ANIME & MANGA - Review
15:31 - 26th March 2013, by Matt Kamen

Black Butler II

The first season of Black Butler had its darker moments, but nothing as bleak as what's in store for viewers here - child slavery, sexual abuse, and graphic torture are just the beginning. While a new lead takes the focus early on (the cruel young lord Alois Trancy), it's not long before Ciel Phantomhive is back in the picture, both with a talented demonic butler and supernatural assistants in tow. It's not too much of a spoiler to note that Ciel's resurrection and the fate of both boys' souls forms the crux of this season's arc.

However, with only 12 episodes to introduce new characters, reintroduce old ones and still tell a complete story - one independent of Yana Toboso's manga - the pacing can feel more than a bit rushed in places. This is particularly noticeable when Ciel steals the focus back from Alois in episode two, for what feels like largely frivolous side stories. Still, the series holds together overall, reaching a thrilling denouement that's character driven and consistent with the history of the Black Butler universe.

The real gem here though is the third disc, consisting of six OVA episodes. Some are fanciful, with Ciel and co. re-enacting the events of Alice in Wonderland with an appropriately gothic twist, and some are darkly serious, giving insight to Alois' twisted psyche - but all are enchantingly entertaining. A great collection, all told.

Pacing problems aside, this re-invention of Black Butler hits all the right notes, elevated by the third disc of OVAs and bonus content.
SCORE: 4/5
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