail that just makes me want to make myself taller.
With all that baggage out of the way, let's wrap this up. Black Butler on the whole is just "good." It's not a masterpiece like some of the overzealous fans like to claim it is, but it's also not shit like some of the others on here would like for you to believe. Now, reviews on the whole are a very subjective thing so obviously there's going to be a lot of areas that people disagree on. But at the same time, there are shows on the market that are a hell of a lot more painful to watch than this. If you want shit, don't turn to Kuroshitsuji. Turn to Sword Art Online. Just watch the first episode of Black Butler if you've got 20 minutes to spare. If you like what you see, keep going. If you don't, drop it altogether. It's just that simple. Alternatively, you can just watch the first 15 episodes and then move over to the infinitely superior Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus. That works too. I also highly recommend reading the manga, as it's one hell of a good read.
So after some trial, tribulation, and mulling it over in my brain, I finally finished this show but wasn't fully sure what to think of it. Black Butler is a confusing show that I personally think has some pretty major identity issues going on. It's overall not that bad for a semi-shonen type show. The setting of Victorian England adds a unique setting and at times I found the supernatural element that gets added to the show enjoyably reminiscent to horror books I've read from the Gothic Victorian era such as Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Black Butler is
basically role-reversed Batman where Bruce Wayne's parents die and he turns into a bitter rich kid in short shorts who conducts all the business while Sebastian is more like Alfred if he could do all the stuff Batman does. And given the fangirl reaction to Bassie I'd say he fits the playboy role pretty well too. For the most part, the plot really plods about and throws it's identity confused weight around, but at least it looks cool while doing it. Sebastian is a great character; he's a gentleman loved by the ladies with cool demon powers. Granted it's a cop out that he's omnipotent thus never putting Ciel in a position of real danger but that's beside the point. Like Berserk, Sebastian is his Egg of the King, and when he's around, the tension of his struggle loses weight because he's no longer in any danger. However I think the show is given a great premise but doesn't do a lot with it, and when I finished it the entire experience felt like something of a rough draft of something brilliant rather than a complete show. The primary factor that goes along with that was the inconsistency of everything and it tends to jump around a little too much. Sometimes it wants to be really serious and then it'll throw something "funny" in, thus ruining the joke AND the serious tone and you're back to square 1. Sometimes it wants to be a supernatural detective story but goes too heavy on the supernatural element by throwing around the term "soul reaper" and "death scythe" like it was trying to be Bleach, Soul Eater, and Dracula. I mean the guy who is the lead grim reaper is the same voice actor who plays Death himself in the dub of Soul Eater for God's sake. Sometimes it wants to give you an in depth experience into Ciel's mind and how he's feeling, and it never fully develops it. In addition to the inconsistency I was also really bothered by the stuff that was never really developed like Ciel's relationships with everyone, and the fact that there's never really a developed or clear cut villian or antagonist fighting against him (or if they are they're hastily thrown together). So despite the cool premise I'm gonna have to give Black Butler a passable rating. But if you're into more style-over substance shows and interesting Gothic settings, Black Butler is right up your dark London alley.
A butler is commonly defined as a male servant who takes charge of providing service to his master and keeping everything proper and organized in the household. Yana Toboso presents a devious twist to the meaning of a Butler, giving the audience on hell of a good show. Excuse the pun.
~[S T O R Y]~ 
Viewers have seen it all: servants and masters working as partners in crime, so to speak. The master is devious, and the servant is obedient in general Japanimation. We've seen older men be served by seniors or young children. Yet there is a sense of originality captured in Kuroshitsuji. Never
before have we ever seen not only a professional and sophisticated demon butler, but a butler that can definitely outshine the common traits of a servant. Kuroshitsuji displays a series of mysteries inside and outside the Phantomhive household, spurring great thought into the audience as to who is involved, what is going on, and of course: WHY. Not only that, but Toboso knocks us out with twists never to be expected. There are dark themes weaved into the plot, but Toboso attempts to calm us down by providing us a nice handful of humour in between episodes - especially the antics of Finny, Meilin, Bard, and our little old tea-drinking butler Tanaka whom Sebastian respects surprisingly so. Although the series is still running anime and manga-wise, the plot gradually grows stronger along with our mental and visual appetite for knowing more on the backgrounds of Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian Michaelis.
~[A R T]~ 
London during the Victorian era is where Kuroshitsuji is set. The art is done well enough for the viewer to realize that it is during the nineteenth century London without being informed of its setting. The artists aside from Toboso who have designed the characters and sets have presented a nice taste to the Victorian era, such as the historical city streets, the enchanting landscape of Phantomhive manor, and the eerie scenes of reveries and places where Ciel and his team are compelled to go - such as cemeteries, haunting passageways and of course the base where our beloved Undertaker resides. The opening animation theme gives us a sense of experimental art: consisting of a sense of grunge followed by dark, elegant art that is weaved into the story's style. The reason why I had not marked the art category a 10 is due to the ending animation theme. The cute scrolling cartoon that separates itself from the general art of the anime leaves the audience wondering whether they are attempting to add random humour to the end or not. Were the ending to be just as beautiful as the beginning theme along with the rest of the animation in the series, the art would've recieved a perfect score.
~[S O U N D]~ 
Normally in an anime such as Kuroshitsuji, one would expect the musical scores to consist of classical music and gregorian chants. Nonetheless, the series goes slightly beyond the music that would stereotypically match the setting where the anime takes place. The classical music and gregorian chants capture the essence of a dark, dramatic anime. The rock music flowing at the ending theme of the show gives the anime a connection to a modern age of rock and roll. The lyrics to the beginning and ending themes match the anime almost close enough, as though the musical artists created their songs just for the show's sake. The background music in random scenes gives us a sense of what to expect: epiphanies, a comedic episode, dark and nostalgic reminiscence, et cetera. Yet the music is not too obvious. The sounds are not cheesy unlike other animes set around the nineteenth century. They relax us emotionally yet drive our minds wild out of raging curiousity.
