Welcome and good evening again, ladies and gentlemen! Our series this time Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), originally released as a manga in Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy in 2006 by Toboso Yana. It has since proven popular enough to warrant a two-season anime adaptation, a spin-off video game, two well-scored stage musicals, and an impressive doujin community. For this review, however, I’d prefer to focus on the manga and anime.
Although the two differ in execution, the basic premise remains the same between them: In manor house outside of London, the demon Sebastian Michaelis serves as Earl Ciel Phantomhive’s loyal butler. The two have a contract: In exchange for Ciel’s soul, Sebastian serves as his retainer until the Young Master kills those who slew his parents and sold him on the black market. The Earl, though only twelve when the series opens, is already a captain of industry and a favored subject of Queen Victoria. He lives a double life: By day, he works as the head of the Funtom Toy Company; by night, he serves the Queen as her agent in the London underworld, assisted at all times by Sebastian, who performs his duties with impeccable skill.
What’s the overall result? Well, for me that’s a bit of a tricky question. As of this writing, Black Butler is my “fanboy” series; it’s the kind of thing I like for far fewer reasons than I should because the series happens to hit enough of my favorite story and character elements (Ciel, for example) it its execution. So, bear in mind that my view on things is likely more forgiving of Black Butler than I would normally be. That said… (more…)