Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hobo Corner: Black Butler Review

Black Butler Review

Story:  9.5/ 10

Coming this Fall! Ever wonder what goes on with the life of the rich and famous? Well this isn't that kind of show. Were covering the servants of the rich and famous an in depth look on the pressures and challenges they face. Watch the drama unfold and it will be a smash hit. Only on the Fox network Watch this Fall Cleaning it up!   The life behind the scenes which keep the celebrities looking pretty!

  Guess what I lied I just made the whole thing up.  But Black Butler does have some of those elements. Oh yeah watch they'll be an advertisement for it they have made a reality show about everything but the servants or hired help.   I'm going to cover season 1 and later get to season 2 that piece of work.
It's a very unique coming of age story where the main character having to grow up fast but still being about 12 years old physically. He and his butler must overcome amazing odd and fight various things. sounds great doesn't? Well that is only a fraction of what you really get is a lot of talking, scenes making fun of Yaoi and Shonen-ai sorry fan girls not Sebastian X Ciel. Also lots of talking about cleaning and food; not the best anime to watch when hungry you'll end up with a bad case of the munchies.  This for older audiences not something you want to show a five year old unless you want to teach them about Yaoi in a disturbing way; But heck I learned about furies that way. Anyways  The action scenes are amazing as well as the ending is perfect and will leave you screaming for more.
The only down side is you may end up googling some events considering this is a borderline historical anime. So if you're not a history buff well a buff on the Victorian era you may be confused at some points. That and the incessant display and talk of food which can be annoying and a waste of time.

As far as the manga goes it does leave out some characters which leaves some of the background characters unexplained why they do and act the way they do. A benefit of the manga unlike the anime it explains and elaborates more on references used in the anime. In other words you won't be looking up as much.  The art style is unique and shines in character development , But seem lacking when it comes to action sequences.
Compared to other manga I noticed there are lots and lots of speed lines in action scenes but to me there are more speed lines then being able to see what the character is doing.  But over time it gets better there also several plot differences.  There is one arc I wish they would have included from the manga where well generalized it's the titanic except with zombies and a all out shinigami war. if this sounds up your alley go check it out is amazing.

Episode one:
Our show starts out with a young naked boy covered in feathers talking to a crow.  Oh no someone left there Hentai on oh wait never mind it switches to a young boy being woken up by a older man.  He is being told his schedule and what not when as the older man leaves. The young man suddenly hurls a sharp dart at the guy but he catches it. I thought I was cranky when I didn't get my coffee guess the Ritalin coffee hasn't taken affect yet . When the butler brushes it off like it is nothing and we find out this young man has a butler. He keeps throwing darts and splitting what looks to a farmer splitting his head open. That's right kill the Monkey D. Luffie hat wearing blonde farm guy!  The Farm guy asks why and tempted to back hand the brat he just replies cause he felt like it.

We find out the blonde guy is named Finny a gardener , there is a space case, glasses wearing red headed maid named Mey-Rin and another  blonde guy who is busy chain smoking who looks to the chef named Bard. He doesn't look like a Bard more like a Stewart or Henry he doesn't even have a Lute his name is misleading. Also an elderly Asian man named Tanka who looks like he is part of the drapery sitting there drinking tea.  The butler looking to be the head of the servants chews out the other slacker servants. The other servants scurry away like children seeing  a horrible monster.  While the butler goes on a monologue about how everything is obsessively perfect and seems to get some sick pleasure out of it all being perfect.
When it switches to the servants talking in another room talking about the butler named Sebastian on how they want to knock him  off his high horse and that there not always big screw ups.

It switches over to the young man in an office asking Sebastian to make him a snack when the butler declines he throws a chair at him. No not really but he looks like he would. We find out that the young man's name is Ciel Phantomhive and he is the head of a large manor. He reminds Sebastian who is boss and he better straighten up.

We see Sebastian interrogating the other servants on why the front lawn is now a desert which was once grassy, why all the dishes are destroy and the kitchen is on fire. The reasons being Finny the gardener got a little carried away weeding, Mey-Rin the maid had a Steve Urkel moment and pretty much broke all the dishes in the dining room. Bard's being the chef reason is because he felt like doing some extreme cooking using chainsaws and flamethrowers. So much for trying to mess Sebastian up today. After Sebastian decided to stop being rude to the other servants he tells he has a plan to fix everything in time for a fancy dinner party there having that night.

