I’m a little late on this anime, I know. I just finished it a bit ago, and overall, I enjoyed it. I only began watching it because I had met Sebastian’s English voice actor at Youmacon last November. For some reason, I felt obligated to watch the show he is most known for, and I don’t regret my choice. In fact, I just got the DVD of season one in the mail a couple weeks ago. And I got to see Book of the Atlantic last week which was super weird and awesome.
It’s unique, definitely. It’s such a strange concept, and I honestly didn’t think I would like it. I’ve known of the show for years, but I’d always thought it was not for me. I got the first manga for Christmas and enjoyed reading it, so I continued to the show.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the show, it’s been quite popular for a while. But, I guess if you’re not aware of the concept, I’ll give a brief summary.
The main protagonist is Ciel Phantomhive, a twelve-year-old earl to the Phantomhive family and owner of the Funtum toy company. This is due to a tragedy that happened roughly two years before the beginning of the show. Someone set fire to his family’s estate, purposefully killing his parents. He is then tortured by a strange group of hooded people, forcing him to become vengeful and furious. He wishes to kill the people who killed his parents, but the problem is he’s only a child, and he needs extra help for this task. He forms a pact with a demon, whom he calls Sebastian. Sebastian becomes his butler, and will do anything Ciel commands him to do. When the people guilty of killing his parents is dead, Sebastian may have Ciel’s soul.
Though this show seems dark and violent, it’s very lighthearted for the majority of the show. Nearing the end it becomes much darker and serious.
I’m not really sure what part of the show I enjoyed the most. I enjoy the comedy, historical setting, supernatural creatures, and action that it offers. There are many aspects of this show that are unique to itself, and that’s what makes it stand out so much. I can say for sure this is the only anime I’ve watched set in Victorian England, and has the youngest main character from what I can recall. The fight scenes are very interesting, due to the unconventional techniques Sebastian uses when fighting. It’s quite something to watch a butler throw butter knives into people’s heads.
The premise is weird, I will admit. There are also a slew of bizarre characters. Obviously, we have the revenge-driven twelve-year-old who runs an entire company, and a demon acting as a butler. But the other characters that work for the Phantomhive manor are Mey-Rin, a clumsy maid with terrible eyesight, Finnigan, a gardener with superhuman strength, Baldroy, a chef who burns anything he touches, and Tanaka, a butler who doesn’t do much but sit and drink tea. I think these characters are what keeps the show from being too much of a downer. Sebastian constantly has to pay close attention to their antics, and often must fix anything they fail at, which is almost every task they are assigned.
Other characters are Elizabeth, Ciel’s fiancee, Grell, a flamboyant reaper, The Undertaker, a not-so-serious grim reaper, Pluto, a werewolf (sort of), and yet many more. I wouldn’t say this show is heavy on character development, since for the most part, they all remain static throughout the show. Though, there are some themes that are thought-provoking.
Considering the entire end goal is revenge, there are a lot of branches of this topic that can be explored. If Ciel were to change his mind about avenging his parents, he would still be stuck due to the pact he made. It’s clear that this is not the best solution for his grief, but he is still a child, and to him, that was his only option. Throughout the show he is told that this may not be a good idea. He knows that going through with it will lead to his death, and he’s told he will be missed, but he doesn’t think he will be. He feels he won’t be happy living without his parents, or with the person responsible for their deaths to be living. He often says, “I forgot how to smile,” which is a strange thing for a child to say. He thinks he will never feel happiness again. It makes me feel bad for him until I realize how much of a jerk he is.
This brings me to my next point about the show: it’s hard to tell who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. Yes, Ciel and Sebastian are the main characters, but when you look at their characters, they’re kind of terrible. Obviously, Sebastian is a demon, which automatically puts him on the bad side, and though Ciel seems like an innocent child, he’s far from it. He could be nice if he wanted to be, but instead, he chooses to boss those who work for him around more than he should. Practically to the point where he doesn’t end up lifting a finger. Yes, they agreed to work for him, but he doesn’t hardly give anyone a break. He’s constantly unhappy with their work, no matter how hard they try. He never seems to give a thank you or a chance for them to relax. I don’t exactly hate Ciel, since all people and characters have their flaws, but I do wish he was a bit more lenient. And, due to his past and age, it makes sense he would take advantage of them.
On to Sebastian. He’s a pretty cool dude, I’ll have to say, but this would be due to his immortality and demon powers. He is shown to be able to do practically anything, and when he gets hurt, he heals almost immediately. He has an extreme amount of patience for what Ciel makes him put up with. This is most likely due to being a demon, but it’s still somewhat impressive. Ciel is a nightmare to handle, along with the other servants of the Phantomhive manor. He basically has to run the place himself at some times. I ended up feeling sympathy for him, though he’s a demon.
One thing I want to say about Book of the Atlantic (don’t worry it’s not that much of a spoiler): at the end, after everything that had happened and Sebastian had saved the day (as he always does), Ciel tells him to take a break. Which is probably the most kind thing he’s ever said to Sebastian. I was honestly shocked when I heard it. This never happens in the show. Actually, Ciel is a lot more kind in the movie now that I think about it. I won’t say much more than that for those of you wanting to watch it in the future.
And, something about this fandom as well: I know a ton of people ship Ciel and Sebastian, but even if I completely ignore the wrongness of it, I still can’t understand where that makes sense. I feel they have an understanding of each other, but there’s nothing intimate about it. This doesn’t make me angry with the people who do ship them, but I just don’t understand it.
In all, I entirely enjoy this show in all of its silliness and uniqueness. I do suggest it to others, though I would say it’s not for everyone. And, it’s not my absolute favorite but it’s definitely near the top of my list. There’s just something charming about its quirkiness.
I hope you enjoyed this review, and again I’m sorry for not posting more, but for sure there will be a post on Friday, which will be my very first tour post with OWLS! If you don’t know what OWLS is, it’s a group of anime loving, kind people who accept everyone for who they are, what they believe, and what they like. There’s a blog tour every month focused around a theme and bloggers can participate in when they are part of the group. This month’s is TEAM in honor of June being Pride/LGBT+ month and I will be participating this month, along with next month, so look out for those!
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