Category Archives: Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 10 (END)

The absolutely gut wrenching finale is here – this episode is all about twisting the knife.

What could have been, what was – that’s what this is all about. There is something about pondering what could have been and ruminating about an avoidable tragedy that is frightful upsetting to me. The Noah’s circus troupe are all great people that really just loved and cared for each other. They were like a small family together. But they lived long enough to see themselves become the villains of their own story – villains that preyed upon children not unlike them before Baron Kelvin took them in. In a way what happened to them is karma, but I can’t help but tear up a bit when I watch this episode’s epilogue. This is what they really were. This is what they became. This is a true tragedy – the loss of life – yet, the loss of life that matters.

The true villain of this story is the twisted Baron Kelvin, whose malice shaped Joker and the others into becoming the demons we knew them to be. But even as demons, their true personalities shone through. Beast’s innocent love of Joker and Joker’s geniune caring for all his family shone through absolutely, even in the bitter end. You can consider the culmination of this when you consider the contrast between Doll as a child and the Doll that rushed to kill Ciel.

I didn’t anticipate that I’d be ruminating about the Noah’s arc circus troupe this entire post, but I feel it’s necessary. This show really knows how to ramp up the pathos.

Let me speak a little about the beautiful ED sequence at the end of this episode. The walk to the manor to find that the Baron had long abandoned it and that their world they were fighting so hard to protect had been long gone was nothing but a further knife in the coffin. As you see the visage of the fallen troupe in the afterlife you’re reminded of who they truly were – a hardworking, loving family that cared for each other and wanted nothing other than to survive. All of this in a field long forgotten, by a small family who will all but be forgotten by London.

Ciel would make for an interesting character study. With no pretentions, he doesn’t claim to be better than any other human. He considers himself the same as the others – a human warped by malice and fighting for self preservation. The only difference is that he won this battle.

Ciel lets out a laugh as he realizes what they fought for was long gone – that was it. This is what Kuroshitsuji has always been about – life, love, family, loss, tragedy. The cycle goes on. Certainly one of the darker moments I can recall in any anime I’ve watched thus far. Sebastian is nothing but an observer in this great tragedy.

Rest in peace, Noah’s Arc Troupe. A happy family, a loving family – may they be reunited in the afterlife.

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 8 & 9

Wow, have I been a piece of shit at updating this blog lately or what? Yeah, I pretty much suck. Between my two jobs, freelancing, and the pursuit of two other jobs there has been barely enough time to watch anime, save to write about it. Seriously if somebody has this formula figured out I am listening.

Anyways, what even happened? Did I even watch this? Can’t remember.

THAT’S IT EVERYONE!

Yeah, ok, we should begin. Let me begin by saying that I’m not sure if the anime, good as it is, conveyed the level of sheer, unmitigated rage that was supposed to be present on Ciel’s face as he shot the Baron. It’s clear from reading the manga that Ciel was seething, which is obviously quite unlike him. This is especially powerful when you remember that Ciel is not one that usually is shaken by such things, if ever at all. I mean, he generally has little reaction to just about everything. Unfortunately for Joker (As mentioned previously), being on the wrong side does not grant you any graces in Kuroshitsuji – he gets his hand chopped off and burned alive. Yikes.

Anyone who’s seen the first 24 episodes of the original Kuroshitsuji knows all about Phantomhive’s servents – Finny is a science experiment gone wrong, Meylin is a professional assassin, and Bard is an old general in the army. All of them were handpicked by Sebastian, which is a long way of saying how fucked you are. Despite episode 14 or so beyond of the first season not being canon, this is actually something that the non-canon material hand-picked from the circus arc as fact – something I wasn’t aware was canon until a bit later.

The story of Noah’s arc troupe circus is morbidly sad. I have to admit that, despite all the shit I’ve seen in anime, the scene with Beast being cradled by Joker was a disheartening reminder of how their future, possibly bright, was stolen from them. Very, very sad.

The underbelly of England is certainly a much more different place than has been painted by Professor Layton and his friends. The entire circus troupe, save Freckles, bites the dust (I must concede I was a little shaken by the way Beast went). Ciel and his troupe aren’t about doing things the 100% good guy way, and I’m certain that Freckles will bite the dust not long after learning the truth about what transpired at the Phantomhive residence.

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 6 & 7

As we go further and further down the rabbit hole, Sebastian and Ciel pursue their prey and even get their hands a bit dirty. Well, at least one of them does. Uh, not going into any further detail than that, watch the damn episode because lol.

We’re finally to the point right about where I stopped reading in the manga. With the confrontation with the Baron left, we are at this act’s climax.

