Recently I've been on a bit of a Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) kick, so I hunted down the OVAs for the second season, which are included on the Japanese releases of the DVDs, as a way to entice buyers to get them. There's a strange parallel between the West and Japan. In Japan, anime is ridiculously expensive (something like £70 for a 3 episode DVD apparently), and manga is really cheap (around £3-£5 per volume). In the West, anime DVDs can be found cheap (well, sometimes), and yet manga gets a little bit more expensive as the years go by. So, of course, the DVD companies need a way of getting that money from DVD sales to combat piracy. Male otaku are given the promise of uncensored ta-tas and muff in series like Manyu Hikencho and Seikon no Qwaser, whereas fujoshi have the promise of extra OVAs and included drama CDs, I guess.
The first few OVAs included with the second season DVDs weren't really worth writing home about. Oh, they're a funny twist on the formula of the series, yes, but the Ciel in Wonderland two-parter, the rather extraneous Welcome to the Phantomhives short in which everything is shot from a visitor (AKA the viewer)'s point of view, and The Making of Black Butler II, which imagines all the characters as modern actors filming the series... I don't know, I enjoyed them at least? D:
However, that all changed when I started watching the fifth and sixth OVA. I think these are by far the best of the bunch, but I've yet to watch the final one.
The fifth OVA is called The Tale of William the Reaper, and concerns Grell and Will giving some rookie Grim Reapers a tour around their workplace and reminiscing back to when they first started. Grell used to be rather snotty, and Will was quite focused but earned a lower grade overall. Their final exam to become fully-fledged Grim Reapers is to follow around a human for a week or two until his date of death, and see if they can handle reaping his soul when that time comes.
Their target is a Bristolian living in late 1700s London called Thomas Wallis, who works hard in the printing press all day, and then goes home and stays up late writing. Will and Grell introduce themselves, but Thomas believes they're just actors. But, inspiration hits him and he starts writing a story about a Grim Reaper who falls in love with a human girl. When she dies unexpectedly, he appeals to the God of the Underworld to have her soul restored, but only if he agrees to take her place. Whilst rushing to the publishers to get his novel printed, Thomas is hit by a carriage and dies.
Will and Grell have an argument about whether or not his soul should be spared because he could potentially make a difference to this world, but after Grell gets a taste of his own medicine and falls in love with Will in the process, they eventually realise that Thomas probably won't make a change to the world, and work together as a team to reap his soul, which is fighting to stay alive. With their exam passed, they go to get their glasses customised as a rite of passage. William chooses function, and Grell chooses style.
This OVA was pretty good. It was cool to see the world of the Grim Reapers, and how they actually work... while the animation was a bit bare at times, fans of William and Grell should be pleased with this tale of how they started working together. Plus it's the only time you'll ever see Grell with short hair. And in what appears to be piratical dress. ;P
The sixth OVA... well, it's a continuation of 'Alois' life sucks, boo hoo, what a tragedy'. AKA 70% of the second season of the anime. Alois captures a birdwing butterfly, but he rips off one of its wings in a rage. He then muses on how he wants to do the same to Claude, rip off one of his wings so that he can forever be caught in his web. He asks Claude to put it in a birdcage decorated with roses so his new pet can recover, but pre-eye-gouged Hannah later suggests using bluebells rather than roses, which makes Alois cry because it reminded him too much of Luca.
Alois then berates the triplet servants for speaking amongst themselves. (Since he gouged out Hannah's eye in the first episode because she had the temerity to look at him, goodness knows what he'd have done to the triplets had he been in a foul mood.) However, in a rather comedic moment, the triplets are revealed to be completely annoying gossips, so Alois tells them to shut up again.
After that, we have a few moments in which Claude is completely evil. Talking about how he wants a soul with more passion whilst running Alois' bath, physically threatening Hannah ('You're nothing but a sheath for Leviathan.') when she tells him not to hurt Alois anymore, and remaining rather phlegmatic to a screaming, terrified Alois when he accidentally starts a fire trying to cremate the butterfly. And then completely fucking creepy when he tries to cheer Alois up before bed and decides the best thing he can do is mess around and make his eyes look comically big with a pair of Harry Potter glasses. Well, that turned me into 'Claude really cares about Alois' believer!
The ending has quite a little bit of atmosphere and nicely references the beginning of the OVA, as Alois says he's now the butterfly caught in Claude's web. Well, who'd have thought a young, delicious, ripe soul like Alois' would ever get ensnared by a spider demon? Well, if said soul was stupid enough to sign a ridiculously complex contract with Claude just like his little brother did with Hannah, I guess.
