Last year at Akon and Animefest, I noticed a plethora of Victorian inspired costumes from Black Butler, an anime I had never seen. Not one to have her finger far from the anime pulse, I vowed to watch Black Butler in its entirety (as well as Hetalia but that’s a different story). Unfortunately, so much came up that Black Butler got pushed to the side and it wasn’t until the urging of a friend that I finally began the anime. Black Butler is one of those shoujo looking anime that is NOT what it seems. Was it good? Read on to find out!
The story revolves around two main characters: the mysterious butler Sebastian and the young Lord Earl Ciel Phantomhive. At first we don’t gather much about either character, aside from hints that Sebastian is not altogether human or why he is partnered with Ciel. As the first season concludes, it’s finally revealed that Ciel’s parents were murdered while he was very young and as a result, he made a pact with a demon asking for vengeance upon those who had disgraced him and the Phantomhive name, in exchange for his soul. This Faustian contract is what binds Sebastian to Ciel and it makes for a very interesting dynamic.
Lord Earl Ciel Phantomhive is a 13-year-old (ish. I forget if they mention how old he is so that’s what I imagine his age to be) member of the royal family of Queen Victoria. He’s cold, slightly rude, and standoffish to everyone except his cousin and fiancée Elizabeth yet his household staff is surprisingly loyal. He singlehandedly runs the Fantum company which manufactures toys and candy and works under Her Majesty the Queen as her “guard dog.”
Sebastian Michaelis is the demon butler Ciel has bound to him in exchange for vengeance. Generally accepted as ridiculously attractive and extremely efficient, Sebastien is the picture perfect butler. This cat lover is sworn to protect Ciel at all costs until the contract is fulfilled, at which time Ciel’s soul is ripe for the taking. Sebastian’s demonic form is never fully revealed but I caught a glimpse of slitted pupils, weird high-heeled boots, claws and crows. Not too shabby.
I am unaware in how well the anime followed the manga and whilst my semi horrid descriptions may put you off on watching it, it was very funny. Like I said, it was not at all the sappy semi homo-erotic tale I thought it’d be and up until the last handful of episodes I really enjoyed it. My favorite characters were neither Ciel or Sebastien but instead the grim reaper, Grell and Ciel’s maid, Mey-Rin. Grell brought many of the laughs I had and even though I had a tough time deciding if Grell was male or female (ultimately it was clear to me she was female), she was hilarious in her unabashed lust for Sebastian. Mey-Rin is clumsy, yet utterly adorable and I thought she was in the anime for far too few minutes.
I didn’t care for either of the opening songs for Black Butler but I LOOOOOOVED the ending song for the first half of the first season. I downloaded it immediately and listen to it on loop. Plus, cute chibis doing random chores to go along with it are always nice! All in all, Black Butler was definitely worth watching so check it out!