I’ve enjoyed doing some reviews on video games. Now I feel like trying my hand at anime while it is still fresh in my mind.

This summer I wanted to take advantage in the opportunity of tasting many stories. As a creative writer, it’s healthy to possess a certain menu of stories to experience. I think highly of anime for it’s originality, and every single one takes me on a journey I do not forget.  This summer I watched an anime in the supernatural, action, comedy, dark fantasy, and black comedy genre…”Black Butler”. Or in Japanese it is “Kuroshitsuji”

I avoided this anime for a long time. Why? I am one of those sorts of people who avoid something because its fans are a bother to me. Everyone’s eyes would get big when “Black Butler” was mentioned at the parties I went to and they’d fangirl over Sebastian like nobody’s business. At conventions, every time we saw a Sebastian my friends would squeal.

Eventually I got over the annoyance of it’s fans and decided to take a look at this myself.

Okay, here is a summary of the basics of the story.

Ciel, a 13 year old English noble is the heir to a family famous for their toy and candy empire. He serves directly under Queen Elizabeth as her “guard dog”. His family was killed in a fire three years ago. Because of this, he made a pact with a demon. The pact is that the demon will serve as his butler until he exacts his revenge on those who killed his family. In return, once the deed is done the demon can eat his soul. This demon is Sebastian.

This may sound like some serious stuff but my first reaction was…I was deeply and utterly amused. I mean…LOOK AT THIS DEMON WORK!

This demon is the most bad-ass butler you can ever imagine. Mouse problem? All the servants scramble to catch the mice with a net but what does Sebastian do? HE CATCHES THEM WITH HIS FISTS! Gunfight outside? All the servants scramble to drive the enemy away but what does Sebastian do? HE PLAYS THE VIOLIN SO HIS MASTER DOES NOT HAVE TO HEAR THE GUNSHOTS!

From me, Sebastian should get a gold medal for his characterization. When writers write about demons, there are usually certain rules involved. It has to be demon-like, you can’t just say he is a demon and then make him an ordinary butler, or give him goals that aren’t demon-like. These writers played by the rules while making Sebastian unforgettable and creative. That is a great feat.

What is creative and unforgettable about the demon Sebastian?

First off, the way they displayed the character is incredibly dark, mysterious, and classy. A tall man with godly posture, gleaming sexy red eyes, dark hair like crows wings. It’s not a wonder why he has so many fangirls. Then again, that is not his true form. But we see very little of what his true form looks like. I think it’s something crow-like…and probably really scary and possibly ugly looking. But it’s okay cause there are far more reasons to love Sebastian other than how the character looks.

Next is the way Sebastian treats others. The way he treats Ciel, his master, is really where all the gold is. Now think of how Sebastian looks, and he is tying the shoe of a 13 year old boy. The image of something so dark and powerful looking bowing to a child is delicious. Not just that but Ciel is no ordinary child. That kid’s soul is made of fire to the core. Picky, clever, and desiring nothing but revenge. As you watch Sebastian obey this kid’s orders, you love him all the more. Baking the child cakes, killing his enemies, taking him out shopping, teaching him to dance, and everything else.

Next and probably most of all is Sebastian’s ability. I can in all seriousness say that there is probably nothing Sebastian can’t do. If Ciel tells him to win a curry making contest, he’s going to win that fucking curry making contest! If something goes wrong, Sebastian fixes it in a flash.

For example, every other servant in Ciel’s mansion (who are interesting characters) SUCK at their job. The cook tried to cook faster by using dynamite as a cooking utensil. The gardener kills everything because he does not know his own strength. The maid is almost blind and trips a lot. Oh, and there is another…more classical looking butler, Mr. Tanaka…but something is wrong with him. He always is in chibi form and drinks tea while having like Santa. HO. HO. HO. Sebastian fixes every mistake these guys make…which is a lot. For example, the maid poured red wine for the guest and wouldn’t ya know…she misses and pours onto the white tablecloth. Sebastian in the moment of a second pulls the tablecloth out from under the table without breaking a thing and without the guest even noticing.

Then there is Sebastian’s personality. He is cool, unpredictable, and all what you expect from a demon…with a quirk or two. For example, he LOVES cats. His cold glare melts at the sight of a kitten and he hugs them and loves them and it’s hilarious. As we know it, Sebastian is thousands of years old, so you imagine it would be hard to surprise he guy. Still, there are many times I think Ciel surprises him. And you know he’s done terrible things in his past, like creating the Black Plague…yeah…that’s pretty bad. His weapon of choice, domestic kitchen silverware. Also he has something he says about every episode, “I’m just one Hell of a butler,” since people keep saying, “You’re no ordinary butler,” and I’m like, “No…he’s a demon!”

