I was really pleased when it was announced that one of my favourite manga ‘Kuroshitsuji’ was going to be animated. And finally, the highly anticipated anime version premiered this Fall season. Having seen the first episode which aired last week, I was impressed with the overall quality of the animation and the VA casts. I thought the characters sound just as I imagined, particularly Sebastian and Ciel. Daisuke Ono is just full of win. I love the way he voiced Sebastian. Seeing my favourite butler in animated form is simply worth the wait. The studio did a rather good job so far. Let’s hope they can sustain the momentum through out the series. On a musical note, the OP theme by SID is quite a good rocking opener. So is the ED song by Becca. Anyway, here are my impressions of episodes 1 and 2, which aired just this past Thursday.
EPISODE 1:HIS BUTLER IS TALENTED
INTRODUCING THE CHARACTERS
Lord Brat of the mansion/manor: Ciel Phantomhive
~the able-bodied, super multi-tasking butler & uber bodyguard to Ciel Phantomhive
The Gardener, the Maid, the Cook and the Steward (Tanaka, the tiny granpa bloke behind Seb)
The first part of this episode served to introduce the characters that made up the Phantomhive household. It also tells us what is Ciel’s relationship with Sebastian, the Butler. Apparently, Ciel made a pact with the devil…in this case, with Sebastian who is a demon. Seb is bound to serve Lord Brat in return for his soul. We don’t know how this contract came about yet. I suppose this will be revealed as the series move forward. We also got to know the other staffs of the household who are mostly a bunch of bumbling idiots that provides some comedic flavour for the show.
The second part introduced the plot about an unscrupulous Italian bloke called Damian who ran a toy manufacturing company in India. The dude calls on the Phantomhive mansion in an effort to try and weadle out a large sum of cash from Lord Brat with the pretense of expanding the business. The thing is, he had already sold off the business and fired all the employees. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know who or what he’s dealing with when he stepped onto Lord Brat’s territory. He got more than what he came for and possibly be mentally scarred for life. Sebastian totally shines with his dual personality. The black butler can switch from a nicey-nicey ‘I am serving tea’ mode to a maliciously evil ‘you can only move half the distance once you lost your legs’ mode in split seconds, scaring the hell out of the Damian dude. And he did it all in a wickedly funny way. I guess you can call it dark humour but it’s effective. The other thing I noted was the huge painting showing a man and a woman, supposedly Ciel’s parents. The man in the painting looks suspiciously like Sebastian. I am wondering what is Sebastian’s true connection with the Phantomhive family. All in all, episode 1 got the series off to a good start, combining the lighter comedic tones and dark gothic atmosphere in a smooth flow.
EPISODE 2: HIS BUTLER, THE STRONGEST
This episode starts off with the household staffs trying to catch rodents that had been chewing on some wires causing problems with power outage in the mansion. Coincidentally somewhere in a darkly lit basement, Ciel is having a game of billiards with several shady looking people, talking about rats and how it’s harmful to let the loathsome scavengers wander around spreading harmful diseases. Conversation goes on about how and when the rats can be exposed and exterminated. Apparently Ciel’s pretty good at billiards and this seems to annoy some of his playing buddies. Cut back to the mansion where Ciel entertain a couple of guests from the billiards game earlier, Madam Red with her butler, Grell and Lau with his loli-like girlfriend. *Laughs* at Madam Red making a pass at Sebastian and trying to persuade him to become her butler making Grell a little anxious and nervous. Comedy ensues with the household staffs getting no where in trapping the rodents until Sebastian tells them to quit playing games and with a one-handed swoop, he caught the responsible rats which was then netted by Tanaka. But something happens to Ciel when he retires to his room.
Ciel got himself kidnapped by the mafia and was being held at a building on some dodgy part of the city. The scarface mafia guy accused our little Lord of being in the way of his drug business and that Ciel has something that he wants. It was the same guy who had been at the billiard’s game. He threatened to kill his staffs one by one if he didn’t get what he wants. Mr Scarface had some of his henchmen deliver the ransom letter to Sebastian and to eliminate the staffs. But things went a little awry when Meirin (the maid) accidentally trip while running to bring the letter to Sebastian, falling over him and thus narrowly missed being shot by a sniper who was trying to target Sebastian. Scarface was really pissed off with the mission failure and was alarmed when his henchmen told him they were being followed. Sebastian managed to catch up with the two goons responsible for trying to kill him and sent them along with their car down a cliff. Things got even more violent and bloody later on…
While Bard and the others decide what to do with a pie back at the Phantomhive mansion, Sebastian made his way to the place where Ciel was held and proceed to take on all the guards outside the building single-handedly. Armed with silverware knives and forks, he managed to take out the guards inside as well. He found his way to the room where Scarface had a gun pointed at Ciel’s head. Just as Sebastian brought out the stuff (some kind of key) that the Scarface wanted, he was shot through the head and shot at multiple times by the Scarface’s reinforcements. What they didn’t know was that Sebastian is a demon and he can’t be killed. He got back up, took out the bullets from his body and proceed to spray the gunmen, killing all of them. Sebastian then twisted scarface’s arm without touching him, getting hold of the bullet that was meant for Ciel’s head. The mafia guy squirmed in surprise and pain. Game’s over for the mafia guy. Ciel’s been rescued and brought back to the Phantomhive mansion to be greeted by Finnian and Meirin.
This episode is filled with some interesting action sequence featuring flying cutleries as deadly weapons and a fair bit of blood was being shown. It does appear that the writers squeeze at least two manga chapters into this episode. The anime took the liberty to add in some non-manga parts into the scenes for this particular arc. I don’t recall Madam Red and Lau appearing this early in the manga. Lau’s girlfriend weren’t in the manga version as well. That little inclusion was amusing to see. The changes weren’t in any way detracting. It only makes me curious to see what other changes they’re going to make in the upcoming episodes.