Kuroshitsuji II

March 19, 2011

Remember that talented butler that can do just about anything, if not everything? No, I’m not talking about Hayate Ayasaki but rather Sebastian Michaelis. That’s right. So when Kuroshitsuji II came out last year, the main motivation that tempted me to watch the sequel was to see what awesome, jaw dropping and unbelievable stunts that demon butler could pull off just to satisfy the orders, whims and fancies of his bocchan (young master), Ciel Phantomhive. Uh huh. Not the drama, the horror, the very mild yaoi or even the plot.

Oh who am I kidding. Even if all I wanted to watch were Sebastian’s acrobats, even I had to know what is going on in order to fully comprehend and enjoy why he does so. Based on the events that happened in the first season, it never occurred to me that a sequel would be so soon (actually 2 years later) and the way it ended with a cliff-hanger, things indicated it was left up to viewers’ discretion to think what happened to Ciel. You know, he found the culprit who sullied his family name and was ready to have his soul eaten as part of the contract. Did he or did he not?

Episode 1
So it was quite a little surprise to see that there is a new butler and master taking place. Could this be a new plot and story after all? The new butler is Claude Faustus and you can tell by his emotionless face that he may share the same abilities that Sebastian does. Of course he serves his master, Alois Trancy. Though Alois may seem carefree, he looks like a very cruel kid. Abusing and then blinding one of the eyes of his maid, Hannah Anafeloz! And he’s enjoying it! Though he also has triplets servants (yeah, they look the same alright), Alois is more infatuated with Claude. Just like Ciel, Alois has some sort of dark past (see the bruises on his body?). So painful that I guess the only way to escape was to make a contract with a demon. His contract with Claude is not in his right eye, but on his tongue. Claude also has a catchphrase similar to Sebastian when he acknowledges his master’s orders: “Yes, your highness”. I love this scene when Alois’ uncle plans to visit his nephew. Claude can be seen tap dancing before going into action of setting the table. Incredible! Not a flaw when all the utensils are in the air and land perfectly in place! When the uncle comes, we learn that he is suspicious of Alois. He has reservations about his legitimacy because his nephew was kidnapped soon after birth and his brother (Alois’ dad) went on a crazy search for him. Suddenly one day Alois just appeared out of nowhere claiming to be the heir of the Trancy household and soon his brother died a mysterious death. Remember that annoying Druitt? Yeah, he’s back (accompanying Alois’ uncle) and more annoying than ever. So this proves that this sequel isn’t another spin-off story. After dinner, the uncle leaves and Alois I guess for fun, throws all the money he has so that money-faced uncle starts scrambling to get everyone on them. Money talks, eh?

During that stormy night, a mysterious visitor pays a visit to the Trancy’s mansion. Alois thinks it would be interesting so he lets the heavily cloaked man in to stay. In the guest room, Alois is interested to know the contents of his luggage so the man makes a deal to show him the basement. There, the finds a little box labelled “New Moon Drop” but suddenly Claude attacks him. And tadah! That guy is Sebastian! He’s back. In the suitcase is unconscious Ciel! Alois seems to take an interest on Ciel and commands Claude to capture him. Sebastian makes his escape when he knocks out the lights. Alois cowers in fear and orders Claude to stay with him while the other servants are ordered to hunt down Sebastian. At a safe distance, Sebastian opens the little box to reveal Ciel’s family blue ring. He puts it on his fingers and Ciel wakes up.

Episode 2
I thought in the previous season, many of the characters died. Apparently not because Ciel’s servants, Meirin, Bard and Finny are still alive. Even Lau and his doll Ranmao. With Ciel back, we see him opening a newly built bridge. To bring moe into this episode, Elizabeth is back and is hounding Ciel to go on a hunt to find the legendary white deer. I’m sure he has learned not to make his fiancee cry. And Lau is taking bets whether they find it or not. A funny part was when Ciel and Elizabeth stopped for a break and lunch. Sebastian was going to prepare the exquisite delights but finds the food in the basket has been replaced by livestock! After reprimanding the 3 servants as the culprit, Sebastian manages to make mouth-watering and sumptuous dishes with what he has. In a flash! Just wow. As they continue, storm starts to build up. It gets worse so Ciel wants to call off the search but Elizabeth remains stubborn. As expected, she gets into trouble and clings on for dear life on the boat while the strong currents threaten to wash her away if she slips up. Ciel orders Sebastian to hold the dam while he goes save Elizabeth (because he feels it is his responsible – sometimes this kid can be a man too sometimes). However Sebastian breaks it instead, causing water the gush in. Ciel manages to grab Elizabeth and the next time he opens his eyes, he is in the arms of Sebastian. After Elizabeth comes rushing to hug him and apologize for everything, Ciel learns Sebastian did so was to change the shape of the river to its natural path so it will never flood again. Then the gang spots the white stag. Well, not really. Turns out to be formation of white rocks on the surface that looks like one. So all is well, ends well.

Episode 3
There have been cases of women suddenly bursting into flames. Yikes! The Queen has Ciel to look into it and since Scotland Yard’s Randall refuse to give Ciel any information, he goes to Undertaker. The only clues are ashes of the victims but their ashes seem to sparkly shine. At the funeral of the recent victim, Ciel notices the same glittering substance coming out from the wife of the photography shop, Margaret Turner (looks more like a fat, old and ugly version of Saber). Further investigations reveal that all victims had 2 things in common: They are newlyweds and have taken their photos at Turner Photographers. When they head to the photography shop, it seems Margaret has run out of control. She’s burning everyone (including her husband) by sprinkling the substance and snapping flashes of her camera! At least it saves them the trouble of needing to reveal the culprit. I’m not sure about the workings about magnesium and how they cause this so I’m not going to think further. As Margaret goes on a rampage, that gay Shinigami makes his appearance. Hello, Grell. Still loving our Sebastian boy? Hey, he’s got his chainsaw back. Surprisingly, Ciel doesn’t know who Grell is. Ciel follows Margaret up to Big Ben (that famous London clock tower) and reveals she was doing this just to find her elusive happiness as mentioned by some guy with gold eyes. Seeing young girls get married got her jealous? No wonder she became fat, old and ugly. Sebastian and Grell team up to put a stop to her before she finally perishes by her own flames. Later Ciel learns that there have been previous cases but the Queen requested the Trancys to investigate it, thus the classification of information on it. Sebastian tells Ciel about the Trancy’s head who died 3 years ago and was taken over by his son, Alois.

Episode 4
Ciel and Sebastian board a train on yet another case sent by the Queen. They observe lots of weird stuff and people on it. A guy infatuated with reading train schedules, a priest with a tattoo, and archaeologist, a temperamental Japanese guy and his wife who loves offering her food. Seems there is a panicky guy onboard with a bag of ransom money to secure the release of his kidnapped son. Then the people starts panicking when they learn there is a serial murderer onboard (though chained and under heavy security) and what they thought to be cholera breaks out when the Japanese wife and inspector starts acting pain. Ciel then recognizes the kidnapper to be one of the train wardens because of the scar on his hand. The kidnapper goes to the last coach and disconnects it but Sebastian was fast enough to make him spill the beans about the bomb in the train will go off if it ever stops. Sebastian kicks the kidnapper away and rushes to the runaway train. Believe me, he can run faster than the train. Meanwhile Ciel finds the kidnapped boy hidden in the mummy case but he was taken hostage by the serial killer (so much for tight security). As the train is headed for a broken bridge, all the weird characters chip in to plan and help do their part. But they are dismissed by Sebastian because he alone will be enough. So much for the anticipated teamwork. Sebastian rips off the roof of the dining coach (where the bomb is) and throws it away. Yeah, saves time of dismantling it. Then he uses his bare hands to stop the train to a grinding halt just inches before the broken bridge! AMAZING!!! When everything is settled, one of the passengers in the train is revealed to be Claude. He invites Sebastian and Ciel to the Trancy’s household.

Episode 5
We learn that Ciel has lost his memories. So it makes sense why he doesn’t remember things that happened in the previous season. So how far has he forgotten? Let’s just say he still thinks his aunt Madam Red is still alive. Wow. That’s really far. That prince Souma and his servant Agni make their appearance here and the prince becomes some emotional cry-baby because he can’t stand it that Ciel doesn’t remember him. Plus, Sebastian did tell the others about Ciel’s memory lost and to hold it in and play along. As the whole jin-jang gang are invited to Trancy’s mansion for a party, during the ball, a woman accidentally spills on Ciel’s clothes. She takes him somewhere to dry his clothes. She teases him and takes off his eye-patch before running off. Ciel gives chase and his head starts to hurt after experiencing fleeting memories at the basement (events of the first episode). Outside, Ciel meets that woman again. He knows she is Alois in disguise. Claude and the triplets servants appear and so does Sebastian. Alois wants Ciel to be his and warns him if he doesn’t, all the guests in his mansion will die. Has Ciel really cared for anyone before? I don’t really remember but even if he did, now isn’t the moment. Yup, he refuses Alois. Alois orders Claude to capture Ciel while Ciel commands Sebastian to protect him no matter what. Clash of 2 absolute orders. Somebody has to fail, right?

