Posted by psgels on 12 September 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kuroshitsuji II




So, yes…. I caved in.

Here’s the thing: for the past summer season, there have been three series that stood out to me: Shiki, because it had the best atmosphere, Occult Academy, because it had the best execution, and Kuroshitsuji II, because it had the best plot (a possible fourth on this list would be Sengoku Basara Two because it had the best action, but that entirely depends on its final three episodes). Because Kuroshitsuji II did what many other series failed at, and became more interesting to watch than I could have hoped for, I guess that I just was obliged to check out that first season now – not all of it, mind you. This is one of those series that at times seems to be actively trying to be bad with its random stories and insert-episodes, so this is a review of just the episodes 5-8 and 17-24. If you want an impression of the entire series, just note that I couldn’t make it even past the second episode. Twice.

Without the random annoying side-story, Kuroshitsuji becomes quite a snappy and diverse series about the occult in England around 150 years ago. There are a few holes in the plot here and there, but they’re all simple enough that they can be just guessed, so I can recommend this method of watching for the people who are interested in Kuroshitsuji’s darker parts, but have no indention of sitting through hordes of uninspired light-hearted moments that only take ten seconds to become annoying.

Because I must say, those darker parts were quite worth it. This series sells itself with bishies doing the most impossible stunts, but behind it is an interesting and quite often disturbing world with quite a bit of intrigue. The lead character Ciel starts out as a bit of a questionable lead character, but he turns out to be quite an interesting anti-hero who has given up on life, just for the sake of his revenge. The darker parts of this series is where the unique selling point of Kuroshitsuji also really shines: Sebastian fits right in with this dark atmosphere, and even the few anticlimactic uses for his powers turn out to be hilarious, like they should be.

Having said that, though, I do want to say that I still like the second season of Kuroshitsuji better. Alois and Claude (and Johanna possibly too) are by far the most interesting characters in the entire franchise, and these two really made a huge spectacle of the second season. The first season tries, and it has some neat villains too by the way, but none of them really get close to how fun it was to just see those two flamboyant characters parade across the screen. Sebastian and Ciel are interesting, but in the end they aren’t really the most complex characters and there is no development between them either. Especially Ciel makes a number of rather strange and stupid decisions throughout the series.

Still, I liked the plot here, the creators put in some very interesting ideas for Ciel to tackle, and overall I had no problems getting though this series and I quite enjoyed it. Kuroshitsuji is a strange series though. I can easily have seen the first season as 13 episodes, and my guess would be that it would have been much more accessible and balanced than that it is now. And yet for some reason this show paraded all over with its bishies and shallow side-stories, even though beneath it is actually pretty good. This isn’t another case of Kobato, whose first half was simply inoffensive before it could get to its good part. Kuroshitsuji’s random stories are annoying beyond belief; they are completely different from that it really is about, and I really don’t want to watch anything more of that.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Good atmosphere, well told, a pretty good sense of build up.
Characters: 8/10 – Nothing special or well developed, but an interesting cast nonetheless with a nice chemistry to watch.
Production-Values: 8/10 – To me, the second season was also better in this aspect, but the art looks consistently solid and the soundtrack is also pretty adequate.
Setting: 8/10 – Okay, it’s England with a lot of liberties taken, but this series makes very good use of these liberties to show a very interesting setting here.

Suggestions:
Suteki Tantei Labyrinth
Trinity Blood

7 Responses

  1. brita says:

    So, if I watch this, should i just skip over the rest of the episodes you didn’t list? Or is like the first episodes necessary?

  2. Firechick says:

    Meh. I didn’t really care for this series from the start so I didn’t watch it, though two of my female friends are avid fangirls of it and I respect their liking of it, even though I myself don’t watch the anime or read the manga.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Brita: reading a synopsis of this series (http://myanimelist.net/anime/4898) should be enough. Episode 5 starts in the middle of an arc, but things shouldn’t be that hard to guess what’s going on.

