Sunday, September 28, 2014

Black Butler Season 1 Review

Black Butler Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you. 

The review is only of Season 1 of Black Butler (or Kuroshitsuji if you go by the Japanese)

Also, this review will contain some heavy fangirling.

With that said, thank you and onto the review:

For as long as I can remember, dark storylines haven't been my cup of tea. Especially when they're related to horror, my least favorite genre of all time. And since last year, I have put up a guarded protection again this genre, not looking at Redbox's, and avoiding the DVD's of a department store. But I'll be honest, even though the storyline for this show looked pretty sad and violent, I knew there was going to be some sort of good in the series.

So, for almost 2 years. I began pondering to myself on when to watch it. And when one of my closest friends recommended it to me, I couldn't help but check it out, and see for myself.


Like Tenchi Universe, this series changed me in some way. I can accept dark storylines, but comedy added in is always a good thing, Even if the subject was darker than what I'm used to. Like High School Of the Dead, (Which I haven't finished yet due to time and other shows) I can at least enjoy something that is somewhat horror.

Good news, this show isn't completely dark, there are actually some comedy moments in this show you're all going to know by the end of this review. But the show can become mysterious if it needs to.

Let's go on to the main story:


The story begins when the titular character, the Earl Ciel Phantomhive, discovers his house in flames on his 10th birthday. While there, he also finds his parents murdered, and soon after this, he is captured by an unknown organization. While in there clutches, Ciel is subjected to multiple forms of torture for about a month, until the demon Sebastian appears, and asks Ciel to make a contract with him. This contract allows Sebastian, after taking revenge on the ones who murdered Ciel's parents, to devour his soul. This causes him to safely return to the Phantomhive mansion, where Ciel now serves as the Queen's Watchdog. While solving crimes in late 19th century London, Ciel is still looking for the murderers who took the lives of his parents.

This is the buildup leading to modern day, and to be honest, it's a lot of information to process. Not only did I feel bad for Ciel, but I was also compelled to help solve the mystery behind his parent's death. And I thought the anime did it rather well.

While the anime does add some arcs that weren't in the manga, and they manage to reveal the identity of the ones who murder Ciel's parents. (P.S. you won't expect it), they add some many plot twists that you can't help, but be shocked or possibly floored by on how the anime might actually steal your heart. (Then again, Grell does that in the character boat)

This anime was such a thrill ride because even I didn't expect to see about half of the plot twists come up before they even began. And I watched the first season before I started the manga, with the genius arc of Noah Ark's Circus. So all in all, this plot is going to leave you spinning on your heels, possibly craving more on this mysterious aspect on 19th century London.


The characters in Black Butler all are memorable, and some will stick to you like glue. Each character of black Butler is so intriguing, some aren't that hard to like. 

I'm going to start off with the demon butler, Sebastian. 

Sebastian is Ciel's butler, and therefore his bodyguard as well. Don't let the charming appearance wet your pants or anything. He has his demon form, and it's so terrifying, you don't get to see it come out. Which would have been cool, but oh wells.

As his butler, Sebastian remains close to Ciel's side, following his orders to the best of his ability. Most of the time when Ciel doesn't experience any illness, (this happens later on in the manga, but still) he often isn't the most concerned about his well-being, and sometimes teases him for enjoyment. But Sebastian is perhaps one of the best butlers I've ever seen, and I haven't seen a lot of them.

Though, when his demon traits, he is shown to be very ruthless, quite sadistic, and very manipulative to his opponents. So yeah, you don;t want to mess with him.

Sebastian is the titular character of the series, and is a interesting character. Well, for a demon perhaps. I like his loyalty to Ciel, and it's that bond that makes you wish that happened with your best friends. Okay, that's a little extreme. How about siblings?

Although, this bond could be targets of fanfics that I don't have the courage to read. I can do Grell, but *cough* getting off track here.

And Sebastian could still charm the pants off of every girl. I have another sense you know. Hotness levels abound!

Ciel's turn.

Ciel is a 13 year old Earl, which is like, a underdog to the queen. He has a very cold personality, mainly to due with his past. He is the head of the Funtom Company, which sells toys and candy (or should I call it sweets. It work here rather than in the English dub for Bleach).

After the whole incident with the cult ritual and what not, as well as making the contract with Sebastian, Ciel now conceals his right eye with a eye patch, which signifies his contract with Sebastian, also known as the  Faustian contract. He only undoes his eye-patch for baths, and for giving Sebasitan orders. this sequences are always so cool. Wah!

Ciel was a very complex character. I can't help, but feel sorry for not only what he felt in his past, but also for how it affects him now. He isn't all sugar and happiness, he is dead set on taking revenge. And won't let anyone get in his way. Okay, maybe not that much.

I don't think I can explain any more without giving major spoilers.

Now, onto the 2 most memorable characters for me. First, Undertaker:

The mysterious undertaker whose name is, well....., Undertaker. XD He lives in a funeral shop where he prepares corpses for the grave. He used to be a grim reaper, but that was long long ago, and is in fact not merely talked about until later in the manga.

He is a great source for information through-out the series, often giving very important clues, or providing some assistance in something Ciel is investigating. Though, this does come with a side effect. Undertaker won't spill unless he experiences true laughter.

