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Halex

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Black Butler - Watching Guide

This show has both a "canon" and a "filler/original" story, each with its own merits. This guide is my preferred order to enjoy both stories and avoid as many inconsistencies as possible that are created by them.
1 Black Butler

Black Butler

This season is good, but also extremely overrated, as it contains a great amount of filler fluff, cliche comedy, and unnecessary sexual connotations. Then again, this may be why some people like it and have it rated so high. All of those cliches are introduced by the fillers, the canon is a more serious and darker story, and the better of the two in my opinion. Both stories can be enjoyed independent from each other, so choose what you want to watch.

For me, it was more about the main character's ability for taking hard decisions quickly and without hesitation, although I don't agree with all of them it does for an interesting watch, so I greatly prefer the canon dark story. There are also interesting characters interactions and clever dialog, for example, Ciel cannot let the demon know he cares about others so it always finds an excuse to phrase the necessity to help others in a different darker light. Or perhaps is true that Ciel is cruel?

You should know that:

1. Most of the first season and all of the second season are fillers. However, this is one of the very few animes where the fillers are actually good quality if not as good as the original story, although as I mention, it does introduce a lot of comic relief and fan service.

2. 'The Book' seasons are the canon original Manga story, much more serious and darker, and they ignore all fillers in the first season and all second season.

3. Therefore you could watch in release order and ignore the discrepancies from the first 2 seasons. Or you could watch the canon story and come back for the fillers at a later time, which is what I recommend here.

Watching Guide:

  • Optional but Recommended Episode 01 - Although this is a filler episode, it's not a bad story and it introduces most of the characters. The story is standalone, so it can be skipped without issues.
  • Watch Canon Episodes 2-6
  • Skip Filler Episodes 7-12 - These are extra missions and comic relief.
  • Watch Canon Episodes 13-15
  • Skip the rest of the episodes and go to Book of Circus.

The dub is great for the main characters but terrible for most of the secondary characters.

2 Black Butler: Book of Circus

Black Butler: Book of Circus

Watch.

Continuation of the Canon Story from Season 1 > Episodes 2-6 & 13-15.

Note that even if you already watched Season 1 (and/or Season 2) and didn't like it, you should still give this 3rd Season a try, as this is probably the best part of the series with an exceptional story if you like dark stories, that is. The Ciel presented here is different from how its portrayed on the first 2 seasons, much darker. This story itself is a dark tragedy that portrays how cruel humans can be.

The dub is much better than the first 2 seasons.

3 Black Butler: Book of Murder

Black Butler: Book of Murder

Watch. Continuation of the Canon Story.

4 Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic

Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic

Watch. Continuation of the Canon Story.

5 Black Butler 2

Black Butler 2

Now going back to the Filler Story

If you watched the "Book" series be prepared for a change in the personalities of many characters, and just disregard inconsistencies in the plot. There are lots of fan-service and pointless comic relief that detracts from the darkness of the story. Don't expect anything as good as the "Book" series, so feel free to drop the show anytime if it's not to your liking, as it won't get any better.

At the same time, the filler seasons are not to be dismissed lightly, they stand as the sole anime plot for many years and perhaps we wouldn't have got the "Book" seasons if these filler seasons were not successful. It's just that they are made for a different audience. So give them a try and drop them if they are not for you.

Watch From Season 1:

  • Watch Filler Episodes 7-8 - They introduce a new character for the filler arc.
  • Skip Filler Episodes 9-10 - It's just comic relief.
  • Watch Filler Episodes 11-12 - It's an extra mission that is part of the main filler arc.
  • Skip Canon Episodes 13-15 - Watch those with the canon story.
  • Watch Episode 16 - This is a standalone story.
  • Watch Episodes 17-18 - These are a continuation of the main filler plot, showing more of what happened to Ciel's family.
  • Watch Episodes 19-20 - These are an extra mission
  • Optional Episode 21 - This shows the servant's backstories and how they were hired.
  • Watch Episodes 22-24 - These are the main filler plot and the conclusion.

Watch From Season 2:

This is a new filler plot, that creates some inconsistencies for the ending of the first season in order to be able to continue the series, and has the controversial alternative ending for the series that fans love, hate or love to hate.

  • Watch the whole Season 2. Since the whole season is filler, there are no full episodes to skip, just skip the parts of the episodes you don't like or drop it.

The dub again is great for the main characters but terrible for most of the secondary characters.

6 Black Butler: His Butler, Performer

Black Butler: His Butler, Performer

Skip. It's just filler comic relief.

7 Black Butler 2 Specials

Black Butler 2 Specials

Skip. It's just filler comic relief.

8 Black Butler Picture Drama

Black Butler Picture Drama

Skip. It's just filler comic relief.

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