Guy, I just finished watching (8/13) Book of Circus and I feel like intense feels punched me in the gut and now I’m just foaming at the mouth…
To start off I’m a huge fan of the manga and knowing that the Circus and Murder arc were going to be animated, I was super excited~ (though also slightly scared because season 1 was a total disappointment) and I just binged on it right now. While I was watching I also noticed a sense of deja vu and then I realized that I’d watched the first 2-3 episodes before they’d been subbed.
But yes, this is the third season of Black Butler, however, this season should be taken as the original season 2 (if we follow the manga since season two and a part of season 1 never existed in the original storyline).
In Victorian London, the breathtaking performances of the Noah’s Ark Circus have captured the attention of people all across the city. But the spell of magic and wonderment woven under the big top is not without consequences. Children have suddenly begun to vanish, and some suspect these mysterious performers are responsible. In an attempt to get to the bottom of these disturbing disappearances, the dashing duo of demon butler, Sebastian Michaelis, and his young master, Ciel Phantomhive, will infiltrate the circus and uncover whatever darkness may lie at its core!
First off I’d like to say that out of the 3 seasons, this is now my favorite. The main reason is that it was pretty faithful to the manga, which was really awesome because the manga is amazing!
The music was also great, I loved it, and have listened to it nonstop since before I got around to watching the anime (I loved the opening when I first saw the PV and the ending when Akira performed at a con, I even bought the CD, haha). For the opening we have ENAMEL by SID and for the ending is Aoki Tsuki Michite (蒼き月満ちて) by AKIRA! Out of the two I was most impressed with the beginning song’s animation but in terms of which song I liked better…I can’t decide, haha. I would totally recommend listening to them both! The one I leave you with is ENAMEL
There was also some other music playing between scenes but I didn’t think they were particularly great (in fact I don’t think I noticed a lot of it most of the time). In terms of the voices, I was slightly iffy about Peter’s voice (he’s one of the acrobats) because he’s a child and his voice was something I’d expect to hear in a teenager. But I could be totally wrong about his age since he appeared as a child in memories. As for the others, Daisuke Ono (Sebastian) and Maaya Sakamoto (Ciel) were superb! This was the first time I watched the sub for Black Butler and it was great!
The only part that I ‘really disliked’ was the censoring of dismembered body parts. I really wanted to see that, haha. Also, I don’t remember the little details of the manga but I feel like this could have been way more disturbing than it was made to be (not that some parts weren’t disturbing enough).
The animation (while not the best) was better than what I expected. The movement of the circus people was pretty fluid and while the art went bleh sometimes when the scene was zoomed out, for the most part it was good. And when the Phantomhive servants have to protect the manor…it went much better than what I thought it would. The music in some parts did ruin the mood, like I’d be excited and serious about a scene but then this music for funny parts would play and I’d lose that intensity. I think that happened twice…
As for our new characters, I don’t think I was too attached to any of them. I mean, I could feel that they all trusted each other and their purpose was clear from the start but something about them just didn’t click. I wouldn’t say they were bad characters though, I just didn’t like them. There was Doll, who I did have a preference for but that was because she was so androgynous. I totally forgot that Doll was a girl until she reveals it to Ciel. Out of the lot of them, Doll appeared to be the one most troubled by their kidnapping activities (as we see when she hesitates to kill an officer).
I am excited to see more of Snake, unfortunately, he doesn’t really get much screen time. If anything I’d imagine he would appear in future projects. His whole ‘voice changing depending on what snake talks’ was really neat.
The anime also does a good job of reminding the viewer of the relationship that Ciel and Sebastian share in the first episode (master and servant, demon and prey, nurturing a soul). And throughout the anime Sebastian explained where certain characters like Soma and Agni came from and what supernatural creatures have been introduced in the series (so if it’s been awhile since you read the manga/watched the anime fear not!). I know one of the OVAs took this kind of approach (where the characters talk directly to the viewer) and I thought adding bits and pieces of that was nice.
And that ending! How we got to see the Undertaker’s eye and the piece of jewelry (I forgot what it was) he’s got…I hope they do more and get to his involvement in things! *crosses fingers for more manga content*
In the end I give Book of Circus an 8.5/10 rating! And I would definitely recommend this even though it’s season 3…
I’m having mixed feelings about recommending the two seasons prior to Circus…it’s just that this arc really only focused on one case that Ciel was sent to investigate and I think that’s another major reason I enjoyed this. Usually the cases he’s on last only a few episodes but here we got a whole 10 so it has a feeling of completeness! I’d even say to check out the manga and after you’ve read the Circus and Murder arc to just jump into season 3! Oh! I forgot to mention. There are 2 more episodes included in season 3 that I’ve yet to watch so that’ll have it’s own post. I’m still missing the Book of Murder OVAs.