Let’s get the small stuff out of the way first. Man, it was nice to see soma and Agni again. The curry arc from the original show was a good one and over the past few years I’ve grown quite fond of them. Kind of amazing how different soma and ciel are from one another. Good job Agni! Your khansama would be proud.

More so than when I read the manga, I am really feeling for “freckles”. Unfortunately for her, good guys on the wrong side rarely come out alive in the cruel and dark world of kuroshitsuji. I doubt we will be seeing any exceptions anytime soon – that goes for the well intentioned like Joker, as well. We shall see.

The Baron is one fucked up guy, holy shit. Thr scene where the children perform and die in gruesome ways shook me in the manga but was even more chilling animated. You don’t see ciel get rattled so easily so that should speak to the atrocity of this – even going so far as to call him an animal.

On a minor note – loved Sebastian’s grin when he had Joker ay swordpoint. It was like ” Gotcha faggot.” That’s so Sebastian.

There is one thing I am aware of that’s yet to happen but at this point, everything is going to be new to me. Episode 9 and 10 should contain a shitload of action if things go as I predict. William still needs to collect those souls, after all…

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 5

Another installment of kuroshitsuji that flew by faster than a much needed Christmas vacation. Things finally become distasteful again, in true Kuroshitsuji fashion.

The jig is up – Ciel knows that someone who goes by “Tom, the piper’s son” knows of his identity. Ciel figures it is not a stretch that they know who Sebastian is either – a clever cut-away scene with Joker, who is off to visit father, confirms this suspicion. This whole time they’ve been keeping a close eye on him, but they aren’t sure of his motivations of his connections (they seem to think he’s with Scottland yard – ha, like we would collaborate with lord Randall).

Will continues to get in Sebastian’s way as Ciel falls ill with asthma, enduced by the great stress and temperature of his environment he is in. Sebastian is set to investigate both leads, starting in London.

This is going to prove to be difficult – it’s clear that there are circus members with heart who, while still murderers, have redeeming qualities (Joker, freckles, potentially beast) which is going to make dealing with them a mixed bag. That, coupled with the Shinigami’s ominous foreshadowing that they will be collecting a ton of souls in the area very soon leads me to believe that a bloodbath is all but inevitable. The question is thus: How will it go down, and where is the collateral damage? I’m guessing the circus troupe is eventually going to get wiped clean off the face of the map. What role is William going to play in what is to come? Is he really just there to collect souls? I’m hoping there’s another reason for his presence – maybe I just want an excuse to see him do some real fighting.

The stage is set. I already know the answer and where they find him, but this “Father” character that’s present in that old photo that Ciel has pegged for an aristocrat is about to be found and all hell is about to break loose.

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 4

This was over much, much too quickly. Seems to be par for the course but I paid the time no heed as I watched this.

William and Sebastian continue to not get along, as usual. The question as to whether Ciel can function on his own without Sebastian is further expounded upon – what is a master without his dog? A king without his pawns? Ciel, while traditionally the rule maker, doesn’t seem to function as efficiently when he is made to be a set piece himself. Worse yet, his roommate unknowingly triggered one of Ciel’s bad memories from when his parents passed from the mortal realm (and the burning of his home).

Ciel has many difficult decisions to make but continues to press on in the face of danger for the sake of the queen. A loyal queen’s watchdog, indeed – I doubt she could have asked for a better one.

I felt sorry for the poor little girl we knew nothing about that was selling flowers – she was so sweet. I never found myself caring for someone I met maybe two minutes ago so much! The truth of the child disappearances comes to light and we now know they are tied to Noah’s arc circus and some crazy ass LCD or drugs. Seriously that was pretty trippy.

Hey, how about seeing Ronald, too? This is, technically, Ronald’s first appearance (no, his appearance in the second, very non-canon season does not count). Generally an assistant to William (or even sometimes Grell), he’s fairly reliable. I had assumed that William was the grim reaper leader but while I think he’s highly ranked I don’t think he is the “leader”. What you don’t know about some characters and where they stand in Black Butler is part of what makes it so interesting. Restraining information is awfully enticing (but somewhat evil!)

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 3

Another fantastic display of Kuroshitsuji at it’s absolute damn finest, a-la the canon “Jack the Ripper” arc and “Curry Contest” arc from the first season.

The whole time I was watching this episode, I was upset that it would be over too soon. And over too soon it was. I would marathon all 10 of them right here and now if they were available – waiting week to week for this show is absolute torture.

While I am familiar with the events this far into the story, I loved Sebastian’s tactful throws of pebbles to set Ciel’s dagger to the straight path into the bullseye. To a slightly less extent, I also enjoyed his use of pebbles to keep Ciel on the tightrope (although I’m certain Ciel would not agree with me). Sebastian and Ciel muse as to whether or not the missing children are at the circus and Sebastian exclaims that while he was unable to detect the presence of any children, they should search every nook and cranny before jumping to conclusions.

