So I may have mentioned this before, but I love Kuroshitsuji, better known as Black Butler.
For all the yaoi baiting, and blatant girl-baiting, I adore this twisted little anime. With its taste for gallows humor and love of all things gothic, it had me from its first wacky joke. I power-watched all the way to the end of season one, where I felt like the writers bowed out in the most graceful fashion. A friend of mine warned me not to partake of season two… but I watched a few clips anyway.
Oh God, why…..
While I have been tempted sometimes to see the second season, what with clips on youtube displaying some genuinely funny spots, I’ve never been able to bring myself to it. The short version comes down to a love of season one’s ending, and a disdain for the ending they choose instead. The long version, as usual, gets far more complicated.
By the way, huge spoilers for the show ahead. If you haven’t seen season one, do not read past this point, skip to the conclusion.
Now would be the time to abandon ship
All That Build up… For a Cop-Out.
Black Butler has a great concept to hook: The eventual devouring of a little boy’s soul by a vicious demon. This demon is always lingering, be it shadows or plain daylight, smiling in a way that’s charming and unsettling. You know he’s just biding his time, even as he cleans the manor, and you just wonder when that smooth countenance is gonna crack. Even Ciel, our little boy in question, is a fascinating creature with his single-minded devotion to revenge. Spritz it with some hilarious gallows humor and you have a hit.
And then season two happened, and it all fell apart. This is where the spoilers come in, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The end of season one marked the death of Ciel’s family murderer, and the end of Sebastian’s contract. The writer’ handled Ciel’s final moments with care and respect, showing a surprising amount of taste. Then season two kicks up, and it turns out Sebastian can’t enjoy his meal, because someone else stole it instead. That alone feels like a monstrous cop-out, a desperate grab for more viewership. But oh, believe me, things get worse.
By The End of Season One… Really, it Was All gone.
So we postponed the grand finale and tried to return to status quo. It’s jsut a shame that we have no “quo” to return to, and the fact that the second season won’t acknowledge this is incredibly frustrating.
The end of season one did an excellent job of unwinding the security Ciel surrounded himself with, of putting the Earl out on his own and in absolute chaos. The Phantomhive estate is burned to the ground; London is also going up in flames at the hands of a demon dog; the queen is dead, and everything has turned into Hell on earth. Really, when Ciel made the decision to kill the cause of all this chaos, it was a signal that everything was over.
And yet, we’re expected to believe that somehow, Ciel and Sebastian cleaned all that up in season two. Everyone is back to their smiley selves, something that disturbs me on a great level. Ciel’s world was gone in season one; he had nothing to return to. Insisting otherwise is just being silly.
The PayOff is Not Worth it
But, despite everything saying a second season shouldn’t happen, I could see myself forgiving it and moving on. Had I been given an excellent idea that had endless potential, with some sweet payoff in the end, I could be persuaded to return. But I’ve already been spoiled about the end of season two. The “payoff” couldn’t be farther from being worth it.
In both the show and the manga, the big question floating around the fans is “how could Ciel avoid getting his soul eaten?” It’s a question the manga hasn’t answered yet, at least as of right now, but the show bandied around it for season two. After all, as much as I loved the ending of season one, others could easily find it depressing.
Season two had a novel solution, one that pissed off me and several other fans. The short version is that Ciel gets himself turned into a demon, meaning Sebastian can never eat his soul, and is forced to be Ciel’s faithful servant forever and a day. This is a forced continuation of the status quo at its most foul, an admittance by the author that Ciel and Sebastian cannot move on or develop. They’ll just stay in their master/servant relationship… forever.
Yes, Sebastian, the struggle is real
It’s a lame pay off, no matter which way you spin it, and I just can’t bring myself to work up to it.
Non Spoiler Final Verdict
It’s difficult to sum up the disappointment a fan feels for the show’s second season, especially when said season looks to be full of bright and colorful images, lots of dark humor, and even some twisted surprises. But when the show refuses to acknowledge the decisions made prior to the new season, aiming to keep fans watching rather than telling a story, I just can’t bring myself to support it.
Kuroshisuji is an amazing show, and I will always recommend someone read the books or watch the first season. But I leave anything beyond that to the discretion of the consumer. Because, quite frankly, I believe the show ended as soon as the season one credits rolled.
Did you watch the second season? What were your thoughts? Feel free to comment below, and don’t forget to like and follow for more posts just like this.