Spoilers of season 1 are going to appear.
I previously reviewed the first season of this and to be honest I really should have stopped there. Back when I originally watched this anime, I remember how excited I was to learn there was a sequel, and how bitterly, bitterly disappointed I was when I finally saw that sequel. Since then, whenever the occasion to rewatch Black Butler has come up, I have chosen to ignore the existence of a season 2. The anime ends with Ciel getting his revenge and Sebastian devouring his soul. That’s it. Game over.
However, for the sake of reviewing it fairly, I had to watch this series again. Plus, AnimeLab runs the two seasons together and leaving half of it unwatched just didn’t feel right. Besides, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought I remembered it being. You know, how you build up all the negative points over time and forget the good things.
No. My memory wasn’t failing me.
Black Butler 2 is everything that is wrong with sequels. Characters who should be dead aren’t. The perfect resolution from the first season is undone and then utterly lost. New motives and rules are forced upon the characters for narrative convenience. Characters who have outlived their purpose in the series reappear regardless of how pointless and out-of-place their appearance might be. Or worse, the brother of a character who died in the first season intrudes on several episodes and then disappears without any purpose what-so-ever.
And don’t even get me started on the opening theme and how badly it matches the tone of the show.
I know some people really like the second season but I just can’t bring myself to enjoy it.
And the absolute worst thing is the addition of a new master and his butler. Alois has had a tragic childhood and has made a contract with a demon. Very similar to Ciel. Right. Uh-huh. Let’s have one more character tell us how they are similar. That’s right. They both had fires in their past. Really, really similar.
Alois is a horrible human being with no redeeming qualities. Not even his obsessive love for his younger brother can make you genuinely want anything nice to happen to this violent, unstable thug of a human. And his butler, Claude, is a cheap imitation of Sebastian at best and a vile mockery at worst.
What it comes down to is that the sequel attempts to duplicate the events of season 1 in the early stages of the series, but fails completely at capturing the atmosphere and tone that made it dark and playful and sheer delight even when it kind of crossed lines it shouldn’t have and when the narrative wasn’t holding its weight.
The second half of this series just decides to over write all the rules you thought you knew about demon contracts and throw twist after twist into the mythology of the entire piece until you genuinely believe anything could happen and you really don’t care what happens.
All and all, it’s a mess.
The only moment in the entire 2nd series worth watching comes at the very, very end. While the journey to get to that point was horrendous, it was a really clever way to finally have the show beat Sebastian, the overly perfect butler. Poetic justice was served and it was very satisfying, if only the road there had made any sense and it didn’t feel like the ending came from throwing all the possibilities in a box and shaking it real hard.
What are your thoughts on this second season?