From the start we see that Ciel is a boy born into nobility, treating everyone as his inferior. As well as the Queen’s guard-dog, he is also CEO of the Funtom Company, a diverse conglomerate that controls industries through the British Empire. However, because of his age, many think to take advantage of his position, thinking him nothing more than an unaware juvenile. This under-estimation is often to their cost when Ciel deals out his harsh ruling and consequence with a cold ruthlessness that belies a boy his age. He’s kind of like a far more flamboyantly dressed and morally devoid Bruce Wayne. If that basis doesn’t sell this to you then I don’t know what will!
In order to further this analogy that Ciel could be seen as a full on Victorian paranormal-dabbling Batman, the whole plot revolves around the tragedy of his mother and father’s murder and how in his duty to the Queen, he seeks to investigate the culprits responsible. At the heart of all these different factors, what is mostly prominent is Ciel’s relationship with his butler, Sebastian, and their partnership. This is where any likeness to Bruce Wayne ends as Alfred never usurped Batman in the department of ass-kickery, and Sebastian certainly outranks Ciel in every way in this regard.
The terms of how their partnership came into existence is slowly revealed over the course of the series, the details of which I will leave a mystery in order to entice you in. However, it’s clear that Sebastian possesses extraordinary abilities, all at the disposal for his master, to whom he always show complete unflinching loyalty towards. Able to attempt anything and come out indisputably on top, we become curious as to his origins and talents and how he is, to put simply (and to use one of Sebastian’s patented catchphrases) ‘simply one hell of a butler.’
Firstly, it’s one of the few animes that has completely deviated from the source material of the manga (which is usually how most animes begin. For those that are unaware, manga is kind of like a Japanese comic book, so think of animes as on-screen adaptations of the superheroes of Japan). After a little research, the plot remains faithful for the first 15 episodes and then completely diverts into an original, yet enjoyable, tangent from the source content. This allows the anime to bring about a conclusion not even seen in the manga, giving the fans some closure that they can sink their teeth into.
The next part of its charm is the reel of supporting characters, sporting all sorts of various cockney accents (at least among some of them). They provide a great deal of the humour and even the perspective of some normality among the dark, other-worldly themes that preside over the series. And while it’s clear that this is Ciel and Sebastian’s story in the main, we’re given a great insight into the other characters and their origins.
Again I could go on at length why giving ‘Black Butler’ a chance would be nothing short of beneficial, but I am determined to make it to the end of this spoiler-free. So I would say that another very strong aspect that separates this show from a great many others is its writing. Not only is the dialogue intense, stimulating and shows the continuous power dynamic between Ciel and Sebastian, never really giving us the full idea who is truly the master and the servant in their relationship.
And lastly, I will also point out that this is an anime that is aimed for the slightly older, more discerning crowd, in that it has multiple dark and adult themes, small patches of violence, (I’m starting to sound like a weather forecast) and a smattering of sexual overtones. All this and the fact that not every episode is packed with action but rather the build of tension that is resolved a few episodes after. In other words, if you can appreciate a steadier build-up and the immersion into a story then this is one I can’t recommend enough.
If you can think of any other animes you would like me to review or simply ones that you would recommend then please feel free to get in touch @ThatSamWest or @npcityradio but until then, hope you enjoy! If I couldn’t get you to watch this show, then what kind of blog writer would I be?