Episode 6
Hannah appears to put up some sort of entertainment for the guests but her weird armonica instrument is hypnotizing the guests into mindless zombies and causing them to turn on Ciel’s acquaintances. Of course they put on a good fight. Sebastian fights the triplets and beats them when sounds of the armonica reach outside. Sebastian rushes towards the mansion with Ciel in his arms. Just when the gang are being overwhelmed, suddenly the attacks stop because Sebastian is seen countering the armonica’s demonic sounds with his glass crystal. Holy! He’s damn good so much so the armonica itself is destroyed! How can a man-made demon instrument beat the real demon himself? Everyone returns to normal and applauds Sebastian’s performance (don’t they feel any pain after getting hit then?). At that time Alois and Claude comes in to make their presence to everyone. Sebastian and Claude are given one last chance to get it right by their respective masters. Outside at the lake, both demon butlers duke it out. Imagine, fighting on water so much so they make Jesus walking on water look like child’s play. And the way they use their kicks to create strong current waves, they have got to be the demon versions of Moses. During the fight, we learn that Sebastian is unable to eat Ciel’s soul because it became void. At the cliff-hanger of the final episode in the previous season, Sebastian was about to when Claude snatched Ciel away. However Claude could not eat Ciel’s soul because it was incomplete (he forgotten his memories so in a way renders the ‘flavour’ of the soul incomplete). So both butlers make a pact in some blood-dripping-rose ceremony. Sebastian will make Alois Trancy as the target for Ciel’s revenge so that his soul can be completed.

Episode 7
Ciel and Sebastian are invited to Trancy’s household again. Ciel initially rejected it but changes his mind to go after he found clues (made up, that is) about his parent’s murder. He intents on killing Alois. Upon arrival, Alois has prepared for their servants to fight on a giant chessboard while they watch. And yeah, Druitt is there too. Wouldn’t it be unfair to have Sebastian against Claude, Hannah and the triplets? Err… Is Sebastian seriously going to take them all with just a kitchen knife? But heck, we get a feeling Hannah is a demon because Claude pulls out a demon sword, Laevatein from her throat! Same feeling about the triplets because they got impaled in the head by Sebastian’s spear and are still walking fine afterwards. Their fights take a break when it is tea time. But even so it is still a battle for the butlers as they try to outdo each other to make their master’s the most delicious dessert ever. Druitt has a taste of both and goes into total ecstasy so much so he has to excuse himself to the toilet. As the butlers resume their battle, Alois takes Ciel to tour the mansion. I mean, you’re going to get bored seeing demons who can’t die fighting each other. It’ll last for eternity! Inside a room, Alois challenges Ciel to a sword fight. Ciel thinks he could cheat and stay ahead but Alois too knows what he is thinking. Alois is going to strike Ciel who is pinned down on the floor but Ciel surprises him by grabbing his blade. The butlers sense something amiss, stop their fight and rush to their masters. When they arrive, they see Ciel has stabbed Alois, though just the side of his stomach. Alois is writhing in pain and begging for mercy. Heartless Ciel is going to kill him anyway but is stopped by Claude. He slaps the butler. Claude tastes the blood from Ciel’s hand and experiences ecstasy so much so he couldn’t hear his master’s order, like in some sort of trance. Sebastian takes Ciel away and escapes so they’ll have to finish their fight some other day.

Episode 8
Though Alois survives that ordeal but his wound is quite serious. He doesn’t want Hannah to change his bandages and only Claude. Alois isn’t happy when Claude seems to indicate that he prefers Ciel’s blood to his. Later Alois throws up a tantrum and orders Hannah to take him to Ciel. Flashback reveals Alois’ real name is Jim McCain and was a poor orphan living along the rural area with his brother Luca. Alois wished the entire village would die because he is sick of them getting bullied every day. Luca believes Alois could do so and bows down while saying “Yes, your highness”. The next day, everyone in the village really died, making Alois really happy. As they scavenge the dead for their belongings, Alois becomes dismayed when he sees Luca’s lifeless body. He lost everything. His parents, everyone he knew and now his brother. Now he is truly alone. Many years later, Alois and several other young boys are gathered to the Trancy’s head. This old guy is some sort of a shotacon. I mean, paedophile. What difference does it make? The head is disgusted with Alois and rejected him. Then Alois heard about some process to summon a wish-granting ‘fairy’ and that’s when he met Claude but couldn’t find a reason to make a contract with him. Alois used his sex appeal to win over the head and soon contracted with Claude. That was when Claude told him that the village was destroyed by Sebastian from orders by Ciel, thus his interest in that kid peaked in him so that he could hunt him down and make him suffer as revenge for Luca. In present, the carriage crashes as Grell is here to take his soul. Hannah fends him off while Alois crawls away. He could’ve been a wolf’s meal if Claude didn’t appear to save him. Alois is happy to see him and wants him more than anything else. But Claude is disgusted by his affection and kills him! Oh sh*t! He can do that?! Claude takes Alois’ ring and seems to have put his soul into it for he thinks there is still use of him. Later Hannah goes over to Alois’ lifeless body and takes out his eye (revenge?) but seems to be grieving over him.

Episode 9
Ciel receives another request from the Queen. This time, victims seem to have one of their eyes gauged out and the culprit closely resembles the traits of Alois, believed to be already dead. During their rounds, they come under attack so Sebastian puts Ciel in a crate (seriously?!) while he handles the menace. Turns out to be a new Shinigami Ronald Knox (lawn mower as his weapon?) and William. Ciel starts to remember life in a box (no pun intended) and remembers some of his lost memories though they’re still hazy. Annoyed by Sebastian ordering him, he busts out and runs off looking for his butler. But he sees a person that resembles closely to Alois and turns his attention after him. When the police come by, Ciel is shocked to find that the police arrest him as they think he is Alois! This doesn’t help since Hannah is there and mentions about that mental trauma thingy. Yeah, she has her lost eye done in by Alois to make her case. I’m not sure about psychiatrist’s treatment that time because to rid of Ciel’s confusion, they have him undergo some torture. Later all the doctors in the facility are killed by Claude who masquerades as a doctor to plant fake memories into Ciel’s mind so much he thinks he is Alois. He uses Alois’ ring and reveals Luca made a contract with Sebastian to burn down the village. Sebastian could’ve arrived and saved his bocchan if not for Hannah stalling him. Though he manages to defeat her, he arrives too late because Ciel orders Sebastian to get out of his sight. Because in reality Sebastian is contracted to Ciel and cannot disobey him, he has no choice to leave, much to Claude’s delight. Claude takes Ciel back to Trancy’s mansion as his new master but Sebastian isn’t going to let this slip through his fingers. Woah. Is he going to transform into his true self? Too bad, we can’t see what it is either.

Episode 10
Sebastian can only watch from afar due to that order. While Claude serves Ciel, he is annoyed by the latter’s orders and tries to have him make a new contract with him but he refuses. Gay Grell wants to take pictures of his Sebby-chan but Grell can even tell his demonic aura means that he is in no mood to play. Sebastian has Grell uncover details about the Alois’ village that burnt down. They discover a lone woman survivor who witnessed the village’s massacre and survived because she was the only who showed Luca kindness. Before she could reveal more, she was taken out by the triplets (of all times, now?). Sebastian and Grell team up once more to kill off the triplets for good. Their Cinematic Records show that they were present when the village burnt down. Then Sebastian becomes totally enraged when he sees Hannah embracing Ciel. His demon aura is burning bigger! Ciel wants Claude to clean up some mess he made instead of Hannah. In his room, Ciel feels of returning to his own mansion when Hannah tells him to look into her mouth. Ciel sees an eye inside and freaks out and faints. Not only that, he saw himself from that eye of Alois. Meanwhile Sebastian confronts Claude outside. Both sides dissolve the pact they made and begin to fight. They hear Ciel calling Sebastian from atop a clock tower. However Sebastian isn’t violating Ciel’s orders because he is now Alois who has taken over Ciel’s body as he taunts him that he will fall over if he doesn’t come.

Episode 11
As Hannah appears before the butlers and explains that they will have to traverse the maze of his heart to reach him. Ciel imprisoned in his mind goes through the memories of Alois. Though Ciel starts to remember events that have happened, Alois is struggling to keep him in control. Both butlers begin their question-and-answer task in which a correct answer will enable them to stamp on the card and move on while a wrong one has a trap befall on them. Seems the truth of each question has been modified to what Alois deems to be true and has given Claude a head start. The more Ciel starts to remember like his revenge being completed, the maze also slightly modifies towards Ciel. Some questions reveal important points like the reason Sebastian couldn’t eat Ciel’s soul then was because Claude ripped his arm then. The mark of their contract was on it so at that moment, the contract was void and a chance for Claude to steal Ciel’s soul. Also, the reason Claude killed Alois was because he was just using him as a tool to obtain Ciel. This answer devastates Alois though Claude is sent back to the beginning of the maze. As Alois cries in Hannah’s arms, it is revealed that Luca actually contracted with Hannah then (the triplets were her servants). She found Luca’s soul to be different from the rest (he was the first person who thanked her for destroying the village) and has grown attached to him. So when Luca’s wish for the village to be destroyed was met, Hannah ate his soul though she felt sad about it. Thus she wanted to serve Alois because he resembles closely in a way to Luca. Hannah wants Alois to make a contract with her so that he could be reunited with Luca inside her. At that time Sebastian and Claude reunite at the final hurdle and Ciel takes back his body. Claude thinks it is over when Ciel sees Sebastian but instead he orders him to eat his soul but until then be his butler. Sebastian gladly obliges. Alois quickly takes control of the body as he finally realizes the one who truly loves him. He is going to make a pact with Hannah as the butlers do away with their hostility and race up the tower. When they reach inside, Alois mentions all he wanted was Claude’s love before fainting. Hannah reveals she has made a new contract with Ciel and Alois.

