With Alois and Ciel sharing a mind at the moment, their servant butlers must fight it out to ensure the survival of their master.
What They Say
Hannah's devious game of deception forces Sebastian and Claude to agree to the unthinkable: a demon verses demon duel where only one butler emerges victorious!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Hannah's game, made more clear in the previous episode, reaches its conclusion with this one as the series draws to a close. With the body of Ciel in her hands in which it contains the minds of both Ciel and Alois, she's now set the stage for the two butlers to fight it out using their powers in order to save the one that they're bonded with. Having the two of them fight plainly, not through the sort of gentlemanly way that we've seen several times so far, is a very enjoyable experience since they cut loose. And when they do so, it's not something that plays out for long but rather has a fairly quick sort of intensity to it. The relationship the two have had has been fun and watching it reach this conclusion is pretty well done all told.
Hannah's tale unfortunately hasn't really connected well since, like a lot of Alois' past that we've heard, there's that air of deceit about all of it so that you can't really believe everything you see. It's also made problematic by the fact that it all came really at the end, even if a few small seeds were laid earlier, giving the whole thing a rather rushed feeling as it unfolds. The duel comes across well and that short period for it was wholly appropriate. But as Hannah's tale winds down and Sebastian finishes things off himself, it comes across as being Very Important yet doesn't really feel that way. It's putting on airs it doesn't have the right to do.
Perhaps all of it has greater significance if you've seen the first season, but the ending to Black Butler II has a very low key feeling that's almost disappointing. It does tie up things nicely enough, but it lacks some of what made parts of the series so charming. We do see some of the supporting cast return after being away for what seems like forever and even Lady Elizabeth makes a return visit. But it's pointed out through this how little impact the supporting players have had on the show and that it really came down to the main four players, with the surprise importance of Hannah dropped in just before it all came to a head. And as the lengthy epilogue plays out, it feels so disconnected after what has happened that it's hard to really care how things resolve for all involved.
When all is said and done, Black Butler II had some really fun moments throughout, but the majority of those for me came when Alois was off on his own particular style of crazy. The two butlers had their charms as they played the role of gentleman with a brutal edge just under the surface as they protected those they had contracted with. When it came to telling the larger story, I think this series failed in general with its execution in giving the audience a unifying theme to tie it all together as so much of it came across as just a lot of random episodes that had some connection to each other. When it did finally start to show it, I don't think they brought it together well enough to make it work, or to truly maintain an interest.
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.