The raven demon will serve you well.
And then he will consume your soul.
Today ended up being unexpectedly busy, so my allotted time for this entry was eaten up early on. However, I had to post, because not only is it International Women’s Day and Mardi Gras, but today Black Butler Season 1 Part 2 arrives in stores! My dearest, most darling Black Butler, how I love thee. I’m in agony that I couldn’t afford to buy it the moment it was released, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a price drop. What’s so great about this Black Butler, you ask? Oh dear reader, allow me to gush a bit about this brilliant series.
Black Butler, or Kuroshitsuji, is a tale set in Victorian London (a period which I happen to study and love), but this is no stuffy history lesson. Instead it centers around young Ciel, Earl Phantomhive, the lone surviving Phantomhive. His parents died in a tragic fire, and Ciel disappeared for several months. Suddenly he returned, only now he has a tall, dark butler who never leaves his side.
The butler, Sebastian, is most excellent at what he does. He not only keeps order among the other servants of the Phantomhive estate, he also protects Ciel using… inhuman powers. And Ciel needs all of the protection that he can get. Not only does he have no idea who burned down his former estate, killing both of his parents, but he’s also assumed the role passed down through the Phantomhive line for generations: that of the Queen’s watchdog. When Queen Victoria needs the mystery of Jack the Ripper solved, or when she requires assistance in a village with a ghost hound, or when young girls suddenly start disappearing around London, that is when Ciel is brought in to investigate. He does so with a calm coolness that belies his twelve years of age, and Sebastian cheerfully serves him in any way in which the young master chooses. However, that is only part of the bargain: Sebastian is actually a demon, and he will serve Ciel as the boy seeks out revenge against those who have wronged him. But when Ciel accomplishes his goal, Sebastian will eat his soul.
Everything about this series is wonderful. The manga that started it all by the talented Yana Toboso is excellent (volume 5 will be arriving in English on April 26th of this year). The anime is fantastic, one of the best I’ve seen, and one of my absolute favourites. Even the soundtrack is phenomenal, utilizing everything from eerie monk-like chanting to energetic Indian music to quirky songs about rabbits sung in German. Black Butler is chock-full of Gothic Lolita outfits, lavish historical settings, kick-ass fight scenes, and genuine mystery, drama, and humor, with just a hint of yaoi. Not to mention J. Michael Tatum as Sebastian in the dubbed version, who is outstanding. (I have a total otaku fangirl crush on his voice, and will watch any anime that he’s listed in). This is the anime that I just happened to stumble upon last December that made me an anime fan, because as soon as I watched two episodes I knew that this was something special. So for me, it began this entire journey, and I will always hold it dearly in my heart for that.
The first four episodes of season one are currently available to watch on Funimation’s YouTube channel, and all of season two is there (season one being subbed or dubbed, your choice, and season two being all subbed). Watch, read, listen, and love! You won’t regret it.
Rating: ★★★★★ Sebastian alone is worth five stars.