Episode 12
Hannah has the butlers row then to an island. Hannah makes them fight a duel to a death using Laevatein with the winner having the rights to obtain Ciel’s soul. Both butlers take their battle outside since both aren’t making headway in the cave. Ciel and Alois are chatting and the latter apologizes for using him for his own selfish reasons. The battle ends in Sebastian favour when the rock Claude lands on gave way and allowed Ciel to stab him. Sebastian mentions Claude has been played by Alois without realizing it all along so in his last words, Claude acknowledges Alois. Seems that was what Alois wished for when making the contract with Hannah. Alois realizes Claude has been defeated as his soul disappears. As Sebastian goes to claim Ciel, Hannah reveals something shocking before diving down the cliff with Ciel. Sebastian dives down and underwater tries to kill Ciel. Hannah washes up and lies next to Claude’s lifeless body. Noting that she, Claude, Alois and Luca can be together forever from now on before the waves engulf them. Some time later back at Ciel’s mansion, Sebastian continues being his butler. Looks like Ciel’s eye has turned demon-like! It is revealed that a condition of fulfilling Alois’ wish, Ciel’s soul must not be attainable by either butlers and thus be reborn a demon. As a result, Sebastian cannot eat his soul but must continue being his butler because of the contract he made. Sebastian goes around handing farewell gifts to all the characters they know and hands the mansion to Ciel’s servants. I’m not sure where they are going but a place where humans and demons are equals, Sebastian with Ciel in his arms jumps off the cliff into the darkness unknown.

Better The Devil You Know
Gosh. The ending was such a tragedy for everyone even if Ciel didn’t die in the end. The twist that Ciel became a demon actually caught me off guard. Though this season is shorter, it is darker, grimmer and mainly focused on Sebastian and Ciel. There weren’t any developments or improvements in their relationship as it all boils down to a competition to devour Ciel’s soul that the demons find it ‘tasty’. It was such an ironic situation that Ciel has been lifted by his curse of getting his soul devoured but in exchange it is Sebastian who is cursed into having to be his butler forever. And he became a butler and did every chore to perfection and utmost satisfaction of his bocchan just to obtain his soul in the end. And now all the tasks he seems to do, he’s got that unsatisfied look on his face. Each answer of “Yes, my lord” brings that depressing look on his face. Each time obeying his master’s orders, knowing the fact that he will not attain his soul. Forever. Man, that has got to be a long time. Maybe they could make another contract between demons like how Sebastian and Claude did? Yeah, like Ciel would want to do that. Why go all the trouble of doing something yourself when you have someone to do it for you whether he likes it or not. Even if Ciel has lost his memories or recovered them, he never changes and is still the same cold kid.

Alois himself have a pitiful past but I feel that he and the others who died got the other better end of the deal as they get to be together whether or not it turns out to be true but at least they don’t have to carry on something that lasts for eternity. At first Alois seemed like an ungrateful bastard because he didn’t appreciate all that Hannah did. Even if he was never fond of her in the beginning, he never kicked her out so it probably showed that he still needs her. All Alois ever wanted was to be loved after being alone for a big part in his life. Hannah may seem gentle but she herself is sly and made those butlers fight among themselves over Ciel. In the end, it was all for her love for Luca and Alois. As compared to Sebastian, Claude seems more like a perfectionist because he does criticize Sebastian’s work whenever he slips up a little like those little stains (barely naked to the human eye, that is). He is also crueler than Sebastian since he has no qualms in abandoning his master for the sake of his ultimate goal.

As for the other characters, I felt they were redundant and could have been done without in the first place. However I guess the few filler episodes in the first half of the series was meant to tell us that they’re still around. They didn’t do anything much to contribute in this season because as I have said, it is mainly about Sebastian and Ciel. Souma has been reduced to someone who is seen crying for every time he makes his appearance while Tanaka doesn’t appear in his chibi form. Ciel’s servants didn’t get to show off their skills or put them into use here but heck, we know what they are. New characters also don’t make an impact like that Ronald guy and that comical inspector that turns out to be the late Abberlain’s twin brother. Other minor supporting characters that appeared in the previous season such as William, Undertaker and what’s-her-name-again maid to Elizabeth made cameo appearance but were forgettable. Some minor characters like those weirdoes on the train and the lone survivor of the slaughtered village made me think that they would play some role somewhere but it all went up in smoke because it was either just hullabaloo in the end or got killed off. Because of that I always kept wondering what happened to them in the end. Not that it had any significant bearings to the story. Grell is still the one providing the most comic relief but it’s too bad Sebastian can never be his forever. Considering borrowing him? On second thought, don’t make that ‘cheated’ butler mad.

There were certain events that I don’t understand such as the New Moon Drop and how it could recover Ciel. Unless it was just the soul of Ciel trapped in the ring placed in that box. Then the case of the human combustion, I wonder how that woman got to shower magnesium just about everywhere in the city. What about the man with the golden eye she mentioned? Who is he? Also the secret contract that Sebastian and Claude made to make Alois the enemy of Ciel for him to seek revenge. What is in it for Claude when he agreed to let Alois be the target? I’m sure he is going to say Ciel’s soul will be his after and if he gets his revenge because Sebastian too is after it and won’t hand it to him. Maybe both are just playing along and so yeah, even in the end that pact is severed. As the casts of the characters from last season were retained, it is delightful to see Aya Hirano taking up the role as Hannah. After hearing lots of her roles, I guess it’s no surprise that I could recognize her. However in a way Hannah seems to remind me of another character Aya Hirano voiced in another anime: Garnet of Dragonaut The Resonance. Don’t both characters almost look similar? Just that Hannah isn’t a badass nor has oversized boobs (though Hannah herself is quite busty). If Aya Hirano doesn’t bring the surprise, I guess it is Nana Mizuki’s turn to surprise me because she was the voice behind Alois. I admit I haven’t been hearing her voices lately but to hear her voice this character it sure was sure unexpected. And Marina Inoue as Luca? Not that I’m familiar with her roles as young boys in Hayate No Gotoku’s Wataru or Yakitate! Japan’s Kanmuri, you know.

There was an OVA episode released back in October 2010 and is called Ciel in Wonderland. Yup, it’s a parody of Alice in Wonderland. In this first OVA that features characters from only the first season and the plot bearing no relation to the story. It all began when Ciel spots Sebastian sprounting rabbit ears and tail. He follows him and ends up falling into a rabbit hole. Thus his adventure as ‘Alice’ begins like meeting door mice Elizabeth and her maid. They have a tea and Elizabeth grows into an inconsolable giant after eating a weird cake. Next, Ciel meets his servants as nonsense-spouting boat rowing people. A giant puppy causes a wave and makes Ciel fall into the water. Somehow he didn’t drown and finds himself in a wagon on shore. Since he is wet and there is not clothes, he has not choice but to dress in that girly dress as seen in the first season. Turtle Druitt spots him and takes a liking, trying to hit on him. They started dancing as a large crowd gathers. Druitt spins too much and has Ciel thrown faraway into the sky. He crashes into the palace of ‘Duchess’ Souma and his ‘maid’ Agni who is obsessed of making curry bread with black pepper. Grell as the Cheshire Cat is creepy yet hilarious. Ciel has a taste of Agni’s curry bread and soon turns into a giant wearing the Eifel Tower, crumbling the palace down. Then he meets the lizard police Abberlain who persuades Ciel to eat a candy.