When it switches and an Italian man gets out of a carriage oh look it's Mario!! oh wait wrong Italian guy!
It shows that they decided to fox everything by doing a Japanese theme night to hide all the damages.
The servants looked relieved but Sebastian forewarns them there is still much work to be done.
While it looks like Ciel and Italian guy as playing the game of life from hot topic now includes several kinds of new horrendous ways  to die. The Italian guy starts to get a little creped out as Ciel is acting very odd. Luckily Sebastian comes to tell them dinner is ready and the Italian guys tries to politely tell Ciel he is done playing but he makes a big stink out of it. So he says he'll play the twisted board game with him after dinner some more. As they walk toward the dining hall the Italian guy mutters rude thing about  Ciel on how he is a spoiled brat; But covers himself up  that him being a child is what makes the toy company they run one of the best in the world.
During the dinner Mey-rin who glasses are broken pours wine all over the nice table cloth of course Sebastian being escaped from the circus takes it and rips it off without knocking any of the dishes off.

Later on after the dinner the Italian guys tries to wrap things up but Ciel won't have up he is set on them finishing their board game. But the Italian guy excuses himself to make a phone call when we overhear the guy is just looking for money and just wants get the hell out of there. While a mysterious dark figure watches the whole thing.

On his way back the Italian guys starts getting super paranoid and starts acting insane thinking there is something after him. As he starts running through the house screaming terrified he falls down the stairs and breaks his leg. When the servants find him and try to help he just tells them to get away he crawls away his leg twisted in every direction but the right one to find some place to hide.
When Sebastian finds him telling the man to relax and that he needs to still be served dessert. Also with a sadistic grin he insists the man gets the full Phantomhive treatment. The man crawls away hearing  footsteps coming he hides in what appears to be a large cupboard but is very wet and greasy.  He finds he is trapped in the oven and the butler doesn't do a thing. well looks like they got the idea from this manga for Sweeny Todd.

Sebastian lets the other servants know that they are going to need to clean out the oven it has gotten quiet messy now. We see that the Italian man had managed to escape somehow burnt and screaming all the way home. We are let known that Ciel did all this to punish the Italian man for trying to steal his money. that is how the first episode goes it's a bit boring but it gets better as time goes on.

Characters: 5/10
They have some great characters but a lot of them don't get the attention they deserve. I guess my biggest grip is about Sebastian he is too perfect he has no weakness and you don't see him screw up. You can't relate to him or sympathize with what he is going through.  There are some cliche's though as far as the servants go. A clumsy gun totting maid, A super strong gardener  and a pyro-maniac chef. Well the chef is a new one. They do have good villains though so you have to give them credit for that but it more worth to watch the villains than anything.

Animation: 7/10
It's very clean nice and detailed some of the scenes look hand drawn but I have seen better.

Voices: 6/10
 Some of the dub voices can be grating and want to make your ears bleed. But the person who voice Sebastian is amazing. The main two characters on the dub are great as far as the sub goes the side characters are great. The only major plus with the dub is they get the accents dead on but then again in Japanese you really can't do accents. Whatever you prefer  a strong main character then go for the dub and if you want strong side characters go for the sub.

Music: 8/10
I really liked the music both openings and endings the animation is great. the songs are well placed throughout the series very simple violin and piano accompanist to full orchestrated pieces.  Also one of the ending surprisingly is done by an American band which I found a refreshing as an American I can understand what there singing  about. Then again I don't speak Japanese which I think the fan base would kind have the same reaction Americans have to their opening and endings. They may not exactly understand what there singing but it has a great melody so it keeps them dancing and singing.

Overall:  6/10
It's a good series I just wish they didn't have so many food related things and too much talking at times. It seems something one minute their serious the next running around screaming some of the jokes at time seem inorganic to the situation that there forced. But others not bad also I wish they would have given Sebastian some more depth though and maybe how he became a demon. There are pervert situations so you might not want to have little kids watch this unless you want to teach them about Yaoi.

Re-watch value: maybe once or twice but after reading the manga the anime is mild compared to the original work. If you like this series then I recommend reading the manga it's is still ongoing and worth checking out.

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