Thanks to Madman we had a chance to see Yana Toboso’s “Black Butler” (Kuroshitsuji). This time we watched “Black Butler season 1” (2008) and its movie “Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic” (2017).
“Black Butler” starts with an aristocrat thirteen year old boy losing his parents in a fire and being tortured by a cult. In his desperation, Ciel Phantomhive makes a deal with a demon who will take his soul after they take revenge against each one of the people who humiliated him and murdered his parents. In the meantime the demon, now named Sebastian Michaelis, will take care of Ciel as his personal butler and bodyguard.
Situated in London during the Victorian Era, the eerie start of the series elicits high expectations. However, the story rapidly changes when it’s revealed that the Phantomhive family works as the Queen’s Guard Dog solving crimes in London’s underworld.
Over the next few episodes, Ciel and Sebastian start to solve crimes in their own way. Sebastian who is “one hell of a butler” swears to protect and to follow orders from Ciel with a binding contract. Together, they come across a few reapers and other supernatural entities so the fights and methods become more interesting. Despite this, when we reach the second half of the series, the story becomes a bit confusing with a lot of twists and turns ending in a huge cliffhanger, luckily there is a movie to fill some of the gaps left in the series.
The first season of “Black Butler” aired back in 2008-2009. The series has great character design with beautiful period clothing to match the eerie backgrounds. The screen is filled with beautiful dark maroons, black and red colours that lift the action to a new level, the animation is fluid and well executed while the score blends perfectly. However what attracts most of the fandom is the perfect and handsome Sebastian. Ciel, to be honest, is quite annoying but somehow we really enjoy the relationship between these two. The other highlight are definitely the other reapers that bring a lot of comedy relief, especially Grell with his obsession with Sebastian.
“Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic” is the series’ first animated movie made almost ten years after the first season. The 2017 film runs for 101 minutes and is superior in storytelling, action and animation to the first season.
The change in animation is definitely an advantage as we get to see Sebastian’s demonic side more often, this time fighting tons of freshly created zombies in a cruise ship that’s pretty much following the story of the Titanic. There are a few characters that seem to be regulars in the show that will be probably introduced in season 2 or 3 or the OVAs. The film is clearly created to be enjoyed by the fans as it takes all the characters to a new level, including the perfect Miss Elizabeth.
Overall “Black Butler” is a mainstream series that is worth the hype. If you want to see a dark thriller with a sexy demon butler don’t miss “Black Butler: season 1” and “Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic”, both out now from Madman.