I don’t know what happened to that candy thingy because in OVA 2 (which was released in March 2011), Ciel continues his journey through the grass. Probably he shrinked. So this chase over Sebastian has gotten Ciel into a whole lot of mess and humiliation, eh?. Yeah, now he is one hell of a white rabbit. Ciel meets the Lau the caterpillar and his Ranmao the mushroom. Ranmao shoves Ciel’s face into her boobs which turns him into an adult, then a toddler before to his normal self. When Ciel mocks him he doesn’t know where Sebastian went, Lau decides to show his true powers. I’m not sure if that means Ranmao sprouting wings and taking Ciel to soar in the sky. Ciel falls from the sky into the woods to meet Grell the Cheshire Cat (oh no! Not again). Ciel wants to which direction to take since the path splits to either Mad Hatter or March Hare. Grell goes on ranting about his homo preferences till Ciel mentions about wanting to meet Sebastian simply because he is his butler. Then the woods open a path of those filled with dead trees so Ciel heads straight into it. He ends up at the tea party of Mad Hatter (Undertaker) and March Hare (William). Ciel is tired of Undertaker’s magic tricks of showing bits of memories via his overflowing tea and oversupply of sugar cubes. Demanding to know where Sebastian is, the make him take a quiz but since it is a trick question, they end up laughing at him. Ciel decides to go meet the queen, speaking of which, the carriage arrives and the trio servants bring him over. He arrives via flying train (like Galaxy Railways) and the next thing he knows he is in some sort of trial in the queen’s chamber. The Queen of Hearts (Madam Red) declares Ciel guilty and wants him executed on the spot. Off with his head! Ciel objects and demands to do a proper trial. They call forth several witnesses that include Elizabeth, the trio servants, Souma, Abberlain, Ash and even Madam Red herself. Each saddened that they lost something and pinpointing the blame on Ciel. Finally Undertaker shows him more of his memories via his teacup (footages from the TV series). This causes Ciel to be in doubt of his identity and that he doesn’t remember in the first place. Thus Madam Red pronounces him guilty and wants him executed. Ciel maintains he is innocent but the rest demand him to show proof. Then he hears the sound of Sebastian so he affirms his own identity and orders Sebastian to get him out of here. Sebastian crashes down from the roof to carry Ciel off in his arms while dispatching the guards. On the way out, he mentions that Ciel didn’t need proof and all he needs to do was just give an order. Back in the real world, seems Sebastian is reading a storybook to sleeping Ciel.

There is another OVA called Welcome To The Phantomhive Family. Elizabeth’s sister pays a visit to Ciel’s mansion. A big portion of the viewing angle comes from the eyes of the nameless, faceless and dialogue-less sister. Nameless because will never know what her real name is. Faceless because we’ll never get to see her true full face. And dialogue-less because you’ll never hear her even huff a single breath. She is shown around the mansion with great hospitality by Sebastian like the several rooms and the other characters occupying it as guests for tonight’s ball. During tea, she accidentally spills tea on her dress so Sebastian is ordered to give her a new change of dress. I can’t believe that Sebastian can swiftly do the job of changing a lady’s dress even blindolded! Later we learn that this ‘sister’ is actually an assassin hired by some family to assassinate Ciel and Sebastian. As she meets up with Elizabeth in a room, a sleeping gas knocks them out. Seems like Druitt in a mask kidnaps her. Ciel and Sebastian learn of it and the former orders the butler to rescue her. Druitt is with the lady on his cruise ship ranting about his destined love. Probably something we’re not interested to know. Sebastian crashes the party so Druitt threatens to take their own lives. Grell busts in and warns him that lady isn’t to die till tomorrow. A short battle ensues and ultimately it is Druitt who is thrown off the ship. Then William comes by and reprimands Grell for mistaking this lady to die since he got the wrong person due to the slight difference in their name’s spelling. Then back at the mansion, she is given some time to rest. But she wakes up and sneaks into Ciel’s room and finds him sleeping. She takes out her dagger but is quickly interrupted by Sebastian. He knows before hand who she is. She tries to attack but Sebastian’s grip is too strong so she drops her knife. Ciel wakes up and sees her. He apologizes for all that has happened and invites her to follow him. In a room, seems that everyone is throwing her a surprise party (though Sebastian notes that this may be a false date that she fed to Elizabeth but this is a special day not only for Elizabeth but the Phantomhive family as well). After Sebastian sings her a happy birthday song (leaving out her name), the ball starts as Sebastian dances with her. She wonders why he didn’t kill her so he mentions about his job as a butler to gracefully oversee this ball and not taint it with blood. Plus, Ciel did order him to treat her with hospitality. Sebastian ‘warns’ her that if she returns to kill his master, he will show no mercy and kill her but if she returns as a guest, he will offer his best hospitality. She agrees. At the end when she leaves in a carriage with Elizabeth, she gives up her assassin job and throws her knife out. Better this way. You don’t want to know the odds you’re going against with a demon butler.

The whole TV series can be summed up as one gloomy affair even if there are light hearted moments, the dreary feel of the atmosphere, music and plot stands out more. But still I give Sebastian the thumbs up for entertaining me with his super stunts that no other ordinary butlers can pull off and those poetic narrations he gives during the next episode preview. Yeah, he wouldn’t be much of a Phantomhive’s butler if he couldn’t do just that. I must say that he really does have a penchant for using kitchen knives as his arsenal. Why not? Light and easy to carry about hidden beneath the suit. Otherwise you may be mistaken for a ninja if you threw or wield a kunai. So Hayate, maybe you can learn a thing or two from this butler to serve your oujo-sama (who am I kidding? Due to the difference in genre, I’m sure he too can pull off unbelievable feats). And about my wish about having a butler? I think I would prefer a cute maid instead. No yandere kind please. “Kuromeido (Black Maid) at your service, goshuujin-sama!”.

Kuroshitsuji

October 29, 2010

Initially I didn’t want to watch Kuroshitsuji because I thought it was one of those yaoi themed animes. However after giving in to my curiosity that the super butler here can do just about anything than the ordinary one, I realized that there is none of such element and unless you really wish to see that, it is very, very subtle. How the heck did I ever conclude that this was a yaoi genre in the first place? Beats me.

That said butler is Sebastian Michaelis. If you think the debt-ridden butler in the name of Hayate Ayasaki can pull off major stunts to protect and service his oujo-sama, Sebastian will overshadow that and make Hayate look more like a baby in comparison. If Hayate’s skills are comedy and exaggeration-driven, then Sebastian is because he’s a demon. Woah. You heard that right. No wonder he makes the impossible possible. So in nearly every episode, you can hear Sebastian’s trademark lines of “Yes, my lord” and “Because I am one hell of a butler” (watashi ga akuma de shitsuji desu kara). Yeah, the double meaning in hell there. Also notice this frequent line, “Where would we be if one who serves as a Phantomhive butler could not (insert action here whether possible or not)”. You get the point.

Sebastian is the ever-useful butler to a 12 year old kid named Ciel Phantomhive. Though Ciel may seem distant, cold, unfriendly acid-tongue and never smiles, don’t put him down because he is the head of the Phantomhive estate and the Funtom Company that is the lead manufacturer of toys and sweets in the 18th century Victorian-era setting of England. How did he end up like there? You see, Ciel bears a tragic past of his family murdered and original mansion burnt down to the ground. His eye-patch on his right eye hides a pentacle which signifies a contract he has made with the demon (Sebastian) to do whatever his master orders him to, no matter how dangerous or silly, whether he likes it or not without complain and fail. Yeah, only a demon can pull such things off. That mark on Ciel’s eye also serves as a location marker that will allow Sebastian to find him wherever he is. Till his parents’ murderers are found, Sebastian must abide every word Ciel says as part of the contract and when Ciel’s goal achieve, Sebastian will have his soul. Well, what has he got to lose after going through so much anyway.

Episode 1 sees Sebastian singlehandedly doing and correcting all chores in the Phantomhive mansion with much grace and elegance so much so you’d wonder why Ciel hired other servants. We have a clumsy bespectacled maid with an equally ‘sick’ fantasy Meirin, a cook that always over burns his cooking Bard, a super strong gardener Finny and an old butler geezer Tanaka who is always seeping tea and in chibi form with chortling as his only form of dialogue in this mode. Seriously, why does Ciel need them if has Sebastian. The gang are to receive a guest named Damian so leave it to Sebastian to clean up and improvise the disaster the other servants make. Seems Damian has an ulterior motive himself. He is trying to swindle Ciel’s money from the factory he has sold. Of course Ciel is sharp and just like Jigoku Shoujo’s Enma Ai, Sebastian has Damian go through horrifying ordeals like getting lost in the mansion, seeing ghostly visions and one whereby he is getting cooked in an oven as dessert! Just short of sending him to hell. Damian’s mind starts going crazy seeing that the board game he played with Ciel earlier on is coming true like losing his leg and being incinerated. In the end, he manages to flee with his life though limping pathetically out of the mansion. It’s a sign he won’t be back or mess with this kid and his butler anymore.

We are introduced to more characters like Ciel’s aunt, Angelina AKA Madam Red (because she likes that colour, duh), her bungling butler Grell Sutcliff, and a Chinese noble heading a British branch of a Chinese trading company, Lau and his hot personal assistant (or play doll perhaps?), Ranmao. Because Ciel’s servants are too noisy trying to catch mice in the mansion, he heads off for somewhere quiet but got kidnapped instead (must be some insulting remarks Ciel said during a meeting earlier on). Sebastian did not panic when he realized his master is gone but remains calm and even managed to avoid snipers aimed at him! Ciel on the other hand is calm because he knows he has a trump card even though he gets beaten up by the mob boss. Sebastian corners the fleeing snipers and manages to get them to spill details about their boss’ hideout. I don’t know if they died after that because Sebastian let their car fall off the cliff. And it goes to show that quality beats quantity because with all the hundreds of goons the mob boss orders to prevent Sebastian from coming him, the butler still makes his way in and takes out every damn one! Guns vs kitchen utensils. Can you believe the latter wins? Of course in the hands of the devil. Though the mob boss plays dirty and has his men shoot Sebastian but he regenerates and wipes them out. Sebastian is fast enough to knock him out before pulling the trigger the gun he is pointing at Ciel. Has Ciel ever felt threatened at any point? Sebastian carries Ciel home.

