There are a lot of good anime series out there, and there are a lot of hit or miss anime series out there. There is no clearer case of this than the series “Black Butler” (Kuroshitsuji to those of you who only do the Japanese). This is a series that had an exquisite first season and then an un-needed and series tarnishing second season leaving it as a hit or miss for me. When I found two more series (Book of Circus and Book of Murder) were coming out I had my doubts but as an anal retentive person I took the plunge and made the purchase. So now without further regard I introduce Black Butler: Book of Circus.
This series is about Ciel Phantomhive, a Noble born child who had his parents slaughtered and his estate burned. In his darkest hour he managed to cry out to a demon to come to him in his time of need. Establishing a contract for service the Demon offered to stay in Ciel’s services until he has fulfilled his revenge and Ciel promised the most valuable thing he had left…his soul. This series appears to be a side story in the timeline of the first season even though reports say it is a sequel to the second season (no chance of that). This story is an arc where Ciel is ordered by the queen to investigate the disappearances of children from the streets of London. Their investigation brings them to a mysterious circus that may or may not be the at the center. This series follows the investigation from the beginning to its thrilling conclusion.
I loved the first series for many reasons and disliked the second for additional things. This series, though short is very much at home in the first half of the series. The plot is very exciting with the colorful cast of characters interacting within the intricate web that eventually leads to the revelation of what has happened. The characters are really the driving force in this series for any male viewers (Sebastian for some of the female ones). These characters are colorful and have rich well stocked back stories that make even the bad guys sympathetic. When you add to this the actual mystery story and dark undertones this makes for a great watch. One of the other aspects of the series is where you see Ciel out of his league in places and that gives his character added surprising depth. The music as always is one of the stars as well with a vibe that leaves you falling through the darkness into the depths of the London Underworld. The animation continues to be very well done and action incredibly fluid. Lastly the voice acting is on point (love the dub, thanks Funimation).
So we are also looking into the negative aspects of this series. I feel that they had to rush things over the 10 episode run making some aspects of the investigation come to a conclusion a bit…too quickly. I mean they search around and then they are done! I mean really! I think with a full season order this could have been much better done and the series could have been allowed to shine much brighter. I am also under the notion that the series tries to be too dark, I mean the violence to children may or may not have had that much justification.
In the end this is a very good series that fits very much within the folds of this series first season. I think as a stand-alone story it could have been longer but in the end this shows the series when playing to its roots can still stand on its own.