New Anime

Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen (Black Butler: Public School Arc) – 08

Kuroshitsuji is another of those series that should get more discussion than it does. It has the money combination of being both excellent and popular. And that popularity unquestionably is not confined to Japan – the manga sells very well even in English. Like HeroAca it may have a bit of a fatigue factor, but I think it’s more of a “sasuga” thing. When a series delivers exactly what its fans expect, it sometimes fails to generate much of a reaction. Of course it’s great, and flamboyant, and beautiful – what else would you expect?

Actually, for me Black Butler isn’t always great – it does have banana peels, and doesn’t always avoid them. But it usually does, and the Public School arc sails through with no slip-ups. I continue to marvel at the sheer class and depth of Sakamoto Maaya’s performance, and tip-to-toe the show just looks fantastic. This arc is one of the more straightforward extended ones in the series. For much of it Ciel and Sebastian do exactly what they say they will, and they’re just as much in the dark as we are. It has a lot of shounen adventure to it, and Ciel is genuine hero mode. It’s refreshingly different for Kuroshitsuji in that sense.

Having accomplished the goal of winning the cricket tournament for Sapphire Owl, Ciel never takes his eyes of the prize – he did this for a higher purpose. But I love the moments when Ciel’s humanity – and boyishness – shine through. All the more so for how rare those moments are. Make no mistake, at some point he really started to want to win this thing, to equal what his father did.  Sure, he had Sebby retrieve that ball because it was altered – but I think he wanted it as a keepsake too. And when he saw those fireworks exploding over Windsor Castle. for just a moment he forgot himself and was a kid in awe of something so beautiful.

One of the perks of winning is to row down the Thames past Windsor Castle and salute the Queen. And Ciel, unsurprisingly, is given the honor of being the coxswain for the event. This is a lovely scene and gorgeously executed, though of course when Ciel locks eyes with Victoria we know  there’s a deeper understanding there. Unfortunately Sapphire Owl are still book nerds in the end, and even if they finagled the cricket match rowing is still a bit beyond them, The flowers on their hats do end up tipped into the Thames, but probably not by the means they would have chosen. The victory celebration was about as unironic as Kuroshitsuji gets, and its conclusion about as jocular.

But of course, that’s not what this is ultimately all about. There’s the little matter of the midnight tea party and yes, Ciel does get his invitation. Finally, a chance to meet the mysterious headmaster dawns (at midnight). This is another wonderful set piece, resplendent in Black Butler’s signature grandiosity and flourish. Eventually, to the strains of the massive church organ, the path opens and the tea party – and Headmaster – awaits. Along with the expected prefects and their drudges.

What strikes me about this scene is how direct Ciel is. It’s out of character but again, consistent with the particular tone of Kishuku Gakkkou-hen. Presented with this opportunity at last, Ciel offers no subterfuge or false humility. He jumps straight to the point, confronting the Headmaster about his true purpose in coming to Weston and his conviction that something is severely off in the matter of Derrick Arden and the other missing boys.

The Headmaster still doesn’t speak – Agares does so in his stead – but he does present Derrick at least, and I assume the others are right behind him. There can be no question that the Headmaster, whatever he is, knows Ciel is no mere schoolboy. And Sebastian will have been drafted to perform some role in this climactic showdown to be sure. Whether the boy we see is really Derrick or not is unclear, but whatever the truth of the situation is, the secrets of this arc are on the cusp of revelation at long last.

The post Kuroshitsuji: Kishuku Gakkou-hen (Black Butler: Public School Arc) – 08 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.