The challenge is on as Ciel is now firmly set to go kill Alois, if he can make it past all the crazy.
What They Say
The "dance of death" is the scheduled entertainment when Sebastian and Ciel attend a private affair at the Trancy estate, and only teatime can persuade the butlers to lay down their weapons and stop the bloodshed.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the events of the formal ball that had Ciel attacked regularly by Alois and Claude, Ciel isn't all that keen to really revisit the estate when he gets a letter of apology and an invitation. Not surprising at all and that leads us into a little bit of discovery of history where we learn of how the two families have operated as the "villainous nobles" of the Queen by doing her dirty deeds over the years and yet there was an issue. The Trancy family wanted all of the attention given to them and so set about to have the Phantomhive family ruined and murdered, with the child sold off. Going through this info dump fairly quickly, it solidifies Ciel's intent to match up against Alois and hand out the death that he very much wants to give him.
Alois has much the same plan in the end so when the two do meet up at the Trancy mansion, it doesn't take long for them to formalize a duel in a legendary arena that the family has. And so as to not sully themselves with such dirty deeds, the young men both set their butlers to the task of eliminating the other. The battle goes fairly well, with the arrival of Alestair Druitt there to add a bit of color as a latecomer to the ball that ended previously, at least until tea time strikes and both butlers set to making sure their masters are properly served in every way. It's the kind of silly yet expected break in a show like this that only gets sillier because of Druitt's reactions as it plays out.
All of that is just a side story to what's really going on as Ciel is very much intent on killing Alois. As much as a nice piece of theatrics that it is to have the butlers deal with it, Ciel very much wants to have Alois dead. When the two do start sparring out of the view of others, it's a quick but brutal bit that again points to juts how cruel and cold that Ciel can be. There is a certain disappointment that happens as the story unfolds, but it's balanced out by what's a seemingly intriguing moment as Claude gets a taste of Ciel's blood and has a reaction that is very unusual. One that, unless it was answered before in the first season, really makes me interested in knowing what it means and what it could lead to.
Black Butler puts an emphasis on action this time around with some back story mixed in at the start to set things in motion. It ends it without any conclusion to be had, though it doesn't give hint that Ciel wouldn't follow through if given the opportunity. There's an interesting hook brought into the end as well that makes you look at Ciel in a new way which is fun since I didn't think he was as cold as he's shown to be in this episode before. The background story is definitely a welcome area here as it fleshes things out more for me and the action side of it is fun, if campy at times, but fits in with the kind of semi-outlandish nature of certain elements in the series. It's an episode that leaves me curious as to what it wants to expose next and how it will impact things more.
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.