~[C H A R A C T E R]~ 
Daisuke Ono gives Sebastian Michaelis his signature smooth, demonic voice that no other seiyuu could ever match. Sebastian is the pure personification of a demon butler, what with his eloquent nature and satirical humour. Demons are often looked upon as ravenous creatures who are hideous inside and out. Yet Sebastian gives a whole new definition to the name of a demon. He is the subject of pure sin, provoking all seven of the sins [more in the manga than the anime] to humans or even observing them in the human world. He does not give into temptation and turns into an angel like other stereotypical animes. He keeps up his sinful guard, making the anime a more interesting watch. He is mysterious, smooth, and attractive enough to make him appear more like a talented, demonic angel than a regular demon in disguise. Moreover, Ciel Phantomhive is not your typical 12 year old. The murder of his parents followed by the destruction of his home and childhood brought forth a dramatic transition no one would ever expect of the boy. He is more mature than his age, seeing as he is the proud owner of a toy company along with playing his role as the Queen's underdog. Together, the two make a fantastic, brilliant team that leaves no stone unturned and no mystery left folded. The other characters seem slightly minor earlier in the series. But as time progresses, their ranks incline and make us wonder more about them. How did Finny become so strong? What dwells in the mind of Elizabeth Middleford? How is Tanaka able to change heights from a short old man to a tall sophisticate? Ignorance definitely is bliss when watching this anime.
~[E N J O Y M E N T & O V E R A L L]~ 
Overall, the series is worth enjoying. The anime is yet to be complete, and the manga seems far from over. We are filled with a sensational tension to know the answers behind the questions, know the solutions to the mystery, and understand how our world and the world in the Victorian era are not that different. Both worlds share their moments of profound mystery, moments of drama and laughter, moments of sin versus virtue... I am definitely looking forward to what other tricks Yana Toboso has left up the sleeve. And if you were an individual who prefers tricks and treats, then allow the black butler to serve you. :]
Usually I wouldn't waste any energy on reviewing such a bad product of entertainment industry, but I, like all people, sometimes just need to let myself go and get the burden of my back. Let me apologise beforehand for such an obnoxiously long review. So let's go.
If there is one sentence that could perfectly describe this series it would be: "What an utter waste of potential!"
The premise is a boy selling his soul to a demon and then solving mysteries related to the underground society in Victorian-era London. What an epic anime it could have been; a mix of Death Note, Hellsing and Sherlock Holmes
- a guarantee of success. But it became the school example of wasting potential instead. Some series just don't have the premise that could make them good. But this - man I was disappointed!
The manga had several aspects that disappointed me, but there were other, redeeming points, and while it wasn't a masterpiece I hoped it would be, it was a decent story to pass time with. The anime on the other hand...
The fact that manga was ongoing and provided little material to work with is no excuse. There were enough chapters to make some 10-12 episodes. Instead, they stuck to the manga for the first 6 episodes and then dropped it. The first 3 episodes served as an introduction of the main cast of characters and featured little plot. Episodes 4,5 and 6 were "Jack the Ripper Arc". Speaking strictly about the plot, it was relatively good so far. Even episode 7 was promising - everything looked and smelled like The Hound of the Baskervilles. But beginning with ep 8, it was all over. The series featured a large number of "arcs", very loosely connected, and a number of filler episodes between them.
The basic ideas of the arcs were not bad, but they were horribly executed, too fast-paced ( most of them just 2 ep long ) and ended up making little if no sense whatsoever. The plot holes were not a major issue because the plot itself was just too incoherent. There were way too many facepalm and "WTF?" moments to enjoy anything and I ended up wondering if they were scr*wing the plot and basic ideas on purpose. 3 for the Jack the Ripper Arc.
One of the main problems of this series is inconsistency. It can't decide whether it wants to be Holmes-like, or angsty, or action series, or supernatural, or just yaoi/ bishounen fanservice for the peanut-brained 13-14 year-old girls. It unsuccessfully tries to be all at once, with the latest category ( fanservice ) prevailing. The animation follows the pattern. At times it's brilliantly depicted 19th century London, very dark and realistic. Then it's less realistic with modern hand guns and cars, thus spoiling the spirit and atmosphere of Victorian era. And then... we have domiantrix outfits, Italian mafia in modern suits, Gothic lolita and Steampunk fashion and very non-Victorian behaviour. It won't bother some, but if you're going with historical setting, then make it convincing, please. Some scenes are well animated and coloured and the visual effects flow well. But then they go with the cheap chibi animation and very bright colours. Pick one! The only bits of series that I find flawlessly animated are the first opening theme and the second ending theme. Nothing particularly special or stunning, but they are well-balanced and go well with the music.
The soundtrack itself is pretty good, one of the highlights of the show, but it's too quiet for the most of the series. The opening and ending theme songs are well-chosen, especially "Lacrimosa", my personal favourite. I like how they use Latin songs and combination of classical and electric instruments. The jazz tunes caught me off guard a bit, but they are actually quite good and give the soundtrack a distinctive level. If only the other aspects of the series were developed as good as the soundtrack.
Ciel Phantomhive - In the manga, a well developed character, mixture of Artemis Fowl and Near from Death Note with a strong touch of evilness. Albeit suffering a terrible fate, he stays strong and becomes more ruthless and evil as the story progresses. A spoiled brat, but I like him both as a character and as a person ( there are many similarities between him and I ). In the anime, he's an angsty, two-dimensional character, whose motivations are unclear. Apart from being "out-of-character", his actions are very inconsistent and you can clearly see that the manga Ciel and anime Ciel are two different people. Shota and bishouned tones exponentially multiplied in the anime.
