Black Butler, Season One Part 2 – DVD Review

Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $59.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Supernatural
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

London Bridge will be doing more than just falling.

Ok, getting past my fan girl crush on one hell of a hot butler named Sebastian Michaelis, I found myself really enjoying Black Butler for its lush setting, its deliciously gothic storytelling style and fascinating characters that make up this excellent anime series. A lot happened in the first half of Season One of Black Butler but Part 2 completes the big picture in a way that will draw you deeper into its world and make you love every second of it.

In the first part, we not only met the young master of the Phantomhive estate but also his butler that gets the job done no matter what unusual order his master gives him. Facing a number of creepy and oftentimes supernatural elements, both Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian even went up against a powerful force in the shape of a beautiful woman named Angela who called Ciel “unclean.” Now, in Part 2, Angela is back as she targets Ciel once again.

However, before that, Ciel goes about his watchdog duties for Queen and country and investigates an unusual case of men hung upside down. With a population of immigrants from India living in London, they are Scotland Yard’s prime suspects considering the fact many Indians have hostility toward the English. What Ciel and Sebastian find, however, is Prince Soma Asman Kadar and his extremely loyal manservant named Agni. While the Prince has nothing to do with the case, Ciel finds out that he is in London looking for one of his favorite female servants that he thinks was brought to London by force.

While he is reluctant to help the Prince, Ciel does look into this matter for him while find out that Agni is not only just as skilled as Sebastian but there’s also something about him that might hold the key to the mystery behind the Prince’s beloved servant. However, another element is involved and targets the Queen herself during a curry-themed festival where Sebastian competes against other chefs as well as Agni.

From here the series takes a number of surprisingly dark twists and turns as Ciel looks into the murders of Edward V and his young brother when Ciel and Sebastian meets their ghosts that haunt Ludlow Castle. They then look into a murder that has Ciel fall into the trap designed by a returning character who unexpectedly betrays Ciel and gets him arrested by Scotland Yard. However, their friend Inspector Adderline helps Ciel and the case ends rather tragically for one of the characters involved.

Even more interesting, though, is a case that leads Ciel straight into the hands of Angela. Looking into a series of supernatural-themed books in a the hands of a religious cult, our young Master, Sebastian and even Grelle (who is still lively and charismatic as ever) find themselves infiltrating the cult’s abbey. What they find out is that Angela is something completely unexpected as she sets out to facilitate a plot that involves the Queen’s plans that could spark a war. It isn’t until they get to Paris that Ciel and his friends make a horrific discovery about the Queen and events that could lead to the destruction of London.

Thankfully, Part 2 isn’t completely somber and dark because its sense of humor is still intact … sometimes in the same goofy manner as the first part (Sebastian wearing a deer’s head disguise) and other times with genuinely hysterical moments (the Undertaker playing the role of Hamlet’s mother in the bonus episode). We get a rather interesting look into what the Phantomhive manor’s servants (Mey-Rin, Baldroy and Finny) did before they come to work for the young Master as well and Sebastian gets information from a cute female cultist the sexy way. All these things add up to a great second half to the series. I mean, even the bonus episode where Ceil is forced to take part in a production of Hamlet for charity is a blast to watch.

Part 2 of Season One of Black Butler is a darker and more curious second act that only serves to confirm what we already know … that Black Butler really is an incredibly fun and ridiculously enjoyable anime series. If you really liked Part 1 of this series than you will really love Part 2 even more to the point that you will find yourself a fan way before the final episode of this first season.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
After the events that occurred in Part 1, Ciel and Sebastian find themselves targeted by Angela who turns out to be something quite unexpected. While dealing with Indian royalty, a pair of famous ghosts and betrayal by a familiar face, the real threat might destroy all of London.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
The animation is simply gorgeous with the backgrounds, characters and visual effects making for many an eye-catching scene. With Sebastian still being one of the main visual attractions for obvious reasons, this series certainly would look quite striking on Blu-ray.

AUDIO QUALITY: B+
Once again, J. Michael Tatum steals the show with his brilliant performance as Sebastian and Brina Palencia actually does come to become an acceptable Ciel. Even the original Japanese voices are stellar and the score is amazing. The new closing theme song, “Lacrimosa” by Kalafina is hauntingly beautiful.

EXTRAS: A-
Like the first part, Part 2 includes two audio commentary tracks with the first one, Episode 16, bringing ADR Engineer Kevin Leasure and Josh Grelle (the voice of King Edward V) together for a chat about how much they love the series. Then the Episode 21 commentary track features Monica Rial (Mey-Rin), Ian Sinclair (Bladroy) and Jason Leibrecht (Finny) handling the commentary in-character, which makes this so much fun.

Even better, though, is a bonus episode that has most of the characters show up to perform Hamlet for charity. Then there’s the clean opening and closing theme songs as well as a few trailers.

OVERALL: A
A slightly darker and definitely more intriguing second half to Season One, Part 2 of Black Butler completes the season with just the right amount of humor and dark supernatural elements that only one hell of a good show can provide. If Part 1 wasn’t reason enough to pick this one up than Part 2 will certainly do the trick.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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