Anime Review: Black Butler II Episode 1

(Originally published on Livejournal on 7/24/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
Black Butler II Episode 1

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about.

tl;dr review: Twisted little twelve-year-old master has dark relationship with his butler; Stranger shows up out of the rain and upends the apple cart.

The Skinny: Following the questionable death of his father, young Alois is left the master of an expansive mansion, under the watchful eye of his dark-hearted but loyal butler, Claude. While he may appear all sweet and innocent on the outside, that hides a sadistic personality — a little boy that thinks nothing of gouging the eye out of a maid makes the mistake of looking directly at him. When Alois’ uncle shows up with a priest to help ascertain the true nature of his brother’s death, Alois turns on the charm while managing to belittle his uncle at the same time. Later that night a stranger arrives in the rain carrying a massive case; Alois takes an instant liking to him and invites him inside, despite Claude’s unspoken reservations. Alois leads him, Sebastien, into the cellar to uncover a secret treasure, suddenly Claude attacks and the contents of the case are revealed: a sleeping boy that Claude recognizes as Ciel. Sebastien escapes into the night, reviving Ciel.

My Thoughts: I went into this show expecting to hate it as just another stupid goth P.O.S., but in the end I was left…intrigued. The preview is misleading, Alois turns out to be a real piece of work, a combination of darkness and innocence I did not expect. There’s a whole lot that I don’t understand, because I’m jumping into the middle of a show that already has a full season of backstory. Alois and Claude are totally new, but the first season of Black Butler involved the relationship between Ciel (who supposedly died) and Sebastien, and his sudden appearance is something Claude is definitely unhappy to see. I have no idea what to make of the next episode preview either, which seems to go in another, lighter direction as well. I’m not willing to say this show is “good”, but I’m interested enough to stick around to see what’s going on.

One thing that could turn me off from the show faster than anything else, though, is if the whiff of shonen-ai that permeates the master/servant relationship goes beyond a mere whiff, I’m gone. That’s just all kinds of ooky.

For more info:

Star Crossed Anime Review:
Wikipedia entry:
Official video trailer:

The Verdict:

The tally for Summer 2010 season first episodes so far:
Passing Grade: Ookami-san, Highschool of the Dead, Mitsudomoe, The Occult Academy, Black Butler II
Failing grade: Amagami SS, Sekirei: Pure Engagement, Seitokai Yakuindomo, Strike Witches 2, Shukufuku no Campanella

Up Next (not necessarily in this order): Legend of Legendary Heroes, Digimon Xros Wars, Nurarihyon no Mago, Kurenai, Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail, Sengoku Basara II, Asobi ni Iku yo, Shiki, Cat Shit One

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