Nothing scares the populace more than a maniac gouging out peoples eyes.
What They Say
The appearance of a new grim reaper leads to various mix-ups, and a string of mysterious eye-gougings plagues London. Sebastian and his Young Master suspect different culprits, but Ciel might not be around long enough to investigate!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Black Butler had an interesting if somewhat off episode the last time around as it dealt with Alois' background and pushed him off the stage for a bit while letting Claude take over things for a bit. Claude's decidedly off in general as we see here from the start as he almost has a big song and dance number of the very minor change of tint in the color of the main room in the mansion which is almost imperceptible to most people. Everything that has happened has left Ciel feeling unsettled as well and there's a difficulty in adjusting back to what he considers a normal day because of all of it.
So what better to deal with than a new mystery to solve, this time involving a spate of cases where people's eyes are being gouged out. While this could be interesting, it kicks off by introducing us to a new grim reaper that's arrived on the scene to cause chaos, a young spectacled man named Ronald Knox who crashes in while riding a motorized lawnmower that's easily dealt with. In a way, seeing this device in this time kind of causes you to roll the old eyes and it takes a bit to get back into sync with the episode because of it. Sometimes Black Butler does something so out of whack in a real-world sense that it's hard to reconcile and it takes you out of the show. Supernatural elements are assuredly different, but bringing in a motorized lawnmower like this doesn't fit in the same category.
With that as a distraction, Claude actually enacts an interesting and welcome strategy to gain Ciel and abuse him so he can devour his soul. There are all manner of ways to do so, once he separates Sebastian from him, and what he does here is frame up Ciel for the eye gouging crimes going on while also labeling him as Alois Trancy as well, which causes Ciel to feel even more persecuted and confused about what's going on. The psychological edge to it is nicely played as Claude pushes him further into believing that he's Alois and manipulates him to good effect. Claude's been the quirky Butler to be sure, but he's got a wicked theatrical edge to him as well which is really used perfectly here while he has the advantage. Seeing it play out, even as it all goes so predictably, is simply just a lot of fun.
Black Butler continues to be a confusing series in how it wants to be taken and its approach. There are a lot of things to like in this episode, as Claude takes advantage of the situation to good effect and puts an intriguing plan into motion. Yet the grim reapers that arrive, one of them using a seemingly gas powered engine, speaks of jumping the shark upon seeing it. The crazy nature of some of the characters is what does draw me back to it, especially as I wanted to see what nuttiness Alois would bring to the table and how Claude would participate in it, and we get some real flair from Claude this time around. But those couple of minutes with the grim reapers has left a bad taste in my mouth with the show.
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.