Sebastian Michaelis - First of all, I should point out that Sebastian isn't and cannot possibly be a Gary Stue, simply because he's not human. Yes, he's almighty and perfect, but he's a demon. What good would a demon be if he can't beat up your enemies and make you some fine tea? The bad thing about this aspect of Sebastian is that it backfires when it comes to the plot. In combination with helpless Ciel and incompetent plot-makers, Sebastian becomes "deus ex machina", the solution to every problem and every situation. His wittiness and teasing of his master vanish with ep7 and he shows some serious OOC-ness in the final episodes, when he ABANDONS CIEL ( against the unbreakable contract he's made with him ). In the end, he's nothing but a sex object for the fangirls to fangirl over ( and my only comment to his "special" relationship with Ciel is: paedophilia is not sexy/cute!
Grell Sutcliff - The potential for the badest psycho badass of all time. Had they made him female and more psychotic, Grell could have rivaled Alucard. Instead, we got the overly gay Reaper who likes to wear short shorts. God...
Most of the canon characters are, apart from Madam Red, given no or little ( good ) exposition and don't do much to make the plot going. The only exception is Fred Abberline, who's role in the series is far greater than in the manga.
All non-canon characters are piss-poor and cheap, not to mention badly designed.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5
Ruining the premise with the awful plot was bad enough, but the amount of fanservice destroyed it beyond repair. Although I detest yaoi and similar perversions, maybe I could have survived it. But the inconsistency of the quality of animation, mixing of so many genres, the horrible plot, the bad characters... it was too much. I watched it through to the end simply because I dislike not finishing thing that I've started. And I wanted to have all the knowledge of the crap I'm reviewing. So here's my final mark. After viewing the anime I started to appreciate the manga more. To conclude this I'll say again: what a waste.
If this was a one-line review, it would be "A great premise but sadly a bad execution." This anime struggles to find a balance between it's serious overarching story and the less serious comedy of it, a comedy that's often immature and just plain unfunny. Around every turn the anime is clearly struggling between being serious and being immature, resulting in a weird mix of the two that's just not appealing at all.
The overarching story has amazing potential, when I read the premise I thought that this might be the not-so-famous cousin of Code Geass, but I was sorely disappointed. While the overall premise
of Kuroshitsuji looks great on paper, the execution is clearly lacking.
The overarching story of Kuroshitsuji is quite serious and you'll notice that early on, in the first few episodes even. But, as the anime moves on you begin to notice that the other things added together to make the complete story aren't so serious at all.
The comic 'relief' that this anime likes so much quickly becomes so abundant that the serious bits instead become the relief. Unlike in Baccano, where the comic relief was memorable and well executed, the comic 'relief' in Kuroshitsuji is too much, too often, and most of the time it's not comedy but instead just plain immature and silly.
While these characters are out of place in this anime, the two main characters of the anime are very enjoyable. Ciel Phantomhive doesn't really have a particularly interesting or great backstory to him but that doesn't matter because he's well executed. His butler, who also is a main character, is great as well. It was enjoyable seeing their stories unravel between the immaturity of the anime.
Other than that, there's not much to be said of the story and characters aside of the yaoi undertones. This is another silly and immature part of the anime. I don't mind so much the yaoi undertones between the the butler and his master, because they are just that, undertones, but when we get a naked dog-man jumping around and licking people then it gets a bit too much. And, of course the female cast is there every step to bleed their brains out of their noses as soon as something even remotely homoerotic takes place.
The animations aren't deserving of any praise either. While they aren't bad they certainly aren't good either. I'm not an animation buff but I clearly noticed how the animators had problems with consistency when it came to the size of people and objects. Another thing was the fact that perspective seemed to be skewed every now and then. The animations aren't so bad as to make you jump up and yell, but if you're remotely interested in good animation this anime will leave you with a somewhat bad taste lingering in your mouth. Again, it's not that bad and if the other aspects of the anime seems to appeal to you the animations certainly shouldn't drive you away, they're not that bad.
The sound is again not something that I can say I noticed too much of either way. There wasn't anything either good or bad enough to make me notice it. Maybe this is just a failure on my part as a viewer and listener, but I didn't notice anything too good or too bad about the sound.
In conclusion, the sole redeeming quality of this anime is the interaction between Ciel Phantomhive and his butler. The serious overarching story is directly countered by the amount of silly and immature comedy you're served each and every episode. It takes a massively long time for the anime to actually get to the main story, and I had more than one moment where I sat and wondered when on earth they were going to get on with it. The anime is also clearly struggling with finding its place between being a serious drama and being a silly comedy. There are very serious things going on in here, there's even an implied sex-scene that's handled with some degree of maturity until one of the comic relief cast decide to bleed all over the walls with her nose. I guess that's what plaguing this anime, the somewhat serious story that's constantly being countered by a massive amount of silly comedy.
All in all, I don't think this will be a very enjoyable anime for anyone. If you're looking for a somewhat serious anime you're not looking for it in the right place. On the other hand, if you're just looking for something to laugh at this clearly isn't it either. I laughed while watching this anime, but it wasn't because it was fun, it was because it was immature and cringeworthy.
To be completely honest, this show sort of pisses me off.
The main problem I have with this show is the two main characters. Let's start out with Ciel. He sold his soul to a demon, which is bad enough, but it wasn't even to save a life, it was to get revenge. I can never look past it. I hated him from the first scene I saw him. Thankfully, this show is not stupid enough to frame the decision as a good one, or Ciel as a good person. But it's hard to ignore the center of the plot.
Then there is Sebastian. I
grew to dislike him more and more as the show went on. I know the ladies love him, but that smile is something that makes me want to gag. The catchphrase "one hell of a butler", which is actually pretty cool, gets ruined with incessant repetition. I don't find him charming.
The story is pretty clever, the rest of the characters are good, the art is great, and the show in general is pretty funny, but the two main characters are big things to get wrong.
But the thing that pisses me off the most about this show is that I couldn't stop watching. I have serious problems with this show, but there was no part of me that wanted to drop the series. I'm not sure why; maybe the positives I mentioned kept me invested. That's why I have to give it at least a 6. I will also see the second season. I hope it is better, because this show obviously did something right.