Take out the tickling fingers everyone!

I think the main reason why I like Undertaker is due to the fact we don't know much about him. He is a antagonist later on in the manga, but for now, just settle into the aspect that everything is a crystal state, and your just wondering what the hell is this man to the story. Undertaker just also happens to provide some comedy, but not as much as Grell.

Shall we now talk about Grell? Give me a second so i don't pass out or anything. *breathes deeply* Okay, I'm ready.

AKLSJLSKJFLSDKJFL;SJ;LSAJL;SKJFLASKJF';SDJKF'F;SALFK;ASLKF;LKF;LSAJFLKSAJL;KSJAFLK;AJLF;D GRELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sorry guys, I tried. *takes deep breaths* Grell is just awesome, and like Ryoko, and Toshiro, and Noiz, and any single other favorite of mine, he needs fangirling.

Grell's first appearance was as the butler of Madam Red. After revealing his true identity, and YAY! big spoilers, he makes a few appearances through-out the show. But, that doesn't stop me from falling completely in love with him. While obsessing over Sebastian (or should I say, Sebas-chan), is often very flamboyant. and can be sadistic is certain situations. His red coat is from Madam Red when he..... big spoiler....., and he dons it for the rest of the series.

And Sebastian isn't his only going after, but he seems to be attracted to other males to. And while still claiming himself to be lady, Hmm. choices, choices.

We could go on and argue about Grell's real gender, but that will take years and thousands of blog posts. In my belief, I think he is a male, because that is his actual gender. Please don't stir arguments.

With that said, Grell is with hands down, my favorite character from the series. He is hilarious, and really reminds me of some of the personality traits that Ryoko had in Tenchi Muyo. That aside, he'll be something you'll remember and probably won't forget anytime soon.

Other characters include the Phantomhive servants, Madam Red, a Chinese nobleman, and his "sister", a Indian prince and his butler, Lady Elizabeth, another grim reaper who Grell also loves, a Viscount, Scotland Yard detectives, lady Elizabeth's servant, the Queen, a angel with two personalities, a demon hound who can also turn into a human, and a businessman.

One character in the Scotland Yard does die in the series, before later on constantly getting mixed up and perhaps being one of the most confusing character in the anime adaption. But more on that later on in the third season review.

Some of the characters are anime only, but I think they all were good additions. I like how some of the personalities were developed, especially with the angel with a male and female counterpart. They made such good villains that I didn't expect.


The animation for this series was done by A-1 Pictures, who are also most known for the co-production of Fairy Tail, Uta No Prince Sama (the series with the fan-girling, So much fan-girling it's gotten three seasons.), and Blue Exorcist.

I've seen shows that have been done by A-1 Picutres, and I haven't been disappointed by them yet. The animation for this series was pretty good, giving very cool scenery to work with, and interesting character designs. I really liked how A-1 developed there city of London, and wonder if they traveled to the city themselves just to get extra research.

Each season improve animation quality, and it looks a lot better than it did it's first time around. So plus for improvement!


The score for this series was composed by Taku Iwasaki, who is most known for his scores of Gurren Lagann, Soul Eater, and Jormungand. 

The score for this series is a amazing example of one that can balance light hearted moments and the more creepy side of the scale. there are some amazing suspenseful tracks that could easily belong in a creepy setting. The happy, bubbly tracks do appear as well, and it's a perfect flesh of balance between these two.

The original Japanese was more convenient for me to watch on FUNimation's website, due to it all being free to watch, minus the English dub, which had only four episodes. I didn't mind which version I watched, but Japanese was more convenient. Pretty much, everyone pwned. Enough said.

The Enlgish dub did go the extra mile in adding English accents. This actually works in it's favor, unlike Infinite Stratos, where French and German accents were more forced. All of them are done with convenience, although Soma's accent (as he is from India) doesn't sound nearly as good as Patrick Seitz's attempt at the same feat.

Highlights in the original Japanese are EVERYONE! (Even the guest appearances)

Highlights in the English dub so far are J. Micheal Tatum, Brina Palencia, Monica Rial, R Bruce Elliott, Lydia Mackay, Jerry Jewell, Patrick Seitz, Cherami Leigh, Daniel Fredrick (like Whitney Rodgers, heavily underrated, and deserves more roles), Barry Yandell, John Swasey, Todd Haberkorn, Colleen Clinkenbeard, and Chuck Huber.


This show is clearly under-rated alongside other supernatural shows which may offer worse storylines. This anime while compelling, is also a great thrill ride emotionally and physically, I feel that fans of supernatural, paranormal, and mystery animes will find themselves attached to this anime like a string.

If you don't have enough time to watch this show, you will be charmed by it's OVA's. Some of them give interesting back story, while the others are just mindless fun. 

This show has a reason for being one of my favorites. Not only does it have one of my favorite characters, but it gives such a depth that I had never experienced before. It will give you chills, laughter, and perhaps different emotions.

Score: 10/10


Engaging story.

Fun characters.

Grell. :3

Fantastic soundtrack.

Well-done animation.


Might be too dark for some viewers.

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