Black Butler II Episode #03 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, July 22, 2010
Release Date: Thursday, July 22, 2010

When women start catching on fire throughout London, Ciel does what he must to stop more from occurring for his Majesty.

What They Say
Women all over London are being burned alive, and it's up to Sebastian and Ciel to find the criminal. When the town goes up in smoke, a fabulous grim reaper arrives to lend a helping hand - or perhaps a scythe!

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The shift in the previous episode to Sebastian and Ciel proved to be a bit slower than I expected, and it didn't do altogether that good of a job of introducing the characters to newer viewers like myself, but I liked the overall setting and the kind of relationship that you see between the two. It wasn't enough to tell me I must come back every week, but I'm curious to see what it can do as the Victorian style setting is intriguing and there are some interesting little oddities that makes me want to know more. This episode takes the two into London where there's a string of deaths occurring where women are literally going up in flames.

The story that's set up is fairly basic with the women dying of unusual means and that has Ciel doing some investigation after one of the funerals he comes across and notices a particular material floating in the air. Tracing it back, he starts to figure out what it is that's causing these deaths and that leads him to the obvious place of the portrait studio where the wife of the photographer has gone a bit off the deep end after years of taking portraits of happy young couples, something she's no longer herself. So the trick comes into play where she gets to kill other people to make herself feel better with a bit of glee to her voice.

What it leads to, and this is something first season viewers will get more out of, is the return of Grell. Grell's a bit of a wildchild and has a lot of fun toying with Sebastian upon coming across him again as the area of London they're in starts to burn from the vapors cast out. That the photographer's wife is being manipulated isn't a surprise and it ends up putting Ciel in a bit of a tight position, not that you can really believe that since he's supposed to be smarter than this. Having Grell assist in the woman's capture is cute since he has a bit of flair about him and he's certainly wild, but so far Grell hasn't done all that much for me outside of add a bit of flash with no real substance.

In Summary:
Black Butler II continues to firm up its cast list a bit by bringing Grell back into the game from the first season but there isn't a whole lot of meat to this episode as it largely stands alone. It's good to once again see Ciel doing some actual detective work to figure out things and to see Sebastian being both seriously and deadly as well as briefly cute and accessible. I like the story itself with the photographer's wife and what she was doing, but it wasn't enough to sustain a story all on its own for an episode, causing her to feel more secondary than anything else as it progressed and as Grell stepped into the scene. Lacking the first season, I'm still not sure what to make of this series and its characters.

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: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Black Butler