Friday, July 06, 2012

Black Butler Season 1 Review

Kon'nichiwa min'na!

HOLY SHIT. Almost literally. Black Butler is one strange, twisted, fuck-with-your-mind (do excuse my French, will you?) anime, it’s unexpected and absolutely random, while watching you never know what’s going to happen next.

Set sometime during the 1800’s in upper-class England, this anime revolves around the Earl Lord Ciel, a 12 year old Lord who demands the respect and fear of his family name, as well as his “Hell of a Butler” Sebastian. Ciel is an orphan, suffering the loss of his parents in a dreadful fire that claims not only the lives of both his parents, but also his home. That doesn’t keep him down though, Ciel becomes a hard, cold child, forgetting how to smile, but gaining the respect from those many years his senior, particularly the Queen Mother of England as she entrusts him to become her Royal Guard Dog, keeper of the underground crime lords.
This anime isn’t really suited for any one particular genre as it encompasses many in its 24 episodes. I think the best way to describe it would be to say that it’s a Slice of Life anime, with Supernatural, Horror and Comedic sub-genres. It’s Slice of Life because it focuses on the loss of ones parents, something many children around the world deal with on a daily basis, but it takes it to the next level with Ciel becoming vengeful and full of hatred to those responsible for killing his parents. Ah, it should be said now that Sebastian is no ordinary Butler, but in fact a Demon, entered into a contract with Ciel to protect him from al harm until such a time that the people responsible for his parents death are dead. The revenge however is somewhat of a sub-plot running concurrently with the main plot of the anime, a great battle between Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons. A twist however is that it is in fact a fallen angel causing the most damage. This is one anime where Evil defeats Good. The demon Butler prevails over his angelic counterpart for the good of England. That just shows you right there that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

Visually this anime is an epic example of how an artist can balance both light and darkness and have it mix so perfectly that it never feels as if it’s too dark and dreary or overly pronounced and “loud” as it were. The characters are all drawn amazingly, and all of them having their own specific trademark, especially noticeable with the hair. Except Tanaka, Tanaka is awesome in his own right. The sound of this anime is as if it comes directly out of the 1800’s with subtle tunes that complement the nature and art style of the anime. Not to mention the great voice acting, this is one of those anime that is best watched in the English dubbed version rather than its Japanese counterpart as the English accents really add a lot to the effect the anime tries to bring forth, from the sophisticated aristocratic accents of the Lords and Ladies to the Cockney London accents of the East-Enders.

This is definitely an amazing anime and is well worth well to watch, but I did find that one or two episodes didn’t catch my attention as much and I was left feeling a bit bored. But don’t let that stop you from watching this amazing anime and learning something from its sombre tones. I can’t wait to watch the second season and I’m going to start downloading it ASAP. You’ll notice I’m going to give it a few rating under the review, this is a new addition I’m adding to the overall reviews of Anime, Movies and Games.

Story – 90/100
Dialogue – 95/100
Animation – 98/100
Entertainment – 95/100
Overall Score – 94.5/100

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