Oh, it was so nice to see Soma and Agni again. I missed you Agni you are so damn cool. Here’s hoping we get to see him in combat again soon!

I also loved the mystery about Snake. I seem to recall how Sebastian deals with him in the future, but they certainly build it up. I also love the subtle foreshadowing – i.e. Undertaker’s comment in the previous episode that Ciel seems unable to do anything on his own without Sebastian (which, later that episode, Ciel’s ability to take action without Sebastian is put directly into question). Or, Soma advising Ciel to smile more, later on for his biggest obstacle to joining Noah’s Arc circus that he was unable to smile (and then, even more ironically, given the nickname “Smile”). I’m certain this material was covered in the manga but it is a nice touch.

Oh, and William T. Spears showed up. Yup, the leader of the Shinigami is investigating the circus himself, which leads Sebastian to conclude that there is definitely something amiss in the circus if it requires the presence of a Shinigami. As usual, William and Sebastian do not get along very well.

Loved the music during the Shinigami flashback sequence. Sounds like this show is going to have a soundtrack to equal even the amazing soundtrack of the first show!

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 2

God do I enjoy the fuck out of every last second of this show. There is not a moment that goes by that I’m not grinning like a fool – and I’ve already read a majority of this arc in manga form years ago.

Sebastian joins the troupe with Ciel – something that Ciel is unaware of. Can Ciel really get anything done without Sebastian, undertaker muses? How funny he should say that as that is about to be put to the test in an environment where he can’t rely on Sebastian. For some reason I was thinking that Beast had two prosthetic legs but I guess I got my wires crossed. Loved seeing Sebastian’s athletic prowess put to the test. I’m also convinced the only way to make him mess up is by throwing some sort of cat into the picture. Guy is so driven otherwise!

Hey, by the way, how about that Abberline? Nice to see him again – and completely not dead this time. It seems that Ciel was impressed with his drive.

Just like in the manga, it seems that Book of Circus is keen on showing that Snake is particularly sharp and not quite as friendly as the other circus performers of Noah’s Arc. Not only that, he seems quite a bit more dangerous. It’s hard for me to make approximations on what will happen because I already know how half of this arc plays out, but let me say that we are in for a ride. A dark, twisted ride. Dark even by Kuroshitsuji standards. Ciel and Sebastian end up diving right down into the depraved, black hole of London’s underbelly and boy it is NOT pretty.

Interesting to note is that it seems A1 pictures will be adapting the rest of the Kuroshitsuji manga after this, where we will go straight into the manor murder mystery arc, of which I am completely unfamiliar other than the premise. If they can keep up this pacing and these production values, again, sign me the fuck up already please.

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus – 1

“After all, I am simply one hell of a butler.”

One day in 2008, I sit in my room on my shitty old HP dv8000 laptop. For the first time in a long time, I browse the “Fall anime” list and look up what I can pick out to watch. “Ooh, Mouryou no Hako. That sounds interesting!” Mouryou is probably one of the greatest shows that nobody ever talks about, but that’s a different story for a different time. “Hmm, Kuroshitsuji? It DOES have a cool opening, that obviously has a correlation with how great a show it is! (please realize this is sarcasm)” I get attached. I get addicted. Episode 8 comes out and as luck turns out, I have school off that day. The next episode? Nowhere to be seen. This was an age before simulcasts – shinsen subs was my only hope. Weeks went by. Eventually another sub group began to churn them out thankfully. But I’ll never forget the addiction that was born that day.

Kuroshitsuji – Book of Circus is essentially a love letter written personally for me – picking up from roughly episode 15 in the original anime, it takes over the story from the point it diverted (Also retroactively retconning non-canon elements such as Asche, Pluto, the queen’s identity) and somehow turning a blind eye to the stuff that was left out (Lang’s creepiness to the guy who defied Ciel at the end of the curry contest). That’s ok because we have an imagination!…YOU have an imagination!

This episode? Fantastic. I was grinning like an idiot because it was like seeing long lost friends again. Here I was with Ciel and Sebastian, enjoying their antics, remembering what it was like following these guys day to day back in college. Even after seeing over 200 series, it hasn’t changed me – I still love this show.

What else is notable? So much. The animation quality is leaps and bounds better than what was shown previously. Art style seems to match the manga a bit better. Action is fluid. Soundtrack is notable. My only hope is that they release an edited version of the first season’s first 15 episodes removing non-canon elements and episodes to better match this season. Release it in a box set and consider me fucking sold.