Black Butler is an odd mix of comedy, drama, fantasy and yaoi undertones. There are few anime out there that can combine comedy and drama without ruining one of these elements, sadly enough Black Butler is not one of these shows. The comedy totally ruins the drama and is often unfunny and immature, the bishies and yaoi tropes were unnecessary and the fantasy didn't make sense. But for some reason, this anime is in the top 50 most popular anime on MAL, why? Probably because it had bishies, a hot butler, nice music, pretty animation and a gay death god that tries to make senpai
notice him, oh so hilarious.
We meet our main character, a 10 year old boy (who looks like a girl) and gives his soul in exchange for revenge against the people who killed his parents and tortured him. Two years have passed and our main character, Ciel Phantomhive, has a demon butler who helps him with his revenge (and cleans his house). Though they don't really seem to care about taking revenge, because they're way to busy with drinking tea and solving crimes. The queen decided to make Ciel her personal detective for some kind of reason, we never really discover why, but now Ciel wastes his time with solving crimes. And for some kind of reason are there always supernatural creatures involved in those crimes, so Sebastian can show of his fabulous demon fighting skills, while fighting them. The first episode was amazing, there was a dark atmosphere, the main characters looked interesting and the plot twist near the end was great. And then everything went downhill, our main character and his demon butler get a mission, they discover that something supernatural is involved, they solve the mystery and Sebastian says "I'm one hell of a butler", then there is another mission or a filler, in the last case the viewer is tortured with the Phantomhive servants (also known as comedic relief no one asked for) screwing up things and sucking at everything except for killing people. This kind of "comedic relief" totally ruined the drama in the anime, even a cliché sad backstory didn't make these servants more interesting, because their only use in this anime is screwing up everything.
The setting also fails, no one behaves like they're supposed to do in the Victorian age. Still, the first part of the story is decent, some episodes were actually good, but the second half was just a convoluted mess. Nothing that happened made sense, characters behaved out of character (Sebastian leaves Ciel for a stupid reason), plot twists came out of nowhere and unexplained supernatural occurrences happened. Only the ending was great, the last minutes of the show were better than the whole second half together. But then, the creators decided to ruin that by creating a sequel that just erased the great ending of the first anime, like it never happened. Amazing job writers!
The story was decent in the first half and a total mess in the second half. There were way too many fillers and none of these fillers were funny or interesting, they were just a waste of time. Also the gay undertones (everything about Ciel, Grell's behavior towards Sebastion, crossdressing for no good reason and so on) were unnecessary. It didn't add anything to the plot, but it just attracted those annoying teenage girls who love yaoi pairings and name themselves 'missPhantomhive489' on YouTube.
The animation was very good, especially the backgrounds and clothes. The anime is set the Victorian age setting and the buildings were very realistic and fitted the time period (the behavior of the characters didn't). The character designs were quite feminine, Ciel really looks like a girl even without wearing a dress, but not bad. Every character had their own distinct features, which made them stand out. The animation was also pretty good during the fights and during the comedic relief moments (I still hate these moments, but the animation looked good)
The animation was great. Yes, bishies everywhere but the backgrounds were spectacular. Not a single character looked boring and the clothes were very detailed. The animation was probably one of the best things about this show. And I have to admit, Sebastian throwing knives and forks at random baddies looks extremely epic.
The opening song "Kiss of Monochrome" is great and really fits the more dramatic parts of the show. The first ending song "I'm ALIVE!" is an upbeat J-pop song that fits the stupid comedic relief moments. The chibi art style of the animation of the ending song was actually quite amusing. But the second ending song is on a whole new level, "Lacrimosa" is sad, melancholic and extremely beautiful. The background music was nothing special but certainly not bad and the voice acting was very good. Especially Sebastian's voice actor did an amazing job. The music was simply put great.
The first ending song was okay and the opening and second ending song were amazing. The background music was good and the (Japanese) voice actors did a great job. The best thing about Black Butler was the music, and that is not meant as an insult, the music was just damn great.
Our main character is a snobby, spoiled, edgy, teenage bishie, sorry Ciel but you're not only an annoying person, you're also a bad character. His motivations are unclear, his behavior is inconsistent and drinking tea does not make anyone seem 'cool'. Also, he's just a walking mannequin, the creators were too busy with making him wear fancy dresses to give him a likeable (or at least tolerable) personality. Sebastian is just a hot and perfect butler, he seems more like a perfect boyfriend than a scary demon. Which was probably on purpose, because now the fangirls have someone to ship Ciel with, or themselves. Though he has as much depth as a paddling pool, he's enjoyable to watch (something that can't be said about Ciel). His fighting scenes were pretty cool and he has style. And of course, let's not forget 'I'm one hell of a butler'. He's a badly written character who's a joy to watch. And then we have the Phantomhive servants, they were useless, whiny, annoying and not funny. Their 'sad' background stories were extremely cliché and they ruined every attempt to make this show dramatic (or a bit more mature). Grell is a gay shinigami, who wants to bang Sebastian and just like the servants, his role is to ruin every attempt to make this show serious, oh and his constant nosebleeds are not funny at all. And there is Elizabeth, the most whiny and useless love interest for a protagonist since Misa from Death Note (and even Misa has more brains than this walking candy cane) and her attempts to make everything 'cute' annoyed the heck out of me. I was literally cheering when Ciel tried to slap her. Every other side character is either boring or horrible (aside from Undertaker, he was pretty cool).
It it so difficult to create cast with at least one character who's tolerable, let alone well written? Ciel is a edgy, whiny and spoiled teenage boy living in Victorian England, but behaving like he lives in the present. Sebastian (that name is so damn cliché for an English butler) is way too perfect and lacks any form of depth, but it's a joy to watch him kill people with knives and forks. Grell is a joke, he's gay for Sebastian and that's everything about him. The servants are annoying 'comedic relief' and Elizabeth has a place in my top ten most annoying anime love interests. She did not a single useful thing in 24 episodes, not a single thing! The rest of the cast is not even worth talking about and Undertaker is okay.