SPOILERS: I’m going to talk a bit more about what actually happened in season 3 (and 1 +2)!
So I mentioned up top that I really liked this season because it was more complete than the other two. Another thing was that it was much darker in content.
In season 1, Ciel’s goal is to find out who murdered the Phantomhive’s and to get revenge for the humiliation he faced for the few months he’d disappeared for. By the end he’s accomplished his goal and Sebastian is about to devour his soul (as per their contract, he helps Ciel’s wish come true in return for his soul).
In season 2 we find out that Ciel’s soul had been stolen by another demon and Sebastian had gone out to retrieve it (since he’s the one who’d nurtured it). In the end though, Ciel ends up with amnesia and he’s forgotten all the evil deeds he’d committed. Since he’d already achieved his goal of revenge Sebastian ends up lying to Ciel and saying that Alois (a new character with a demon butler of his own) was the one responsible. Basically it’s a battle between two demons to see who can devour Ciel’s immensely delicious soul.
However, in season 3 Ciel is sent to investigate Noah’s Ark Circus only to find out that their patron has this really unnatural and perverse obsession with beautiful people, especially children, which seemed to originate when he met Vincent (Ciel’s father) and Ciel when he’d been a child. There had just been this air about the company that Vincent had and wanting to be a part of that circle, Kelvin (the old man patron) throws himself into projects of surgery and body modification.
This season had quite a few disturbing scenes and for some reason I just wanted more!
For example, one night the circus crew goes out to kidnap a girl and as she’s going home they approach her. I have no idea if they used some kind of drug or hypnosis but the girl believed she was in this cute fluffy world with horses, carriages, and magic tricks. In reality though she was being kidnapped. In that scene the police notice that she’s being taken and an alarm is sounded. The circus troupe interferes and kills off all the people.
But what I found especially disturbing was what the girl was seeing. In this fantasy world the police were actually bears and they were running towards her. As the circus people killed them the bears would release confetti and the girl was just laughing and clapping. I mean, I know she wasn’t aware of what was happening but there was just something disturbing about the cute and innocent placed with murder and kidnapping.
Then the part where Kelvin invites Ciel for dinner and Joker puts on a show. How all the children were performing ‘circus tricks’ but because they were in a trance everything they did ended in bloodshed: tightrope walking and the kid falls to his death, lion tamer gets killed by the lion, and knife target was about to be stabbed repeatedly. And in all of this Kelvin did nothing but laugh and clap. Ciel only had Sebastian intervene when he noticed one of the children matched the missing child profile he’d been tasked to investigate.
Also, something about how he hadn’t saved the others was pretty terrible, even though we know it was bothering him (and what he orders Sebastian to do). I know Ciel explains it as the children never being able to be the same but I don’t think that was a decision that belonged to him (then again he’s not exactly a good guy). I don’t really know what the kids who’d been there were going through or what they were seeing in their trance (nobody looked harmed is all) but they looked alright to me so…
And the saddest part was finding out what the kids were being used for. I felt so bad when Joker found out his (and everyone else’s) prosthetics were made out of human bones (or children’s specifically). I am not surprised he fainted. It makes me wonder what exactly went on when Ciel had been in captivity. I really wish they’d gone into what exactly happened then.
The only hints we get were that Ciel had been branded and that children had been mutilated. Since he’s not dead and he has no scars (that I’m aware of), it makes me wonder if he had a different kind of torture? I mean, they did show how he was cut and stabbed (?) a few times but since they knew he was a Phantomhive, I wonder if there was something else.
And Ciel’s servants! It was so amazing to finally see them in action! Since I’d read the manga I knew they were badass but in the anime they’d always be shown as idiots so I was really sad. But then I heard the Circus arc was going to be made into an anime and I couldn’t handle it!
Out of all of them Finnian was probably the scariest to me because he was just so adorable and he’s going outside, yawning, and telling the circus guy to come back later. Then bam! He turns all psychotic and kills Jumbo and I’m just like, WHAT. Mey-rin was also a favorite because I like that she’s good with guns. It’s like her glasses were specifically designed so she’d have bad eyesight, haha.
Now they have to do an awesome Elizabeth and it’ll all be perfect!