Black Butler II Episode #02 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010
Release Date: Thursday, July 15, 2010

The focus shifts to Ciel and Sebastian as the young master and his fiancee roll down the river in search of the white stag.

What They Say
Lady Elizabeth desperately seeks the legendary white stag, a mysterious creature believed to granted eternal happiness. Eager to assist the lady in her quest, our heroes take to the river for an adventure that knows no depths.

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the new cast of this series making its debut in the previous episode and an appearance by some from the original, the first episode of Black Butler II certainly kept me fairly intrigued. Having no reference to the first series, it wasn't something that I latched onto right away but what I did get from the episode prior to that was a lot of fun as we got to see Alois toying with everyone around him as he teeters on pure psychotic and as Claude protects him with the cold calmness of someone who means absolute business. I liked the style of it a lot and found that while elements of it didn't make sense, it was something that told me to come back to see more because I'm not sure of another show in recent memory that played out like this.

The focus of this episode is on Ciel and Sebastian as they attend a party where his apparent fiancee Elizabeth is. Like Ciel, she's young though she acts far more childish at times. Her latest whim is that she wants to on a search for the legendary white stag, which Sebastian details as a creature that is considered to be a portent from the netherworld so they're things that people are in awe of but also worry about. Elizabeth just wants to see it though and to spend time with Ciel, so it's an adventure down the river for the two of them. Sebastian does bring up that there may be something more to all of this with someone who has an issue with Ciel but it isn't anything that will stand in the way of Ciel pleasing his fiancee.

Black Butler does bring some tension into the show but it's a fairly tame kind of tension where you wonder who the audience for it really is. While the pair is out doing their search with Sebastian, they have some silly moments over food and the other servants who end up causing trouble instead of actually helping out. Where it turns darker is when the weather goes bad as a storm rolls in and a simple leisurely trip down the river in search of the white stag puts Elizabeth in danger and Ciel has to man up and save her while he sends Sebastian off to do something else important. It's neat to see how Sebastian and the others take care of the flooding issue but the whole event is the kind of flash flood moment that doesn't really feel threatening.

In Summary:
For someone like me with no connection to the first series, this isn't a bad introduction to Ciel and Sebastian where I actually get to know them a little. The supporting cast shows up here and there as well but by and large it's about the butler and his master along with the fiancee who gets into trouble easily and is very self-centered. It's a very different episode from the first one and I'll easily admit coming away disappointed since to me that's what I thought the show was going to be about, but I'm curious to see what they intend to do with the show and whether it'll be more of this kind of story or something different. I still like the general idea and the cast works well enough, but they haven't given me enough to make me come back as a new viewer after this episode.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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.



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Black Butler