This was my third anime and when I watched it for the first time, I actually enjoyed it, but when I rewatched it, I realized how flawed this show actually is. It is possible to enjoy this anime when you're either new to anime in general, when you just want to have some fun with a supernatural show without thinking to much about the story or the characters or when you love yaoi undertones and bishies in dresses. It's not a horrible show, but the plot is a mess, the characters are weak and the yaoi undertones are annoying. Still, if you have a lot of time to waste or you just want to turn of your brain, then you might want to watch this show, in every other case, there are way better anime out there!
It's an under average show. Certainly not the worst anime, but also not worth the praise it gets and the enormous fan base. If you value you free time and prefer good anime, I would suggest that you skip this show. Oh and fans, can you please stop making creepy Ciel x Sebastian fanart? That's pedofilic demon yaoi, just don't. Peace!
This anime is one of the most breathtaking, gloriously beautiful masterpieces that I have ever seen. It manages to mix in character development, humour and action at the same time. They are all well balanced, so there isn't too much of comedy and such. Though it may not look like it, Kuroshitsuji is a dark series and thus there are lots of thought provoking themes and symbolism. The series is such that you could be crying with either happiness or sadness with the character. To be frank the show had me crying at times I thought I wouldn't. Though there are some questions left unanswered
at the end, it is still worth watching.
Indeed, the storyline was unique in its own way. The beginning arc is by far one of the best I've seen. But after it strayed away from the manga, it got a bit floppy around the middle, leaving some unanswered questions and vague hints. The series could definitely maximise its potential if not for the somewhat weaker storyline in the middle. But of course, this is merely my opinion. Don't worry, though it went in a different direction than the manga, the ending is not like soul eater's *cough* The ending was AMAZING, there hasn't been any other ending that made me emotional and depressed for a few days other than FMA, CG and GoTF. If not for the loose ends, it would have been a 10 for sure.
The art is one of the drawing points that led me to watch this series. Sebastian and Ciel's designs are beautiful, and there are hardly any scenes in the anime that makes the characters look weird. 19th Century London was also amazingly done, and it feels like I could have been there. The outfits and also the ambience was equally well done.
Wow. The soundtrack of Kuroshitsuji is I can confidently say, the BEST I have ever heard. The OST doesn't comprise of pointless yelling and electric guitars. It takes a more .. classical and latin like hymns approach, can't exactly describe it. There are many beautiful melodies that will make you take notice of it immediately. For me, I was so transfixed by the music at the end of episode 3 that I missed out what was being said and had to replay. The songs play a vital role in the emotional impact on the audience. The end of the final episode, especially, wouldn't have so much of an impact if played without sound. The ED 2 , Lacrimosa is so hauntingly beautiful. Matches the dark gothic theme perfectly. The seiyuus were all also extremely good, portraying the characters the way they are supposed to be! The best to me was of course Sebastian. His low voice just makes you melt.
Character development is amazing. You can see the difference from the beginning and toward the end of the show. Their emotional dilemmas are not portayed as an obstruction, but as a way to help the characters grow. Madame Red in particular is the character that I was riveted upon. The way her character came to be, and how it ended.. Just speechless. Ciel is also the same. But no spoilers here!
Enjoyment + Overall 
Everything falls into place perfectly, making this anime an amazing artwork, especially with its design and soundtrack. God the ED 2 is still stuck in my head even now, it's just so hauntingly beautiful. Though I was skeptical about this anime initially, I'm glad I picked it up. What are you waiting for? Watch it NOW
The real crux of why this anime fails to have any impact is the characters. Not a single one is capable of pulling off the swagger they purport to have, summed up by the incredibly terrible "catch phrase" of the butler being "one hell of a Butler," which is always said so apathetically that it makes it even more boring. The main shota-boy is the worst of all, as Ceil manages to pull off nothing at all. Ceil is constantly bratty without being really grating or especially irate because all he likes to do is complain. The series plays up his parents' death making him
ungodly fixated on revenge, but even that passion is never actually displayed in the series. Another good example of a purely character related flaw is how much time people spend blushing over Sebastian, each time being groan worthy.
Now, of course, the anime had to have some reason I kept watching (even though I was playing Ocarina of Time the whole time), and that was because the plot did have a decent trajectory. It was interesting to see them play out the demons' existence and purpose and Ceil's quest, although it was of course bogged down repeatedly by things like the aforementioned lack of passion and the fact that when it did choose to finally fixate on characters, they were often horrible.
The way the characters are drawn is horrible, but the way the rest of this is drawn is great. I could mostly ignore the characters and look at the otherwise pretty art though (except when it was terribly chibified or the like).
The voice acting is thoroughly mediocre while the music is pretty great.
All in all, it was not enjoyable, really, but was not godawful at the same time, as contradictory as that might seem. I still would never recommend anyone to watch this with so many series that actually achieve being "epic," not merely pretending like this one does.
I normally wouldn't consider writing a review of something I had only seen 4/24 of, but for this, I'll make an exception, because it has a high rating but I found it about as enjoyable as a kick in the balls.
This series appears to be targeted at people who want lots of guys crossdressing with hints of yaoi. That's not me, but it explains the rating of this series to some extent. If that's what you want, you might like this show.
The plot and characters also bother me. The main character is all style and no substance. On the other hand, if you want to
watch a cartoon kid pretend to be brilliant and important while doing nothing but look fancy in expensive cartoon clothes while his butler does all the work, this might be the show for you. The butler is also shallow. He has unspecified powers with no apparent limits, and no real personality. The plot also only pretends to have any depth whatsoever.
Voice acting is fine, though not great. Animation is OK for most parts, but the 3d things look bad and the action scenes are terrible.
