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
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 07:11 AM)
    @Emma: well it’s called the king of festival, and for a good reason. Out-of-this-world art installations, some of the biggest talents in music industry performing with state of the art lightshows, no-money bartering economy, strange theatres of surreàl imagery, 100s of thousands of the craziest and most artistic people from around the globe in attendance, DJ booths in coed bubblebaths, anthropomorphic cars, LED Ufos and whatever else you can imagine makes it THE destination.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:09 AM)
    I believe an American friend of mine mentioned the burning man event to me and said it’d be my scene apparently.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 05:51 AM)
    Ah that announcement I had been waiting for, Yahari season 2 has been confirmed now for spring season of 2015.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 01:13 AM)
    @Ninja: yeah spending a week at Black Rock City with 100k people with all the madness that transpires is pretty exhausting. The thing about Burning Man is that given the open atmosphere of acceptance makes it much easier to socialoze since you can keep the ego bullshit to a minimal.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 12:58 AM)
    @Bam I just mean I don’t have the energy for that type of event any more. It just wears me out. That amount of constant socialization.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 09:15 PM)
    @Ninja: yeah pyro contraptions are a big hit there, but that’s a lofty project indeed.
    And I’m pretty sure you’re not that old, there’s a lot of 50-60 year olds there and they’re having a good time. If you’re not a camping person then yeah … it’s not gonna be easy for you, but given the atmosphere, the music, and the art I firmly believe it’s worth checking out at least once.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 06:18 PM)
    @Bam Ahhhh Burning Man. I had some friends from Indiana who were trying to get me to help them build an organ that shoots fire with each key-press for Burning Man. It sounded fun but I already feel too old for something like Burning Man.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:32 AM)
    @Ninja: no I met most of them at Burning Man.
  • ninjarealist
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:23 AM)
    @Bam I see I just figured that if you had a lot of friends in KY you must have lived in the region.
    @Friend Yeah or involved desserts like Palmiers or Croissants. I actually am pretty decent at making croissants from scratch but it’s a pain in the ass.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 21. 2014 08:21 AM)
    And that’s … The More You Know ;)

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