These are indeed the best two OVAs of the second season's septet. One is light-hearted and for the fans, and the other is really quite dark and full of misery.
So, two fairly good OVAs for Kuroshitsuji fans everywhere. Let's hope the manga continues the dark and dramatic tale of a boy and his demon butler for a few more years to come.
Critic's Log - Earthdate: May 11, 2013. Supplemental Review for Black Butler II (Kuroshitsuji II): The OVA's of Black Butler II (Kuroshitsuji II)
I am going to be honest here. Black Butler was a decent viewing and it's OVA was pretty funny. Black Butler II on the other hand was pretty disappointing. Like I do with OVA's connected to a show I reviewed, I decided to take the time to go over the OVA's of Black Butler II (or Kuroshitsuji II).
The first OVA on the silver platter is Ciel in Wonderland, Part 1. As the name suggests, this is essentially Black Butler meets Alice in Wonderland. The characters are pretty damn funny in this one, especially Grell. When I found out who he's supposed to be, I could not stop laughing my ass off. This is not a bad OVA and it doesn't share any continuity with the main series so there is no harm in this OVA at all. I think you'll like Ciel in Wonderland if you ever try it.
The Second OVA is Welcome to the Phantomhives. *Sigh*, yeah... this one. This episode is meant to resemble a role-playing game. To be honest, this was one of the OVA's of Black Butler II that I am not very fond of. This OVA isn't really much after you see it. If you skip it after 3 to 5 minutes, you aren't missing much
The Third OVA is by far the most pointless one in the bunch. It is The Making of Black Butler II. Why is it pointless? it's because the characters in the show are doing the talking and not the actual staff members of the show. Why? I know I'm being extremely nitpicky about this, but if someone decides to have a "Making of" special to a show, have the actual creators DO THE TALKING! We don't need fictional characters telling us how an episode is made. Also, this special claims that Black Butler is an anime phenomenon in other countries as well as Japan when it aired in their respective countries... yeah, I think that might be stretching it a little too far if this isn't completely true. Also, "The Making of" special does point out how certain special effects are done, but it really isn't too convincing since it's ANIMATION EFFECTS WITH ANIMATED CHARACTERS! I did sat through this OVA and I still wonder to this day "Why the hell was this made in the first place?".
The Fourth OVA is Ciel in Wonderland, Part 2, and Thank God that the OVA's are back on track. I kind of wonder why this wasn't the OVA to follow the first, but who cares... It's the Black Butler take on Alice in Wonderland!
Part 2 is just as good as Part 1, you won't be disappointed.
The fifth OVA is Spider's Intention, This OVA is not really one of my favorites but at least it isn't as cheap as the second and third OVA of this show. I don't mind this OVA being shown in the view of Hannah and Claude, but the servant triplets? Why? I know they are servants of Alois, but they don't play a huge part at all, but oh well...This is not a terrible OVA but I don't know what to say about it.
The sixth and final OVA is The Tale of Will The Reaper. This is surprisingly an interesting one and this technically serves as an Origin Story for Grell. I won't give too much away but this OVA does deserve to be seen. Too bad this is the last one because I wouldn't mind another hilarious OVA to cap it off. Besides that. Most of these OVA's are watchable except for two of them.
The OVA's of Black Butler II (Kuroshitsuji II) are released with the show, they are available by Funimation.
With all that said, these OVA's are a decent antidote to the poison that of which is Black Butler II. Some of these OVA's will probably make you laugh, some are pointless, one is decent, and one is interesting. These are most likely worth watching if you like Black Butler.
I give the Black Butler II OVA's a 7.2 out of 10, They are GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment, and take care.
It was hit and miss. My least favorite was the making of special followed by Welcome to Phantomville. Both were kind of throw away and I just watched them to see if they were worth my time. Sadly, they weren't.
Both of the Wonderland episodes were funny and satisfying to watch, though the second episode was leaps better than the first. Grell as the Cheshire Cat was fucking brilliant so points there. I'd give the Wonderland episodes as a whole 6/10.
its when you get to the other two that the real treat begins. The add-on episode about the "Spider" clan was amazing. I loved it so much. Alois Trancy is such a broken character and I loved his story so having a look inside the heads of Claude and Hannah were interesting.
Lastly, the best stand out was The Story of Will the Reaper. It's basically Grell's life during his first reaping. It's a great watch. I loveeeee Grell so going into his backstory was cool and exciting. This is the gem of the specials.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad and makes the specials a worthy watch for fans.
Watched - dubbed