In conclusion, this series is strictly inferior to Chevalier d'eon and El Hazard the Magnificent World for any kind of person I can think of, and not worth watching if you don't like crossdressing guys and/or yaoi.
Kuroshitsuji or black butler was one hell of an anime. the mix of mythical creatures such as shinigamis, demons, angels with the Britain history is well done. The story is based on some historical facts but of course 99% of the serie is fictive. One great example of a historical fact that they used is Jack The Ripper. The way that they explain those cases with those mythical creatures, is just as it could’ve happened in history without that anyone would’ve noticed it. So basicly they use those creatures to let those cases make a lot more sense.
Ciel Phantomhive is however he is still a
child the head of the Phantomhive house/company that does all kind of underground work for the queen. The fact why he is the head of the corporation is because his mansion was fired and both his parents died because of that. After that full of despair and seeking for revenge he made a deal with a demon. The demon may eat his soul when he got his revenge. After they made the deal the demon becomes his butler, able to do the most impossible things and doing/accomplishing everything he has been ordered to. When people has something as “what the fuck?!?!” when they saw what he did/can do. He always simply respond “that it is only normal for a servant of the Phantomhive family to be able to do such things”.
In this serie you see the not official power of the queen and a lot of british culture from the end of the 19th century. However his mansion is in Scotland he usually travels a lot to solve the problems of the queen where he becomes confrontated with some people he wants revenge on.
In my opinion it is one of the classic animes that you should’ve watched if you are a anime fan. However there are some reasons why it doesn’t deserve a high point in my opinion. First of all there are a lot of fillers, things as episode 1 and other episodes are not bad but it doesn’t gives something extra at the story. I think they should’ve been ova. Second I don’t think they have completely used the potential it had. you’re probably asking yourself now “why do I need to watch it then?”. Well the biggest reason for me are the characters. Ciel and Sebastian (the butler) are super good and original characters that you won’t find in just any anime. Another great thing about it is how good some episodes are. Episodes such as episode 6,.. and the end also made the serie. It is very weird but after a bunch of fillers there is randomly a super episode that has the feeling of a wonderful end. Everybody probably knows the feeling of a unbelievable end well here they are randomly placed in the serie as well.
For the rest the music fits the story perfectly, it basically is dark church music for the butler and other dark moments and kinda jazz for the normal moments, with this used in the right way it gives the extra right touch it needed. The drawings are nothing special but surely not bad. The most amusing moments for me where when the butler follows his orders, that just keeps surprising me. The characters aren’t bad but nothing special however as I said, Ciel and Sebastian are just superb in every way.
This is my first review and I choose to write it about the anime "Kuroshitsuji" Or "Black Butler". So let's get on with it, yes?
~STORY & CHARACTERS~ Both rating 8/10
The story itself was overall enjoyable, though it's not something "completely" unheard of before. The anime "Chrono Crusade" has a slightly similar plot. I think what makes Kuroshitsuji different was the characters. To me the characters were mostly all lovable, even Ciel was, though at times he was an annoying little brat. But that was part of his charm ^^;; I absolutely LOVED Sebastian. I mean, there's literally nothing he can't do xD. And he's always
so cool and calm about it :P
~ART~ Rating 9/10
I loved the art. I think I loved the outfits the most due the old Victorian era feel to them. Especially Ciel, Elizabeth and Sebastian were always very well dressed. The character design was nice and simple, but elegant enough to fit the context of late 19th century London. THOUGH, sometimes the men, namely for example Ciel, Finny and Ash, were drawn a little too feminine for my taste and I think that's why I gave the art only a 9 and not a 10. The scenery was beautiful and well done, which I appreciate very much in any anime ^^
~SOUND~ Rating 10/10
All of the chosen theme songs fit the series quite well. I liked the ending songs the most, especially "Lacrimosa" by Kalafina. I thought it was very befitting of Kuroshitsuji: the darkish and mysterious feel without being downright emo. Also the voice acting was great. Every character had the "right" voice, as in the one that suited them the most in my opinion. I was extremely glad that Ciel didn't have the typical "little boy" girly voice, because it would probably made me enjoy his character a lot less ^^;;. The sound effects and others were all great as well.
~ENJOYMENT~ Rating 10/10
Hell yeah I enjoyed it :D. It's very hard for me to come by an anime I truly enjoy (Yes I'm picky =__=") And I had my doubts about Kuroshitsuji at first. But I definitely don't regret watching it. It made me laugh (a lot), it frustrated me (^^;), it even made me cry (can't say why :X) and that, to me, proves it's a good anime. Plus all of the things I mentioned above. It's most definitely worth watching.
~OVERALL~ Rating 9/10
Absolutely a "must-watch". Period. :P Everything coordinates so well, no matter how odd some things and/or characters are.
This one was… interesting. I was originally going to avoid it because of the pedophile vibes that I was given. A show about a young boy and his creepy butler just sounded wrong… However, I decided to watch it, and grabbed the subbed version from Shinsen… The OP was pretty good… there are certainly better, but there are many worse ones this season. The ED doesn’t have a good song, but the mountains of chibi awesome-ness make up for it. The art is very nice, all the backgrounds are hand painted, and the character art is decently consistent. The CG (what little they use) tends
to be a bit dodgy in spots, but I think that can be overlooked. The story of this anime focuses on Ciel Phantomhive, the orphaned heir to the Phantomhive estate. How his parents died hasn’t been established yet, but it apparently caused him to make a contract with a demon… who is his butler. Let me say here, that Sebastian (insert Lucky * Star reference here) is the single most badass butler ever. Watch the show for yourself if you don’t believe me. I’m going to have a hard time summarizing the first episode, but I can say some other things. The atmosphere is very good at shifting. It can be comical and ridiculous the first moment, but then be pants-wettingly creepy. Not many anime these days can switch back and forth so well. Ciel comes off as pretty creepy as small boys with eyepatches come. The rest of the house staff is comical, complete with the girl who loves Sebastian. Sebastian is honestly the best of the whole character set. He switches back and forth from comical to creepy along with the rest of the show. He has red eyes, pallid white skin, and dark hair (as well as an angular face, which makes him remind me of the black swordsman from Comedy.) From what I can tell, he is a demon, but I can only tell from the vague description I can get from the show. He says “I am but a butler,” but the way he says it, it can be also translated as “I am but a demon.” Anyway, Sebastian is obviously the most badass demon butler to ever grace the screen. I really don’t have much more to say on this, because I have no plot summary. Watch it if you want, you will probably enjoy it. I enjoyed it enough to bring me to the second episode, providing Shinsen gets the subs out with decent speed. It really isn’t half bad, and it was a lot better than I expected it. To sum it up, less pedophiliac, more ridiculous, and certainly more entertaining then I expected it to be. Check it out if you want to. I give it a total score 0f 7/10.