Madam Red requests Ciel to take in Grell in episode 3 in hopes her useless butler can learn a thing or two. We also learn that Tanaka can transform into his normal old butler self and talk like normal. However he can only last in this form for 3 minutes before reverting back to his useless chibi self. WTF. During his ‘short tenure’, he explains to the young servants how this mansion is a replica of the original one that burnt down few years ago and also took the lives of Ciel’s parents. When Ciel and Sebastian return from retrieving the former’s walking cane, Ciel is disheartened to see Elizabeth Middleford (Yukari Tamura sure makes her totally cute and moe). Who is she? Ciel’s fiancee. How can an over-lively girl be his future bride? Aside from their parents’ arrangement, it must be that opposites attract. Elizabeth on the other hand can be annoying with her energetic-ness as she redecorates the entire mansion with girly stuff and has the servants put on girly clothes. Elizabeth invites Ciel to a dance party but that kid doesn’t know how to dance so Sebastian offers to teach him. That evening, Elizabeth puts up a tantrum and breaks Ciel’s precious ring when he refused to wear one she bought for him. A very angry Ciel is going to slap her for destroying the family heirloom but Sebastian stops him. The butler explains the importance of the ring to her as Ciel soon throws it out of the window while saying that he is still master of this mansion with or without the ring. Ciel let bygones be bygones as he and Elizabeth dance together. That night after Sebastian sends Grell home, Ciel has a surprise before going to bed because Sebastian has repaired the ring and puts it back on his finger.

Ciel also proudly serves as the Queen’s guard dog and takes care of any unwanted incidents in the country at her orders. In episode 4, recently there have been cases of prostitutes being murdered in London and Scotland Yard has labelled the mysterious murderer as Jack the Ripper. Ciel goes to see his own personal informant known as Undertaker (taking jokes as payment?) for more info. Undertaker says that all victims had one thing in common: Their uterus removed and being done nicely. Sebastian has done his amazing research and his analysis narrows the possible suspects down to a man, the Viscount of Druitt, Lord Aleister Chamber since he is a doctor that rarely practices and he likes throwing flashy parties. Courtesy of Madam Red, Ciel and Sebastian go undercover to investigate. Does Ciel look cute cross-dressed? And the last person he wanted to see there is Elizabeth. Better not let her see you. Ciel eventually meets Druitt and makes acquaintance with him. Druitt takes a liking for him (or her from his eyes) and before he knows it, Ciel collapses and finds himself in a secret room and being auctioned. Ciel orders Sebastian to come and in a flash as he takes everyone out to save the day and the case is solved. However the next morning newspaper reports that Jack the Ripper has strike again.

In episode 5, Ciel plays chess with Madam Red and talks about Sebastian being his pawn will only move at his command. Ciel reflects on where he went wrong in his investigations and it seems though Sebastian’s list of suspects is accurate, Ciel missed the fact that the culprit may be non-human. Ciel and Sebastian stake out at Jack the Ripper’s next possible victim, Mary Kelly. However they are too late when they heard her screams. They see Grell coming out but they tell him not to play dumb. It turns out Grell’s real identity is a Shinigami (Grim Reaper). Talk about change in personality. Besides his irritating flamboyant character, he likes Sebastian. As in gay, if you know what I mean? But Grell is only half of it. The other half would be Madam Red. Sebastian and Ciel deduced that all the victims were patients of Madam Red’s hospital. Before the invention of birth control pills, how do prostitutes rid of unwanted births? Abortion. Ciel orders Sebastian to take out Grell and Madam Red. While Sebastian has his hands full with Grell and his modified scythe which is a chainsaw, Madam Red couldn’t kill Ciel no matter how upset she was. This disappointed Grell so he kills her! You know we see flashbacks of our lives when we’re about to die? In this case, film strips of one’s life stream out of one’s body, in this case Madam Red. Something about Shinigamis need to judge those who are about to die by watching those replays. Say what? In the flashback, we learn Madam Red and her sister (Ciel’s mom) fell in love with the same man. But that man married her sister instead so Madam Red was contended marrying someone else. Then the fire which took away Ciel’s parents’ life and an accident that caused the demise of her own husband. In order to save her life, Madam Red who was pregnant at that time, not only had her child removed but her entire reproductive organs removed too. Thus she is unable to bear children anymore. That’s why she gets worked up when prostitutes come to her place seeking abortion without batting an eyelid and that’s when her ‘killing spree’ began with Grell who appeared before her. As Madam Red dies, Grell steals her coat so Ciel orders Sebastian to finish his mission in which he managed to turn the tables and land mean kicks into that gay Shinigami’s face.

The fight continues in episode 6. Grell is disappointed to see Sebastian boring film strips (yes, he stabbed him). Sebastian improvises by using his tailcoat to jam Grell’s chainsaw and turn the tables on him. Before he could kill him, Grell’s superior, William T. Spears, apologizes and takes Grell back for punishment for breaching rules. It took him that long to track down their own kind? Hey, is a Shinigami’s job like those in the real world too? Getting paid, having vacations, etc. Later as everyone attends Madam Red’s funeral, Ciel puts a red rose over her and scattered red petals all over seeing that other colours don’t fit her. The Scotland Yard officers decide to close this case seeing that it has been solved by the underworld. Lau wonders why Ciel didn’t reveal the culprit’s identity to the Queen but Ciel reminds him about his secret opium trade. Later, Ciel has Undertaker do a decent burial for Mary giving atoning for his inability to prioritize her life over his as an excuse rather than being kind-hearted. Ciel also denies he got cold feet when he had the chance to kill Madam Red and says it wasn’t his job and knew Sebastian will always protect him. This kid has got a way with words, eh? They continue talking using chess metaphors like how Madam Red hesitated though she was bent on killing Ciel, the reason why she lost. Thus Ciel orders Sebastian to never betray him.

Another mission from the Queen in episode 7 that sees Ciel and Sebastian investigating a little town named Houndsworth ruled by Henry Barrymore with a few dog problems. Under the guise that this is a vacation and looking for a spot to build a new resort, they also bring the other servants along. Of course this town hides a dark secret as everyone faithfully abides by the rules or else a demon dog will have them killed. Finny seems to take a liking for Henry’s maid, Angela, sometimes abused by him. There must be something more than meets the eye about her because Meirin peeps into the room to see Henry grovelling at her feet in a room. Probably it’s one of her fantasies but that scene is real. That night, the shadow of the demon dog appears. It also left luminescent green footprints in its path. The dead victim then turns out to be a young man who has been secretly keeping dogs above than the permitted number. His dog taken away by the villagers for his punishment the next day. As everyone watches the dog being bitten to death by other canines, Finny remembers a horrifying experience of it and goes to protect the dog. The villagers consider this as defiance and chains Ciel and the servants when they go protect Finny. Sebastian saves them by giving the dogs his glare. Even animals know not to mess with the demon. Sebastian exposes Henry and since the villagers felt used, they take him away. Henry is chained in a prison and fears the demon dog will come for his life and true enough the next morning, the gang finds his gruesome corpse and a giant hole in his prison wall.

As everyone prays for forgiveness to whatever whoever to appease the demon dog in episode 8, Finny and Meirin spot Angela and some guy in a compromising position. Meirin gets nose bleed and Finny heartbreak so he runs off felling trees on his way. Next morning, Angela’s sudden disappearance has the gang go in search for her. At a barren plain, they see a pile of human limbs and one of them belongs to Henry since they recognize his ring. A naked guy walks to the pile but he soon smells their presence. As all the townsfolk arrive wanting to help. The naked man is gone and the next thing they know is that they’re being confronted by the giant demon dog. Sebastian shows everyone his dog-obedience training by employing his carrot and sticks method. More of sticks, that is. First by making that dog liking him by giving him doggy treats and then swiftly beating it up. In the final blow, a hot water spring gushes out. Like killing 2 birds with a stone, looks like they can build a resort here after all. That demon dog turns out to be that naked man and he definitely takes a liking for Sebastian. Angela explains she found this demon dog of hers, Pluto, took care and hid it from Henry but never thought it would turn on him. At the end as the gang departs, Angela leaves Pluto in their hands seeing she doesn’t want Pluto to be blamed or punished by the villagers. Ciel allows it thinking it is interesting seeing that he knows Sebastian is a cat person. But Sebastian knows something fishy about Angela since she is able to tame a demon dog.

