Critic's Log - Earthdate: May 3, 2013. Review #45: Black Butler II (Kuroshitsuji II)
Whenever I review something, I usually don't demand anything. I just sit down and try to enjoy a show as much as I can. While I am watching an anime, I keep a handy journal in my hand and a pencil in the other hand, after I am done viewing the show. I then evaluate the show with whatever I marked down and I then count up all the scores and then I give my rating. Please keep in mind that all my reviews are solely based on opinion and not fact. I try to be as honest as possible as I can while I review an anime. Please be assured that I am not extremely harsh towards someone for liking a show I don't think is great. I will admit that I believe that there are some animes that really do stand out from the average anime, Such examples are
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
and Legend of the Galactic Heroes
Don't know what Legend of the Galactic Heroes is? Expect me to go over that one soon.
You can agree with me if you'd like, but you don't have to completely agree with everything I say. Assuming that you're an anime fan, I am a fan of anime too, I have just as much fun watching a show and I take the time to write these reviews and post them for you to enjoy before you watch a show as well as after you watch the show I reviewed. Honesty is key for me, because if I wasn't being completely honest when reviewing a show, what kind of anime critic would I be? With that said, allow me to be of great service to you while I review Black Butler II (Kuroshitsuji II)
In late-nineteenth century England, one year and three months after the dramatic events that took place in the first season of Black Butler, Black Butler II introduces a new butler and a new young master. The sadistic yet cheerful Alois Trancy has went through hell. He was kidnapped as a baby, and was forced to work in a village as a slave. Gradually, he lost his parents, his best friend, and everyone he knew. Alois eventually returned home and became the head of his mansion, but seemed to exhibit some strange behavior ever since. Even more curiously, he returned with Claude Faustus, an enigmatic, emotionless butler with unfathomable talent...
To be technical, this is an A-1 Pictures production and just like the first season, they do not disappoint in the art department except that they did take some shortcuts that are painfully obvious and I hate to say this but the first season is a bit better in the animation department. I don't have much to say regarding the animation here.
The music by Taku Iwasaki is fitting in the show but isn't as memorable as the first season, there is not much to say about this either. It's a soundtrack that doesn't have much to offer I guess.
When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese Cast is pretty good. Daisuke Ono is terrific as Sebastian just like the first season. Maaya Sakamoto is also terrific as Ciel Phantomhive. As far the new faces being voiced, Nana Mizuki is pretty good as Alois Trancy and Takahiro Sakurai is pretty damn good as Claude Faustus. Also, Aya Hirano is in this and she plays Hannah. Jun Fukuyama proves in this show again that he is delightfully terrific in the show as Grell Sutcliff. As far as the English Dub goes. J. Michael Tatum proves once again that he is one hell of a voice actor as Sebastian. Brina Palencia is pretty good as Ciel Phantomhive. As for the new faces being voiced, Luci Christian plays a pretty good Alois Trancy, here's a voice you might not be too familiar is Jason Douglas. He voices Claude in this show, if you want to know what role he played that got him pretty good recognition in anime dubs was his role as Lord Ilpalazzo in Excel Saga. He does play Claude very well. Here's a surprise, Hannah was voiced by Caitlin Glass in the dub and I didn't know it was her until I looked up the dub cast. Then of course we got Daniel Frederick's delightfully fun performance as Grell Sutcliff. This show is pretty good on either version.
I already mentioned that the animation and music is great as well as the voice acting on either side is great as well, Well that's where the show is only good for because everything that the first season was decent for went totally wrong in this second season. First off are the three new characters. Alois Trancy's backstory was ok but I really hate this brat. He comes off to me as some bratty spoiled kid that I just want to beat the shit out of. Secondly, we get Claude Faustus (The Trancy Butler) He comes off to me as a rather bland adversary to Sebastian and there's really not a whole lot of redeeming quality for him, which is kind of a damn shame for this anime, and then there's the other butler Hannah who I find severely underdeveloped and uninteresting in the whole bunch throughout the whole show. I know I may be nitpicking, but these new faces did not improve the series up one step, instead they bogged the show down in expectations,
If there is a major disappointment with Black Butler II, it is the story. The writing is half-assed, as well as being poorly directed by Hirofumi Ogura. the story goes nowhere at certain points and it can be quite boring from time to time. I actually found the story decent in the first season, but Black Butler II was half as long and full of problems. Everything with the first season that made the story decent goes to the depths of hell with a half-assed continuation of plot. if you gave up before the ending, then I'll save you the trouble without spoilers... It all leads to an ending that makes no damn sense and will have you watching Black Butler II much less than the first season.
Black Butler II is available by Funimation. The Black Butler II OVA's are also available by Funimation and were released alongside Black Butler II.
With all that said, Black Butler II turned out to be a real disappointment as a followup to a decent series. It may have nice music and some really good-looking animation, but the Story and Character development and writing quality plunges the series into the depths of hell with it's half-assed plot and weak character development. speaking of characters, remember those familiar faces like Mey-rin, Bardroy, Tanaka and the bunch? You won't be seeing them much in this sequel, GOOD JOB CREATIVE STAFF! I'm sorry, I can't really recommend this sequel. Watch it if you want, but I can't guarantee you'll be satisfied with this continuation.
I give Black Butler II (Kuroshitsuji II) a 4.9 out of 10, It is NOT REALLY GOOD!
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