Production by A-1 Pictures. Airs on Thursday. Subs done by Shinsen.
Kuroshitsuji, or Black butler. What an interesting concept. Supernatural beings living in the 1800s London. Having a demon as your butler, living in a mansion, doing detective work for the queen her majesty.
I have not watched any of its sequel yet, so I'm reviewing this based purely on the first season.
STORY (Concept 4/5, Development 2/5)
Story is a fairly weird part of the show. The structure of the arcs reminds me of Darker than Black and Cowboy Bebop. Every episode or sometimes every two episodes concerns of a certain event that involves certain characters. The problem is, instead of leaving the arcs to
themselves, the writer keeps elements presented from these arcs weaving around until the very end where the grand finale that draws all the things happened before together.
I dislike shows that doesn't have a continuous plot, so I don't like how the story is told in Black butler.
The main problem I have with this type of story is that, the author tries too hard to make all the connections, but fails to make the individual arcs interesting.
---The following paragraph may be considered a semi-spoiler for some audience---
The Indian Prince arc for example, serves a purpose of introducing the Queen's butler. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it is just that the butler barely got any screen time in the arc. This leads to the problem that when Queen's butler actually becomes a major character, nobody knows anything about him and the "connection" the writer tries to make starts to feel forced.
---Potential Spoiler Ends---
What frustrates me the most is that the ending of the series is actually really cool and awesome. Despite the fact that I forced myself to go over the series so hard before I reached somewhere around episode 16, the ending did make me say "Wow."
Another thing I'd like the mention is that most of the time I always thought this is a slice of life anime. It just doesn't feel serious enough with all those fooling around by Ciel's servants and other trolling characters. Which means this anime cannot, and should not be marathoned if you want to enjoy it to the fullest.
All in all, I think on a grand scheme the story is actually pretty good. But when you actually go in and enjoy it, it fails to grab my attention and it was BORING.
But why would so many people love this series so much? Let's go in to the characters.
CHARACTERS (Design 5/5, Development 3/5)
The main Characters are Ciel and Sebastian.
The mighty Sebastian is really a virus. I do admit I fangirled him quite a bit as a healthy heteralsexual male. He is simply so cool and calm and awesome. He is artistic, gentle and occasionally, inhuman on both emotional and physical levels. Sebastian Serves as a ultimate weapon that only unleash his full power at critical moments.
That alone is already great enough for people to stay in front of the screen and watch the show. The problem is however, Sebastian never needs to consider any potential danger serious matter until the very last arc. This bothers me a little bit since Sebastian did not change at all throughout the plot: His relationship with Ciel doesn't change and his ideology stay intact.
Ciel is a 12 year old noble who is the last seed of the grand Phantomhive family. By making a contract with Sebastian, he escaped the fire that killed both his parents. As a young noble who suddenly becomes responsible for his family pride and duty, he grow as a determined child over the course of time spent with his Butler. Ciel, unlike Sebastian, did change his ideology and experienced some personal growth from the events, which is quite pleasant.
Ciels' other servents, (A chef, a gardener, a maid, and a recorder) all serve as plot relieves. Even though they are eventually introduced with background stories at the end of show, they are... irrelevant for the must part of the show.
Other characters such as grim reapers' association, which acts as a third party that always help (except the first arc) Ciel and Sebastian unintentionally, is an interesting addition as well. Nothing such as development can be considered, so they are purely for the supporting role.
To wrap things up, the characters are interesting, and I see how the female audience enjoys it so much. But objectively speaking, they are not that well presented.
GRAPHIC (Art 5/5, Animation 2/5)
The art is very beautiful. It shows the wonderful landscape of the old England. The character are also very pretty and appealing, Ladies are pretty and the men are cool, especially Sebastian. However, many scenes are way too simplified and becomes like kids' comic style drawing. I suppose this is just my personal dislike since some people like lots of funny and plot relieves.
The animation however, fairly weak. The action scenes are not well rendered, which makes them... fairly boring. That said, Sebastian's power are still amusing to watch. Still images are literally found anywhere to the point where I felt closing my eyes and listen to the anime is more enjoyable.
Art is very good, but the way they animated isn't that great.
SOUND (OP/ED 2/3, OST 2/3, Dub 4/4)
The opening and ending, to be honest are very great songs. I actually like them so much that I don't skip them and enjoy the beautiful combination of animation and sound. However, if you remove the graphic and listen to the songs by themselves... They become quite forgettable.
OST are also on a okay level. Definitely not memorable. But they are not trash either. They are simply too plain and doesn't stand out with the dialogues. But after all, they are only OSTs, they are just supposed to be served as background in the show.
Ha. I have no freaking idea why you should resist the dub at all. Unless you are a native British person who hates American people try to speak in British accent, there is absolutely no reason to not like the dub. This is not saying the Original Japanese is not good however. Both are very emotional and well acted. But why would you NOT want BRITISH English in a show that has the old BRITAIN as the stage???