In episode 9, Ciel assigns an important mission to his other servants. He wants them to take a photo of Sebastian. Seems the camera he got not only appears the subject in the picture, but a figure of that subject’s most precious that is not of this world. Sounds easy? Remember, you need to be still for 10 seconds when the picture is taken or else the picture will come out blur. And with Sebastian moving at light speed doing chores, the servants are looking more like failures in more than just the photo-taking department. Even with Ciel’s indirect help, they are unable to snap a simple one. Of course Sebastian sensed their ploy and has the servants go take care of Pluto (he is fine in big doggy mode, but can someone please put clothes on him when he is in human form!). Even Lau pitched in but his sexy-Ranmao-distraction failed and even if Tanaka represented Ciel for an interview, Sebastian does his usual lengthy elaboration of the company’s visions and such but refused to have his picture taken. In the end, Ciel has Finny throw a large pillar on him. Since his life is in danger, Sebastian rescues him. In that moment of stillness and flashy fireworks (for lighting I guess), this allowed the servants to take a picture. When they develop the picture, Pluto uses his fire breath to burn it all away (ordered by Sebastian?). That night, Sebastian uses that camera to take one of himself with sleeping Ciel and Pluto outside the window. So when the servants see the picture, they get confuse of who is who is the precious one. Remember, they don’t know Sebastian is not of this world…

Ciel and Sebastian attend the Frost Fair over frozen River Thames in episode 10 to investigate a murder. Seems the victim has stolen a valuable ring called Shard of Hope. This ring is also responsible for the kidnap of several young girls as mentioned by Scotland Yard’s detective, Fred Abberline. Too bad it is on a sculpture and since the judges won’t allow it to be removed (something to do with its beauty), everyone decides to enter an ice sculpting contest to win it. Even the thieves who are hunting it and Abberline himself. Why is Druitt one of the judges? Beats me but he is pretty dramatic and poetic when it comes to judging about beauty. Of course the winner is Sebastian when he carves a beautiful Noah’s Ark complete with animals inside. How can he fail when Sebastian orders him to win. The baddies aren’t happy and threatens to blow up the whole place. Don’t worry, Sebastian is here. Those goons start shooting throwing dynamites and they forgot they were on ice so when it cracks, you can guess what happens next. Unfortunately the ring sinks to the bottom of the river. Meanwhile Elizabeth bought an ark toy supposedly for Ciel’s birthday and to atone for breaking his ring but gets upset when her dad tells her that this rare toy in which she played with Ciel when they were young, is fake. She is surprised to see a ring (Shard of Hope) inside it.

Elizabeth goes to see Ciel to give him his birthday present (that ring) in episode 11 but decides not to when she notices the ring she broke before on his finger. Though today is Ciel’s birthday, Ciel isn’t happy because it brought back tragic memories of his parents’ death and being tormented by other people. Elizabeth laments to her maid Paula on her way back when she sees a doll guy with a penchant of playing My Fair Lady music and follows him to a shop with lots of dolls (reminds me of Rozen Maiden. Hmm…). The doll guy listens to Elizabeth’s story as she breaks down. Ciel gets word that Elizabeth is missing but at the same time a letter from the Queen requesting his assistance in solving the case of the missing girls and that has got something to do with the ring. As Ciel heads off to town to find Elizabeth, he orders Sebastian to do some investigation on the victims. In the streets, Ciel orders Pluto (thank God he is wearing clothes) to sniff for Elizabeth’s scent. They run into Grell who is on probation. They arrive at the doll shop and to Ciel’s horror, he sees Elizabeth as a doll version. They go out the back door and see a huge castle on a hill. Ciel cuts a deal with Grell to help him out in return he can do any sick fantasies he wants with Sebastian. Damn that butler is even useful to this point… While the doll guy is preparing to do something strange to the real Elizabeth, Ciel and co are confronted with another strange doll wearing that ring. The doll starts strangling Ciel. Grell cuts the doll with his new death scythe, a pair of tiny scissors. What can he cut with that?! An army of dolls appear before them. Ciel leaves it to Grell and Pluto while he advances. In a room, he startles to see a logo resembling those of his tormentors. Sebastian has returned from his investigation and mocks Ciel that he has lost everything and wonders is he going to lose Elizabeth as well.

With Grell and Pluto fallen, the doll army reaches them in episode 12. Sebastian swiftly takes care of all of them with his own version of My Fair Lady since he notices they all respond to that song. The doll guy appears and wants to make Ciel into a perfect doll for his master so Sebastian takes Ciel and leaps out of the window. Ciel isn’t happy that Sebastian didn’t save Elizabeth though Sebastian says his priority must always be him. Ciel then puts the ring on his own finger seeing that the victims are chosen this way. They go back up the tower (now with Grell) and see Elizabeth. However she attacks them as her movements are being controlled by that doll guy like a puppet on a string. He also has the gang tied up in his strings. Sebastian uses Grell as a stepping stone to cut doll guy’s head with an axe to free them all. Elizabeth returns to her normal self and is happy Ciel is wearing that ring before fainting. Doll guy fumbles his way to the top room supposedly where his master is. The gang are surprised to see Pluto being obedient before the master sitting on a chair facing away from them. Ciel rushes to see the master’s face but it turns out it is just a straw doll and a smaller doll sitting on its lap in which it suddenly leaps out of the window. Sebastian says it’s futile going after it since the puppet master is not around here. Grell is ready to have Ciel fulfil the end of his promise but since Sebastian mentioned taking revenge for Madam Red’s, Grell decides to back out for now. Everyone goes back to the mansion to celebrate Ciel’s birthday. Meanwhile the small doll runs into the grasps of Angela. She destroys it and throws it away into River Thames.

Ciel and Sebastian are investigating cases of Indian immigrants in London but are being confronted by a rowdy group of Indians accusing Britain of discrimination in episode 13. But they are saved by an Indian Prince Soma and his servant Agni. Somehow their fates intertwined again when Soma and Agni invite themselves to stay at the Phantomhive mansion. The spoilt prince wants Ciel to accompany him but Sebastian ‘saves’ him since Ciel has a schedule to follow. Feeling bored, Ciel and Soma had a fencing match. Their servants took over and it ended with a draw. Wow. A mere human drew with a demon? But Agni is human though he has super strength especially with his right fist. While preparing a meal, Agni has the other Phantomhive servants help him out as opposed to leave-it-all-to-Sebastian. The more the merrier, eh? We learn Agni is loyal to Soma because he saved him from being hanged after being found guilty of committing several sins. Since that day he has changed and pledged to serve Soma. During dinner, Ciel learns that Soma is looking for another servant, Meena. She was a servant who took care with him when he was young but suspected a British guy who had an eye on her, kidnapped her to here. Ciel doesn’t wish to help out since it’s Soma’s problem and this causes him to be upset. You can’t blame Ciel since he has been through a lot as he believes things that are lost cannot be regained no matter how much one wishes. Just when he hints to help him, Soma declines and will solve it himself after reflecting on his words. Eh?

Soma notices Agni always heading out alone in the night after he sleeps. So in episode 14, the gang follows Agni to Lord Harold West’s mansion and eavesdrop their conversation. They seem to be making some deal but when Meena’s name was mentioned, Soma couldn’t hold back and barges in. To Soma’s shock, Agni doesn’t obey him but West instead, though we can see he is reluctant. Sebastian saves Soma under the disguise of a deer head (?!). Back at the Phantomhive mansion, Soma vents his anger over Agni’s betrayal by breaking a tea set of Ciel. So I guess it’s high time that Sebastian teach that spoilt prince a lesson. Thankfully, he opened his eyes after hearing Ciel’s tragic past and vows to change. They learn that West is trying to obtain a Royal Warrant (a warrant that gives exclusive rights to supply goods to the royal house. It enhances one’s reputation) via a curry competition in which the Queen will make her appearance. Ciel decides to enter the competition with Sebastian as a sure winning bet but Agni is a master at making curry. This will be tough. We also learn that the case of Indian immigrants being persecuted was a cover up so that West could take out his strongest competitors. On the day of the competition, Soma finally sees Meena and wants her to come back. But she tells him the harsh truth that she ran away by her own will. She hated her caste life and would never go back there. Truth hurts, doesn’t it? Before the competition begins, we see Angela giving a competitor a spice. The Queen arrives and speaks through her butler, Ash. Why is Druitt there as a judge too? Let the competition begin!

You could’ve guessed that the judges’ decision would be either Sebastian or Agni in episode 15. It is Agni’s blue lobster against Sebastian’s chocolate. Depressed Soma is nowhere near the competition area since he is in shocked after learning Meena’s true colours. We learn Agni’s deal with Meena was to protect Soma from the truth but Meena couldn’t hold back after seeing naive he was. While deliberating on their decision, the crowd are free to try the contestants’ dishes. Suddenly Meena gets possessed and starts rampaging. Soon after some of the audiences as well. Seems the spice that Angela gave was the trigger so Sebastian and Agni tries to fend them off without hurting them too much. But not everyone who ate that curry dish turned into a monster. As unbelievable it may sound, but Sebastian’s curry bread has some calming effect in it as he feeds all the effected people to return them to their normal selves. Because of this, it is no doubt that the winner is to be Sebastian.

