Reviews

Jan 10, 2009
SilentMuse (All reviews)
Preliminary
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]~ [9]
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]~ [9]
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]~ [9]
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]~ [9]
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]~ [9]
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. :]