  4. tanukichan says:

    Truth is, I couldn’t make it past episode 2 either. The servants are annoying as hell, the jokes are too forced and the story is just uninteresting to watch. But now, maybe I’d be able to finish it using your method, haha.

  5. inachan says:

    For my part, I really liked it until ep 13 or so, when the indian arc started, but then I found the second half to be boring and just random with its plot. I really liked the fillers after the first story arc too, they where so much fun!

  6. Fiona says:

    I recommend watching the filler episodes and side stories as well, because I found every episode in the series says something about Ciel and Sebastian, and their relationship. It seemed the directors/writers wanted to reveal something about the two characters, and created side stories/filler episodes to make that revelation.

    Episode 9 is a good example. On the surface, it is a filler episode. However, this is the only episode that shows what Ciel really thinks about Sebastian.

    I agree the Indian prince story arc was the least interesting in the series. This story arc served to compare the two master and servant relationships. That is, Ciel and Sebastian had complete faith and understanding of each other (compared to Prince+Agni).

  7. otakuhime says:

    well, epis dat u listed r all fillers…shitty i must say…

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 25. 2014 12:35 AM)
    @Emma: Most of them are obscured enough to not warrant a reaction from any group or affiliation. I mean seriously, how much do we even know about Gilgamesh? Also these are ancient mythical heroes so they are in a way the inheritance of mankind and nobody can claim a special domain over their use. Maybe Sumerians could, but they are all long gone.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Nov 25. 2014 12:25 AM)
    Ah one may complain about how type-moon uses historical/mythical characters, to each their own but really nothing compares to poor Oda Nobunaga, the Japanese Sengoku characters and all that three kingdoms stuff, the treatment they were given in other anime.
  • Zo
    (Tuesday, Nov 25. 2014 12:18 AM)
    Or, how about we don’t bring them back and stain their memory by turning them into retarded anime characters? You know, like what they’ve done in the series so far?
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Nov 25. 2014 12:06 AM)
    Also they don’t really need magical concealment, they are snipers after all, stealth and not giving away your position is something they train for, and apparently do pretty well. Häyhä killed more than 500 Soviet soldiers and they were still confused about from where they’re being shot at. It was -20°C and he was hidden in snow biting down on ice so they can’t see him or his breath. That right there is a Heroic Spirit if there ever was one.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 11:59 PM)
    @Aidan: yeah I had the Assassin class in mind as well. Archer is not a bad candidate either, but they are still way too hands on to be a sniper; although given that could be due to this Archer’s style more than anything. And as much OP as they are a sniper still doesn’t even need to engage them, just take out the masters from miles away much faster than a deflectable arrow.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 08:15 PM)
    @Aidan Lol, Medusa was a different story- she had no known fighting tool by which she could be classified, which is why it was so easy for them to make shit up for her. Whereas with the heros we know what weapons they used, we don’t have as much leeway.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 08:02 PM)
    Alright I can get on board with Joan of Arc and Saber looking very similer, even mordred has a good excuse. But this is just a shoddy attempt to avoid not having the Fate/stay night poster girl in a game.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:59 PM)
    @K-Off, not really. I mean Medusa is a rider and the mythlogical beast is hardly know for riding a vehilce. All you really need to do is make there noble phantasm related to the class. Still would you even want anyone from the later centuries? The mythlogical heroes were OP as f*ck.
    Also Emperor Augustus has already been summoned as a servent. And get this…it’s red saber.
    http://typemoon.wikia.com/wiki/Playable_Saber_(Fate/Extra)
  • k-off
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:28 PM)
    Thing is, the whole system kind of breaks the fuck apart once you bring in people from beyond the 17th century. Swords weren’t a primary weapon anymore so there wouldn’t be any sabers, unless you count bayonets, lancers are obsolete, and the rest is the same as well.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Nov 24. 2014 07:09 PM)
    @Emma Eh, George Washington, General William T Sherman, Guy Fawkes, Emperor Augustus, Julius Caesar, Andrew Jackson, Simo haya, Alvin York, the list goes on friend.

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