Ciel and Sebastian go to see an abandoned castle they’ve just acquired to turn into a hotel in episode 16. Seems the workers don’t want to go on after finding it haunted. True enough it is haunted by Prince Edward V and his brother Richard. Erm, they look like kids? And they have been around for 400 years? Well, since they’re murdered, I guess you could say they’re restless souls. Since Ciel lost to Edward in a chess game, Sebastian has to become their butler. Wait a minute. Why do they need a butler? Do ghosts need to eat and such? How did they go on ‘living’ for the past 400 years then? Anyway Ciel and Sebastian did some research and this has Edward leading them to a secret room filled with bones and a chessboard with skulls of royal family members as its pieces. However a piece is missing and that belongs to Richard. He thinks if the board is completed, they will go to the next world. Ciel orders Sebastian to take by force the skull that Richard is always holding and reluctant to let go. Sebastian succeeds and puts it in place but nothing happens. Richard then says that the skull doesn’t belong to him and belonged to an ordinary person. Edward finally remembers the night they were murdered (something to do with an inside job as well). Finally at peace, the prince brothers are ready to move on to the next world. What the hell is the meaning that Ciel and Sebastian needing to see them off on a boat? With the haunting gone, Ciel has the workers resume work.

Ash personally comes to see Ciel in episode 17 to inform him of yet another mission from the Queen. Seems a cult is gaining influence and possible may overthrow the government. So it’s up to Ciel how he wants to handle it. Slick isn’t it? Just like the Queen to throw any dirty jobs to Ciel without giving specific orders on how to solve it. After going to see Undertaker (Grell happen to be there too), they learn the Shinigamis are investigating cases of missing Cinematic Records (those life film strips) from their library. And there is something about the Doomsday book whereby the cult uses it to reveal one’s past and recruit them. After easily sneaking in, I don’t know what Sebastian did to get more info out of a young cute nun (seemed like sex to me – yeah, he’s one demon after all, haha! Grell not too happy somebody else doing it with his beloved Sebastian). Ciel and co witness firsthand how a couple are being purified by the head priest by the book, leaving the crowd in awe. Ciel is chosen to be next and when it is his turn, Ciel starts to recall familiar memories because the priest’s action and words seem to be exactly of those said before his parents’ death. The priest then tries to strangle him but Sebastian swiftly kills him. Angela then appears with the real Doomsday book in hand and we see her true form, an angel, as she takes Ciel away into a portal while Sebastian and Grell closely slip in too.

Ciel finds himself with Angela in the Shinigami’s library in episode 18. Angela forces Ciel to relive his horrible past using his Cinematic Records. She also shows him how she tried to merge his parents together (horrible combo, I’d say). I’m not sure about her explanation about rewriting the past. Can angels do that? No wonder they’re like film strips. You can edit them and get a Director’s Cut. Haha, just kidding. Anyway Ciel is strong enough to reject being ‘cleansed’ or relieved of his hate. Ciel recovers himself and before they could see some action, Undertaker passes by them. He’s a Shinigami too? No wonder he is so adept in the funeral business. Angela, an apocalyptic angel, goes back to the cult church and plans on saving the followers. And by save, she means destroy. Undertaker has a pink bookmark which allows stopping Angela’s further actions and from that point, he rewrites the future story by making Sebastian the hero with Grell and William as his assistants to pin Angela against the wall. Man, that tool is useful. Now Angela is very mad and is going to bring down the whole place. Not before our heroes make their escape, that is. In the aftermath, Ciel is resolved to have his soul taken by Sebastian since his parents’ murderers have been found. But Sebastian didn’t do so and this suggests the perpetrator is still alive and would like to be with his master a little longer. At Undertaker’s place, he reveals he has Cinematic Records surrounding Ciel’s parents’ death but he refuses to see it.

Another new mission for Ciel in episode 19 as Ash wants him to retrieve something from a murdered man, John Stanley, who is also working under her majesty like Ciel. Something that is important and secretive that Ciel himself is better off not knowing what it is. Ciel goes to see Lau since the incident happened in his area. Though he has never heard of that name, he thinks it must have something to do with a new drug called Lady Blanc. Abberline continues his investigations while Ash suspiciously approaches a boy who is supposedly a witness of John’s murder. Back at Phantomhive mansion, Ciel and Sebastian learn that their servants are being given the latest candy of their company. But as pointed out by Tanaka, it isn’t candy but concealed drugs. Ciel and Sebastian hurry to their factory upon thinking that somebody is trying to frame their good name. Halfway, they are being stopped by Abberline and his police. He is here to arrest Ciel on counts of storing drugs in his factory. Ciel doesn’t resist arrest and though separated from Sebastian who is being held at the torture section. Lau also knows that he is going to be arrested so he has Ranmao bludgeon the entire police force barging in before escaping.

Sebastian is tortured by a torture master in episode 20 but doesn’t give in. Angela takes over from the torturing. Does it feel like S&M in anyway? Man, she does love whipping him. Meanwhile Lau sees an aristocrat and hints that he killed John via Ranmao because he trespassed on his drug territory. Something like that. Lau also says something about tired being a pawn and wishes to make his own move. Ciel is released from his cell (no pun intended) and meets Abberline who wishes to offer his help. Ciel is stubborn that he doesn’t need help because everyone to him are just pawns. But Abberline says he wants to be his comrade. We learn Abberline is getting married and wants to make this world a safe place for his child. As they investigate, clues point to that aristocrat. They ambush his carriage but his men surround them. That’s when Ciel uses his eye contract to order Sebastian to his rescue. He easily breaks out of his chains and kills the torture master and faster than the internet broadband speed to subdue all that gunfire. Ciel complained he was late? Hey, he’s lucky he arrived in time and don’t you compare with the internet broadband speed in those days… Wait, there isn’t any. Now they are on to Lau and with great jumping skills, Sebastian and Ciel board Lau’s junk ship (Sebastian riding on a cannonball! Holy sh*t!). Sebastian fights Ranmao while Ciel confronts Lau. Ciel learns the shocking truth that thing he was supposed to retrieve was a scroll. Something about England planning to align itself with the Axis of Evil a war that will affect the whole world? Wow. History rewritten! Lau is going to stab Ciel with his sword and Sebastian can’t reach in time. To everyone’s surprise, Abberline uses his body to protect Ciel and gets stabbed. It’s sad to see a good cop dead and even if Sebastian finishes off Lau, Ciel slaps him for erring in his decision. They escape from the ship that sinks the Chinese pair with them.

In episode 21, the servants wonder how the previous Phantomhive mansion was like so they seek Elizabeth’s answer (seeing Tanaka can’t talk in his chibi form). They conclude it has lots of smiles and vow to protect it. Then they hear some strange sounds and rush Elizabeth into the safety of the mansion. As Elizabeth learns playing chess from Ciel, Sebastian leaves it up to the servants to handle things. Who would’ve believed that the servants are capable fighters protecting the mansion from that aristocrat’s henchmen! Wow! Who would’ve thought Meirin was a sharp sniper assassin (she looks hot without her glasses!), Bard a soldier in which his mates got killed due to a bad decision from his general but his guts to go against it has him the lone survivor, and Finny a child experiment that underwent horrendous experiments from scientists wanting to create a superhuman and he broke free from their backfired experiment. At the end of each of their ordeal, Sebastian was always there to hire them. Maybe that’s why they suck being servants. Hehe, just kidding. Why didn’t Ciel or Elizabeth notice the gunfire outside? Because Sebastian was busy playing his violin! Either he was playing too loud that drowned out the outside noises or the kids were too preoccupied with chess or mesmerized by his beautiful music. I’ll stick with the first one. In the end, the baddies lost and the servants come back home in high spirits because they protected what they considered important though a little messy. Sebastian sure has a good eye for people. He’s a demon, right? No wonder he puts up with their household farces. But Ciel seems to know what was going on though he just doesn’t say it. He’s not dumb.

It was heartbreaking to see Abberline’s fiancee breaking down once news of his death reached her. So sad :'(. Ciel and Sebastian head to the Word Fair expo in Paris in episode 22. A taxidermy monkey starts causing havoc in a hall so Sebastian takes care of it while Ciel rushes to safety up to Eiffel Tower. He sees the Queen there and when I first heard her speak the first time, she sounded like a typical young anime girl! That’s because as she reveals her true face, it’s of a typical young anime girl! Queen Victoria was an anime shoujo! Haha! Just joking. Ash is also there as she reveals her past. When her husband died, Ash granted her wish to become young and also merged their bodies (at least it seemed like that to me). I also believe she was responsible for Ciel’s parents’ demise. I don’t know why she’s so infatuated about being clean and pure. Of course Ciel is shocked that after being so loyal to her majesty, this is some sort of a betrayal. Sebastian has finished his business and arrives. Ciel orders him to kill the Queen and Ash. Thus an epic battle between a demon and angel begins. But Ciel orders Sebastian to withdraw seeing the destruction they’re causing would bring harm to the innocent citizens below. Partly they’re being noticed too. No matter how much Sebastian dislikes that order, he has to abide his soft-hearted master. Next morning, Ciel realizes Sebastian is no longer around. How does it feel without a butler doing your usual stuff? He can’t have abandoned him because the contract is still valid. Ciel attempts to make his way back to the port to return to England by himself and he sure has a good experience of the harsh life of reality. Getting cheated, kicked out and nowhere to go in the cold. Eventually his wandering has him reach the port. Back at the Phantomhive mansion, Ash controls Pluto to burn the entire mansion down.

