Posted 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 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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  • Aires
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 08:29 PM)
    I thought the madoka movie RUINED my hom-hom
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 06:52 PM)
    No Game No Life 3: Awesome, hilarious, and the most unsubtle (and even funnier than last ep’s) JoJo reference I’ve seen.
  • Juno
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 06:09 PM)
    I’ll answer questions after work, but let’s still try to avoid direct spoilers. I’m not sure even psgel has seen the film yet.
  • Joe
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 05:53 PM)
    It’s also made more ambiguous by the state of Homura’s soul gem during the movie. She wasn’t exactly in the best condition for making decisions, and she might have acted differently than she otherwise would have.
  • Joe
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 05:51 PM)
    Definitely disagree that Homura didn’t have any character. Most of her characterization in the original series was ambiguous, though, so a lot of it was up to interpretation.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 03:42 PM)
    Not trying to piss off Juno, but this probably will anyway, but I noticed how polarized the debate over Homura’s choice at the end of rebelion. “It’s out of character!” “No it isn’t!” I find it funny considering the girl has well…barely any character at all.
    And when someone says that this choice ruined Homura’s complex character from the series..boy…how I laugh.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 03:36 PM)
    @Emma, Just a guess, but the koren webcomic fomat isn’t really print friendly. Those long tower rows of panels would be hard to fit on a book format.
  • Friend
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 03:10 PM)
    @Emma I guess its the same here as k web comics. They either dont care about it, or they just cant.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 01:22 PM)
    @Juno, So I might as well ask before you hinge your entire opinion on whatever the maker say. What do you believe happened and how it effected the law?
  • Juno
    (Wednesday, Apr 23. 2014 12:19 PM)
    It’s been a whole half year since the film came out and the BD has been released, so we’re finally getting a lot of substance-focused interviews and guides to the film now. The one thing I’m hoping they can do is finally clarify what happened at the end of the film, metaphysically, like they did for the TV series’ ending. I don’t really care about whether [spoiler] is evil. I just want to know how this affects the laws of cycles…

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