I did not like it for the majority of the show, but the ending sort of made everything up. As a person who loves serious, continuous plot, I don't find myself enjoying the series too much. This is not to say that it is not good. If you watch them maybe 2 episodes a day, it should be fairly enjoyable. If you are a fan for Sebastian... Well, good for you, you will love it.
Again, for the last 8 episodes, I did enjoy them. The story became serious and interesting. So, I felt it was a good series after I completed it, but during the time I watched it, I didn't.
I can see why people loved it. The concept was simply unique and brilliant. But if you look at it in a critical point of view, it kinda... failed to be a respectable piece of entertainment.
Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should watch it. After all the ending is great and for people don't mind episodic stories and easily get intrigued in the settings, this show is golden. For others, it is still worth a shot since it has a very unique concept and style comparing to the rest of the animes.
I wasn't really being picky when I chose this I just wanted something to watch, but instead of a dull carnival ride I got a rollar coaster through a haunted house. At first Sebatian (the butler) reminded me of Haji from Blood+, but then his sarcasm started showing as well as the way he acted towards the "young master" All in all it's a wonderful show great characters spectacular plot and I can't wait to see the rest.
I was unfortunately forced to watch this abomination over a spread of three hours in a crowded cafeteria after final exams. I had brought my laptop and had forgotten to put any anime on it. "Luckily", one of the girls had a portable hard drive with this on it. This horrible show was on it. I actually enjoyed the first episode, as the homoerotic overtones and undertones were kept at a minimum, but as the series progressed, it became a shota-fest. I understand that girls really enjoy this show, and that's perfectly fine by me, but I wouldn't wish this show on anyone with a
I was debating on whether or not I would even venture into writing a review for this show. To get the general facts out of the way: this was one of the first animes I ever tried watching and the first anime I actually ended up dropping. I guess I gave in to the immense hype surrounding Black Butler and was ultimately disappointed by it. I would like to think I'm not alone.
Where do I begin? This story had so much potential. I loved the idea of a demon butler who caters to his master's every whim, I guess. As well as the writer's
dedication to keeping all of the titles uniformed with "His Butler, ..". It's charming. If only said writer would have stopped after episode 24.
Now, I'm writing spoiler-free here, but there was an incredibly obvious way of making Black Butler an amazing 24 episode anime. Well of course that can't happen though, can it? Not when you can rake in even more money off of a tired plot!
Listen, season 1 is something great. It was enjoyable. Does it make you feel empty on the inside sometimes? Does it make you question the characters' and your own morality? Well, yes. But that doesn't deduct from the quality of the show and the potential it had. Like I said, what ruined it for me personally was the stretching of the show and the tugging on a clearly worn story. For this, I feel the show is overly hyped and not worth it.
Black Butler's artwork IS the best part of the show. It helps reinforce the plot and adds to the dark feelings within the show. Everything seems to be dimly lit and extremely lavish which I feel is a positive description of Sebastian, the butler, and Ciel, his master, as well as other socialites within the show. But we'll talk more about them later.
The soundtrack is similar to the artwork for me where it fits the show entirely and moves the plot along. Not bad.
Why only a 7? What did they ever do to you? Well, honestly, they made me feel a bit dead on the inside.
Sebastian Michaelis- I loved him for the majority of the season but after a bit he gave me trust issues. Does he want to protect and serve his master or does he just want to take their soul? In my opinion, with Sebastian being a demon, he's not trust worthy. Even when the show painted him out to be Ciel's hero and fans painted them out to be boyfriends, I still felt creepy undertones of soul sucking. Demons, right? But overall, Sebastian actually was one of the strongest characters and his personality was typically consistent.
Ciel Phantomhive- His name rolls off the tongue and is enjoyable to hear but Ciel himself puts me off. To put it lightly, he's had a rough life aside from the fact that he's incredibly rich. His hardships are what cause him to come in contact with his butler, the aforementioned Sebastian Michaelis. Ciel makes a contract with said demon butler because why quit while you're behind? It becomes painstakingly obvious that Ciel is more intelligent than most 12 to 13 year olds when it comes to matters of business. Almost unrealistically so. It becomes even more painstakingly obvious that he's aware of this and though his ego has advanced with his knowledge of the business world, his pride has not. He's such an absolute brat and there doesn't seem to be any character development within him throughout the 24 episodes that I have seen. Which, in my opinion and like I stated previously, should have been where the series ended.
The Phantomhive household- Seemingly misfit house workers who have taken care of Ciel take a drastic turn a few episodes in. They're still very lovable despite these turns of events. With all of their equally strong personalities, they add an air of humor to the usually calamitous plot line.
The Trancy household- A complete mess in and of itself but they still keep the story moving along and make you want to continue on with the show.
Elizabeth Ethel Cordelia Midford- Or Lizzie for short. Ciel's, at times, token love? Yes. Also Ciel's cousin? Yes. She too adds some comedy to the show but her relationship with Ciel still left me feeling a bit sad. It all comes across very dry as she is incredibly vapid and Ciel never seems to have any interest in her or what she says or does. If and when he does something for her it usually has some kind of benefit for himself.
The Nobles- All of these characters have some kind of connection to Ciel due to his social status and all of them have differing opinions of Ciel. They usually make you ask yourself if they're trustworthy people.
Grim Reapers- You thought you could trust them hahahahaaa.
AND there are more characters that I won't even bother going in depth on because they're all too shakey.
There are so many characters in this series and the show doesn't always go in depth on each one. Most of them remain flat or get dropped within a matter of an episode or two.
So yeah, I was loving this show until the last few episodes. That's when the final episode of season 1 did me in. I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here but honestly, the story had the perfect ending laid out. Could you foresee it? Yes, but it still would have been a satisfying ending that tied all the loose ends together. Which brings me to my overall score of a 6. You can watch Black Butler for yourself and you may love it as many others have but, personally, this show left me feeling a little empty and sad.