As a stowaway on a boat back to London in episode 23, Ciel surprisingly meets Undertake who tells him his end is near. Not only his but probably the entire country. Yeah, it’s on fire! Everything is burning! And you thought the black plague was horrible enough. The fire has taken many lives and causing the citizens to panic. The Queen is in her room and we see her rotting body. She’s in pain. Ash doesn’t have any further use for her and leaves that impure and dirty lady. Ciel trades his precious ring to get a boat to shore. He learns his Englishmen are blaming this incident on the French. We see Sebastian talking to Ash atop a roof. I’m not sure about Ash’s sick idea of wanting to be Sebastian’s partner but what is more disturbing is the fact that Ash and Angela are the same person! He’s like got 2 genders! Ciel finds his servants trying to tranquilize a rampaging Pluto. He orders them to kill it seeing that it isn’t the Pluto they know anymore. Ciel makes his way to the Queen’s castle and notices time has stood still. When he enters her room, he is shocked to see her dead. Like a trap, then moves again and the Queen’s servants are shocked to see her lifeless state and you know who gets blamed as the culprit. Ciel tries to escape but is surrounded by the royal guards. A bullet hits Ciel and his blood somehow formed a pentacle symbol on the floor. Ciel refuses to end it that way and before he knows it, Sebastian appears to catch all the bullets and take out all the guards. I don’t know how many times I’ve been impressed seeing him do just the impossible. With Sebastian back by his side, all that’s left to do is to stop that mad angel.

The final battle place is a partially constructed tower bridge made up of tormented souls in episode 24. Ciel order his butler to kill Ash but Ash is using the souls to power up. Thankfully William, Grell, Undertaker and other Shinigamis intercept to cut Ash off his supply. Ash still has a trump card and summons Pluto. However the demon dog doesn’t respond. Seems Ciel’s servants and Pluto have taken each other out. Now very pissed, Ash cuts off one of Sebastian’s arm and unleashes a frenzy of projectiles. Sebastian manages to protect Ciel and wants him to close his eyes and not open them till he says so. That’s because Sebastian is going to transform into his true demon form and beat the crap out of Ash. We don’t really get to see his black form in all that darkness but it was so shocking to Ash is on the losing path. The destruction was so great that Ciel was nearly flung off the beam into the river. He just needs to hold on till he defeats Ash for good by the count of 10. When he’s done, Sebastian extends his hand to Ciel but he just let go and plunge below. But he can’t die yet because Sebastian saves him. In the aftermath, we see the old Queen addressing the crowd. Actually she’s the fake queen and it doesn’t matter since it gave the people hope. Soma and Agni are serving curry to the homeless while Elizabeth is concerned for Ciel but Paula cheers her up. We see Sebastian rowing Ciel on a boat to an island. He shows Ciel Tanaka’s diary which reveals his father had always known the Queen’s intention of eliminating the Phantomhive family but did not wish to tell Ciel because he didn’t want him to grow up filled with hatred. Well, didn’t work out that way, eh? On the island, Ciel awaits his death and wants Sebastian to make it as painful for him when he takes his soul to carve the pain of life in it. Sebastian agrees and closes in on Ciel. What is Ciel’s ultimate fate is up to viewers to think.

For those who have bought the DVD, there is a filler OVA episode. Independent of any plot in the series, it brings most of the characters back together. Here, Ciel decides to host a Hamlet play for the orphans as part of his charity work. Too bad a mishap has the actors won’t be arriving on time. Since the play can’t be postponed and Ciel’s unspecific orders to fix it, Sebastian gathers the motley crew to play the Shakespearean play. Oh of all people why does it have to be the servants trio, Elizabeth, Soma, Agni, Grell, Undertaker, Lau and Ranmao? They even have their own interpretation and wishes on how the play is to go about. Doomed I tell you. Tarnished the Phantomhive’s name. Training is hell and if that didn’t work, Sebastian goes on telling them the haunted history of the Phantomhive history. What better way to learn such tragic play then to learn the past of a similar person. On performance day, I’m sure young kids don’t appreciate such plays so it was kinda boring. Then with a little improvise, their attention was retained as they even cheered on Ciel who is playing the lead role of Hamlet. I don’t know why it seemingly ended with most of the characters wanting to fight over Grell’s character as Ophelia in the play, but Ciel decides to follow the children’s wishes not to take his own life as how it was supposed to be in the play and hence the play was considered a success. A standing ovation too? From that Druitt guy who is especially noisy and passionate? Purist might condemn them in the strongest form.

Aside from the OVA, the entire series is one big tragic play. I thought nearly everybody would end up dying in the end. Or at least those closed to Ciel. Hey, Madam Red was the first ‘victim’ and her candle snuffed out very early in the series. So when good guys like Abberline, the sneaky drug peddler Lau and even the Queen eventually met their end, I thought everybody has got to go. Except Sebastian and the Shinigamis because well, they’re the undead. No word about Ciel’s servants’ whereabouts but my guess is they’re as good as gone protecting what they truly want to protect. Now I can’t say that they’re 100% bungling. Probably Elizabeth was too cute to be killed off and the producers may earn the hatred of Yukari Tamura/Elizabeth fans if they did so. It was really sad for Ciel to meet such a fate in the end but he’d know one day this would come. After all, his goal has been achieved what more is there to live for? The perpetrators were the ones he trusted the most but believe me, even so, has Ciel trust anybody that much. He’s such a grumpy kid right from the start and he hardly changed till the end. Though he shows his kindness in a different way.

Sebastian is of course the most interesting character in this series because of his ever resourceful and multi-talented ways. It is quite fun to see him do all those impossible stuff for his master no matter what. And with style, grace and elegance! If only we had more of such butlers in this world. Yeah, they had to be demons in the first place. It was also amusing to watch the verbal ‘spat’ between Ciel and Sebastian. It’s like they both have a way to indirectly say sarcastic things to each other. Then they counter each other using an indirect way or rephrased their meaning and intention to a different way. Probably the subtle yaoi part was seeing Sebastian and Ciel close together like the former carrying the latter in his arms. Too bad Grell’s outright gayness over Sebastian is kinda annoying when it’s not funny. Lau is another strange person. Whenever he speaks, it’s like the way he says things he knows about everything but eventually he knows nothing about it. Maybe that’s his way of finding more info and indirectly get involved if it interests him. Another point which made me think was, how the heck did God allow an angel of his to destroy London? How can you call an angel so when he/she brings destruction upon mankind? Kinda ironic, isn’t it? And the devil playing the hero makes the irony even more so. And those Shinigamis keeping a library of humans’ life in record reels and to an extent rewriting them, doesn’t it make them like Gods?

On a trivial note, each of the episode title describes the action or moods that Sebastian is in for that particular episode. Whether he is on ice, in imprisonment, lonely, omnipotent, dependent, competing or dedicated, if this series had more episode and seemingly endless, I guess we could’ve have a glimpse of almost every talent Sebastian can pull off, won’t we? Since the setting is London during the Victorian era, the designs of the buildings and clothing are reflective of that era. It also gives a feeling of sombre and gloominess. Ah, those were the struggling times even if there were rich aristocrats as the majority of the people were homeless and poor. The opening theme is Kiss Of Monochrome by SID and has a little rock feel in it. Halfway through the series, I noticed that not only the animation for the opening credits changed but the lyrics of the song as well. The first ending theme by Becca is I’m Alive! This hard rock piece is sung totally in English and the animation sees Ciel and Sebastian in chibi form going about in a day in life from waking up in the morning till bed time at night. The second theme is Lacrimosa by Kalafina. It feels like a dramatic choir song fitting for a cult group with all those powerful choir voices as backup vocals. The animation here feels like a premonition of Ciel’s impending doom as we see him lying on a boat with flowers while Sebastian ferries him away. Kinda feels like Enma Ai rowing her victims to hell, no?

Man, I wish I had a butler like that. But that would mean making a pact to a devil and selling your soul to him, eh? He’s better than you ordinary genie because he can grant you any wish infinite times rather than the usual three. He’s better than your guardian angel because he’s always there whenever and wherever and not only at times when you needed him the most. Besides, the reputations of angels have considerably gone ‘down’ a lot after the way they’re being portrayed here. Just my opinion. I believe Sebastian would win any talent show hands down. But really, instead of dreaming of having a butler or maids to do your every whims and desires, it’s better to depend on yourself and make it happen with your own hands. The satisfaction is much greater without having to rely on someone. Remember, it’s better to teach a man how to fish rather than to feed him fish every day. Now there’s this rare anime that I have been wanting to get my hands on but couldn’t… Where’s a butler when you need one?

Kuroshitsuji