Now let me tell you the secret ingredient to this series that made me want to watch more, because it was not Sebastian. It was Ciel and Sebastian’s contract and the bond it caused them to have.

Okay, imagine you can only trust one person in the entire world…and you know that the only person you can trust is also the person who will end your life. That is what Ciel has with Sebastian. As cute and endearing the two characters can be together…their goals are very dark. Ciel wants revenge and Sebastian wants to eat Ciel’s soul.

That is what got me into this series. Sometimes Ciel looks at Sebastian with distrust and fear due to the fact that Sebastian is only being so loyal and amazing in order to get the kid’s soul. And what’s really cool is that sometimes Sebastian gets offers from other people. An angel offers Sebastian tons of souls in order to stop working for Ciel, she says, “You look famished. How long have you gone without a soul?” But Sebastian denies her offer because the only soul he wants is Ciel’s. Why?  Turns out souls filled with hatred, desire, and success in vengeance are hard to come by and are the most delicious out there. And Ciel’s soul is freakin’ full of that.

After learning more about what Sebastian wants in a soul, you begin to really start to understand him.

This anime series deals with more than demons. We also have grim reapers and angels.

I loved the grim reapers. They had really interesting weapons, all have to wear glasses, all have rules they are bond to,  and of course Grell is an unforgettable character. Grell…who I still can’t tell if he is a she or what but Grell is a character that physically embodies all of the Sebastian fangirls out there. Lots of comedy with that character.

I did not like the angels. Not because they were evil. As I mentioned before in writers have rules when putting demons in their story, angels have rules too. These are archetypes of a sort, an angel’s goals needs to MAKE SENSE to an angel, and if not then give them some twisted backstory that makes them not have angelic goals for gods sake! These angels were so evil and I do not understand why the hell they were killing everyone!

There was one plot an angel had that I liked because it was angelic but also evil in a way. The angel tried to twists Ciel’s ambition for revenge, she tried to make him feel at peace for his entire family being murdered in a fire. This also would hurt Sebastian’s contract since he wants a soul burning in vengeance and desire.  It was perfect! But then randomly the angels go bat-shit crazy and kill people. No sense in that, nope.

ALSO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH WRITERS AND THE CHESS CLICHE?! In so many things you have symbolism in characters playing chess. Get a little more original guys! I’m sick of it. Stop for the sake of everything. Hell, have them play checkers…I don’t care as long as it’s not chess!

Black Butler has two seasons. My opinion, end at the end of the first season. The second season has a new flavor I enjoyed but the conclusion was in very bad taste.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

The reason the second season’s end was in bad taste. Ciel becomes a demon himself, immortal. Sebastian is still bound to him as a butler. THE END.

No. Just no. After seeing Sebastian patiently wait on this kid, doing everything in his power just for a mere meal of a delicious soul…and now he is stuck! Again, what makes the show what it is is the knowledge that Sebastian is going to be rewarded in the end with Ciel’s soul. At first, you are a little iffy about that. But as the series goes on…you begin to understand Sebastian and you want that poor demon to get his damn soul!

Heck, when Sebastian heard that Ciel is going to reawaken as a demon…he tried to kill him! When Ciel asks why Sebastian says, “Just to make sure it was true.” But I think he was doing it because he knew it WOULD SUCK!

Also what is the point of Ciel still being alive after he completed his all time goal? He got his revenge last season…what is he going to do with his life now?

If I wrote this, I’d have that kid somehow give Sebastian what Sebastian wanted all along. Besides, the kid does not really have a life anymore without his soul on fire.

Anyway, the first season’s ending was perfect. Just watch that.

Besides, the manga has not finished yet.

SPOILERS END!

So watch it, the first season. The second season was great but after I watched it I had an emptiness inside me and decided it was not worth that ending.

Remember guys, endings are probably the most important part of a story if not just as important as the middle parts. What the audience feels at the end is like a jewel you are handing them to always carry with them to remember your story by.

Black Butler is a great show, great ideas, great everything except the second seasons ending. That’s a real feat! GO WATCH IT!

Advertisements