Alois and Claude return as Ciel and Sebastian head to his mansion for a masquerade ball.
What They Say
When Sebastian and Ciel attend a masquerade ball at the Trancy estate, it becomes clear that young master Phantomhive has lost his memory. Later in the evening, Ciel is lured away from the party for an eerie encounter with Alois.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching this season of Black Butler is certainly interesting since it reminds me of when I used to drop into comic book series in my youth and try to catch up and put it all together. A new piece of the Black Butler puzzle comes to light here as it turns out that Ciel has lost his memory at some point, presumably in the first series, and we see how Sebastian set things up with all those that he knew to pretend that they don't know him when they first see him, to reset to zero in effect so that Ciel isn't harmed by this knowledge until he regains his memories on his own. It explains a bit of the oddity of the episodes to date at times and sets up this episode well as the pair are headed to the Trancy estate for a masquerade ball.
It gets awkward after arriving at the entirely too familiar estate when he sees Elizabeth and Lau there, but it goes really badly when Prince Soma flies into the room and grabs onto Ciel, tears flowing from his eyes. While he's understood what's going on, he's missed Ciel a great deal and can't abide by the pact as he talks of memories, though his butler/servant does a good job of trying to change the dynamic of the conversation. It's an amusing way of handling it and Ciel is like a deer in the headlights with the way it plays out. Chalk it up to the strangeness of foreigners.
Bringing back Claude and Alois is rather welcome since they were my introduction to the Black Butler world. With the ball occurring in his estate, Alois' maniacal ways are playing out in an amusing way as he tries to figure out the best costume to wear, eventually deciding that what Hannah has on is truly the best. Seeing how Claude looks at his younger master is intriguing as there's the look of disdain it seems for what Alois is like, something I don't recall from the first episode as it seemed like he was being a dutiful servant throughout. The setup for the masquerade ball works nice enough though in highlighting the people involved and then shifting to all of them in cute and curious outfits that fit with who they are to some extent.
All of this is set up for Alois to play with Ciel, going so far as to dress up as the servant and taking advantage of Ciel during an accident so he can get deliciously close to him. Certain to inspire shivers among the fangirls, there's a wonderful moment where Alois manages to lick Ciel's ear softly, just before he tears away the eye-patch. The force of memories start to become stronger now though and Ciel is being impacted psychologically throughout his stay here as it all takes its toll. If covered before, it may be dull to those fans, but from a discovery point of view where I am in the show, it's interesting to see how they're teasing out the information about the past and building it up to a nice crescendo toward the end of this episode.
Black Butler hits a bit of a turning point for me with this episode as it tackles Ciel's missing memory and explains the way various people around him have been acting. Bringing Alois and Claude back into the picture was welcome since I really enjoy Alois' manic personality and the kind of crazy that he brings to the table with Claude in tow. Bringing both sides to face each other, something that hasn't happened since Ciel was spirited out of there originally, is also welcome since it puts them in a place of being as up front with each other as they can be. This episode touches on a lot of stuff and has a good deal of fun about it, more so than the standalone tales that we've mostly had, and has me really intrigued to see where it's going to go next.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.