Review Friday: Kuroshitsuji II

22 Oct

I debated long and hard about doing a review of this half season of Kuro. Kuroshitsuji is one of my favorite animes and for the holidays I decided to review my top five favorite animes of all time. So you won’t be seeing the first season for another month or so. But I just watched the second season and since it’s only twelve episodes or so and since I didn’t watch anything else I decided to make it this week’s Friday review. THERE WILL BE LOTS OF SPOILERS! So if you haven’t seen it, go watch it.

Kuroshitsuji, or Black Butler, for those of you who have not seen the original anime, is set in Victorian England. It’s about a thirteen-year-old boy whose parents were murdered and burned in their family mansion. The main character Ciel is kidnapped and about to be sacrificed when he’s offered a contract with a demon. The contract states that Sebastian, the demon, will act as Ciel’s butler and help him achieve his revenge. In return, once the revenge is complete, Sebastian gets to eat Ciel’s soul. On top of that, Ciel’s family, the Phantomhives, have long been the loyal servant of her majesty, the queen of England. More specifically, Ciel, like his father before him, is known as the Queen’s Dog; her secret weapon when something goes wrong and the police can’t handle it, especially involving the underworld. So we have a thirteen-year-old boy with a badass demon butler fighting crime while searching for the cultists who killed his parents. It’s actually a fantastic story. The characters are marvelous, the art is lovely and the plots are entertaining and thrilling. I wasn’t crazy about the end as much but that’s probably because it stopped following the manga, which I also love and is ongoing.

So to know the beginning we must first look at the end. Kuroshitsuji ends with Sebastian about to eat Ciel’s soul, after they defeat the people responsible for his parents’ death. Kuroshitsuji II starts with a blond haired brat waking up and starting his day. We quickly understand that he, like Ciel has made a contract with a demon who is acting as his butler. This butler’s name is Claude and they’re relationship is far flatter than that of Ciel and Sebastian. We watch the new boy, Alois Trancy, abuse his servants and generally be a brat until a mysterious traveler comes to the house and steals a box of tea, at which point he’s revealed to be none other than Sebastian himself, carrying Ciel’s body around in a suit case.

After the first episode we watch Ciel do his thing mostly, wondering what the hell happened. We get hints about a ‘Queen’s Spider’ but I’m still not sure what the Spider does. I know it represents the house of Trancy and that it’s linked to Claude but I don’t think they ever mention it after they find Alois. At any rate the two finally meet and form some sort of rivalry thing as the butlers make a contract over Ciel’s soul which is apparently super extra tastey. Here’s how it is: Alois wants to kill Ciel or “make him his” to make Sebastian suffer for killing his brother who made a contract with a demon to kill all the people who were mean to them to make Alois happy. Ciel wants to kill Alois because he thinks he’s responsible for his parents’ death because Sebastian framed him so that Ciel could get revenge a second time since he doesn’t remember anything from the last season. Something to do with the trauma he suffered or something. Sebastian just wants to eat Ciel’s soul and might care about him more than he should. Claude, for whatever reason wants to steal Ciel’s soul and will do pretty much anything to get it.

As always, there are some crazy psychos in the Ciel’s world. We get all of our favorite incompetent, yet lovable Phantomhive staff back as well as our favorite Chinese pervert. However, it’s mostly just Ciel and Alois and Sebastian and Claude going at it. There isn’t enough time for filler. Sebastian seems a bit off in this season to me. Maybe it’s just the threat of losing the soul that he’s raised for three years to that snob Claude. We see a lot more of his feelings for Ciel in this mini season. He actually looks hurt when Ciel banishes him from his sight. I didn’t like Claude or Alois really. Maybe because Alois brought pretty much all his suffering on himself, with the exception of his parent’s deaths I guess. He was pretty much Ciel’s exact opposite. I guess, though, he was really just looking for love. A little clichéd, but I think that was supposed to be his redemption point or something. Really he was just kind of a brat most of the time. Still, he didn’t deserve what Claude did to him. Claude was just a dirt bag. He was too greedy to be a good butler. Maybe it’s just because I automatically compare him to Sebastian who is far superior that he fails so much in my eyes. He was still a pretty worthy opponent for our beloved demon butler though, even if I did want Sebastian to stop fooling around and kill him already from pretty much the start. The thing about it is; we know Sebastian will always prevail. He’s far too awesome to be outdone by some lowlife demon copycat.  So while there’s some suspense in the fight and I can appreciate the choreography and the art of it, I know from experience that Sebastian will prevail.

Just like the last season, Kuroshitsuji II has its sense of humor to keep the story from getting two dark. We get references to last season tossed in there, like Sebastian with the deer head, which is still and always will be amusing.

vector by Bowinn

We also get Grell, the shinigami from last season who is for some reason completely in love with Sebastian. He pops up several times, even stalking Sebastian to take pictures of him. Sebastian, for the first time, uses his super butler charms to get Grell to do whatever he wants. It’s one of the greatest things ever.

One thing that I thought was kind of cool about this season was its two opening sequences. It has one for Ciel and one for Alois. So when an episode opens with Ciel’s sequence we know we’ll be hanging with Ciel, if it’s Alois’s we know we’ll be seeing more of him.

The ending was a weird sequence of events. It involves a maze and a race for Ciel’s soul which has been mixed and taken over by Alois’s soul. It pretty much just answers all the questions we had left over from the season, explaining finally why Sebastian didn’t eat Ciel’s soul and a few other things. I think they were just trying to draw it out a little bit. At any rate, Ciel finally gets his memory back at this time as well and gives Sebastian an order to consume his soul, saying “Until you consume my soul you are still my butler,” which is very important; though I kind of threw it to the side while watching, assuming that he would in fact, win his soul in the end. After they’ve struggled through the maze for a good while, they move on to the demon world after a third demon has made a contract with Alois’s soul so that Claude and Sebastian can fight to the death. Sebastian wins of course but doesn’t get Ciel’s soul, because the contract Alois made was that no one could have it and that Ciel would be reborn as a demon.  And since he’s a demon now and thus has no soul for Sebastian to nom, he’s stuck as Ciel’s butler for all of eternity. He doesn’t seem too broken up about it, though so it’s okay.

All in all the season doesn’t really compare to the original. It’s just kind of a tack-on that can you can survive without seeing. I’m not sure, though, if I want to pretend it doesn’t exist. I mean I love the original season just the way it is and this season, while holding that feel, isn’t nearly as good. That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable, though. It was most entertaining. And I do have to admit that I kind of like the idea of them being together for all eternity. It seems right somehow. Still, I feel bad that Sebastian will never get to eat is super tastey soul.

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Posted by on October 22, 2010 in Reviews


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