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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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:26 AM)
    And I found the monogatari franchise to be a massive letdown/waste of potential after showing some genuine promise with two of its earlier arcs, only for it to get so caught up in itself quickly and then losing me.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:21 AM)
    I do believe that a nonsensical narrative can increase enjoyment and creativity of something and I dislike being spoonfed information but it won’t automatically make me enjoy every show/film/etc that uses that approach.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:08 AM)
    In both attempts that I tried to get through darker than black I felt that it could have been so much more were it not so episodic and that it could have gone into more depth, as it stands the show never really worked for me beyond the ovas, some of the action scenes and Yins background.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 12:03 AM)
    I agree that there are loose threads in Evangelion that were probably never fully developed by the committee, and a lot of symbolism (primarily Christian) that were only there for flare and edginess. But everything I say is backed up by the information available in the material or straight from the infodumps. If you see the Eva proposal to TXN (Tokyo TV) you can see that everything, and so much more actually, was planned from the beginning; albeit some stuff did change when Anno lost his mind.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:58 PM)
    The alpha strike was to infiltrate Central Dogma and take command and eliminate everyone inside. Seele is not really a sentimental type, if you hadn’t notice, so a ouple of hundred casualties before everyone turns to goop is pretty inconsequential.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    @Aidan: Gendo is one of the few at NERV (if not the only one) who knows about the scrolls and the truth behind the Evas, and keep in mind Shinji is primarily piloting 01 just to get his acceptance; so he was certainly needed. Plus in the original series you need an intermediate vessel to connect thru an entry plug (Shinji and Asukas, moms) so not any kid will do. This is before the dummy plug and Toji mind you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:50 PM)
    There is being obtuse and indirect. And then there’s just being plain nonsensical. I don’t want to spell out everything but I hate to see people tie thin threads together and act like it was some great master-plan when it could just as well have been a guy just throwing any random shit together that he could think of. Ikuhara for one got away with that bullshit far too often.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:45 PM)
    @Bam, And why was alpha strike necessary? If the goal is to destroy the evas and such then why not do as I suggested. Remove Gendo. Then it would be a piece of cake. And killing everyone just seems excessive and really unnecessary.
    Pretty sure anyone in Shinji’s class was suitable to be an evangelion pilot. And alright, shinji’s connection to the Eva is a reason to keep him in. But Gendo…not so much. He doesn’t influence it in any real way personally.

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