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Ciel Phantomhive is the only child of the late Vincent and Rachel Phantomhive and owner of the Funtom company, a business that mainly sells toys/sweets. A supernatural/demonic contract binds him to Sebastian Michaelis, who promised Ciel revenge on those who ruined him in exchange for his soul.
On the night of Ciel's tenth birthday, the Phantomhive mansion was set aflame. In the midst of the fire, Ciel's parents were slaughtered in their own bedroom, but he had actually witnessed the slashing of the house steward, Tanaka. Directly afterwards, Ciel was kidnapped and disappeared from the face of earth for one month.
He was then taken to a place that held a society of demon worshipers, where he was forced to have a special sign of satanism literally branded on his back (this differs from the anime, however. In season 1 and 2, the brand is located on the left side of his front body. Also, the signs are different). Subsequently, a horrific amount of stabbings and other heinous acts of "being treated worse than a dog/beast" were also committed onto him.
During this abominable torture, Ciel supposedly lost faith in God and accidentally summoned a demon with an unknown name. He then agreed to make a contract with him - the demon would help him get revenge on those who destroyed his life, and Ciel would give up his own soul in return.
Returning to London, he visited the hospital to see Tanaka, the only survivor of the house fire, to ask if he knew anything of who could murder his parents and burn the house down. The house steward replied he had no idea. After he bade his house member goodbye, he went to his house to check the burnings and his parents' graves. Sebastian re-built the Phantomhive mansion, and Ciel immediately worked on getting prepared for his Earl crowning ceremony, which was given to him by Queen Victoria in 1886.
In the same year of becoming the Earl of London, Ciel worked on the Funtom company, and in 24 months became the best and most successful businessman in his country, and one of the top businessmen in the world. (It should be noted that this was without the help of Sebastian. Ciel achieved this by himself.) In addition to being a bureaucrat business giant, Ciel serves Queen Victoria as her "Guard-Dog", taking on any mission she requests to get rid of the criminals of the underworld. Taking on all of these roles, Ciel figures they would attract attention, and whoever had killed his household and destroyed his life would attempt to do it again. Therefore, he has no plans on searching the culprit(s) out.
Ciel Phantomhive is created by Yana Toboso as the main protagonist of Black Butler. Below is a quote from the mangaka about her thoughts creating Ciel.
I drew Ciel as a really manly character, he's got a fixed courage and displays a strength that surpasses adults. He's never hesitantly worrying and just moves forward withught looking back at his past. since he is individualistic I think that, like Sebastian, He is kind of a nasty guy
"Even though I was put into an abyss of despair, a place likened to hell...A chance as thin as a spider's thread was sent to me offering the choice to crawl out. I decided not to give up and reached for it. We humans have that strength. Though...Grasping it or not is up to the person."
Ciel has gained his looks from both parents; while he has the deep blue eyes of his mother, overall he bears the most striking resemblance to his father, and looks more like him as he ages. He is also a rather short child and is often seen as a little girl because of his looks, height, and the small, skinny build of a girl. He stands as 152cm (approximately 4.9ft).
His clotheswear changes frequently, but he is mainly known to wear his blue outfit, which consists of a blue vest, jacket, and pants. He also wears a top hat, along with shoes, finished with a cape and polished cane (these accessories are usually worn with any outfit). He bears a blue earring on both of his ears, and a ring of the same color on his left thumb. He has been said to be a "beautiful boy" (in the manga and anime).
Ciel is a person of great arrogance; most of this is directed towards adults of any age. He was even seen naming a small group of adults, who were quietly gossiping about him, "a worthless bunch" (anime only). His disgust and demeaning of adults could very likely be the unconscious action of the False Self syndrome, since it has been proven he is actually terrified of them (this, of course, is directly rooted to his month of torture, three years previously).
Although his arrogance towards adults is clear, Ciel is also very prideful in the royal, powerful names he bears, and purposefully makes an unmistakable line of the difference of his rank to anyone who is lower. It has been said that this very conceit can prove to be his downfall at times - when he overestimates his abilities and, therefore, underestimates his challenger's abilities, since he does surpass scores of his rivals on a casual basis.
Including to his arrogance, it was said that he has a "greed that knows no bounds", when he had set up plans for an additional perfume line to his already extremely successful (and international) company.
He is mainly cold to nearly everyone he meets (and especially appears even more indifferent when those people are injured and/or begging for help) - even his family-line does not escape this. This is proven by his letting one of his aunts die, for the sake of no-one but himself (this aunt being on his mother's side).
Inside the Circus Arc, there was a person he knew, crying over the terrible things he had done; Ciel's response was, "Don't cry so shamefully. Crying won't change a thing. The world not kind to anyone."
This mercilessness can also be applied to himself, since he has denied a chance for a regular life twice, just for revenge.
Although 13 years old, Ciel behaves as someone much older, and even wears specially heeled boots to make himself appear taller (this only adds a few inches to his short height, so still, he is sometimes made fun of his height). Due to this maturity, he is mostly seen as a composed, cool headed person.
Even for this kept-together demeanor, Ciel barely has any patience, and this hot tempered attitude usually bursts out when he is approached by active and/or childish people (such as the Indian prince Soma). It can also come out when he is treated as a child, and was especially revolted by Sebastian's attempt at doing so ("Do not do that anymore. It's disgusting.").
Whenever he is approached by his fiancé, however, he is sure to do his best to completely switch his current personality to that of the one of his childhood; since she is one of the few people that know him best, he doesn't want her to become suspicious of worried. Unfortunately, this attempt doesn't always fool her.
Early on, Ciel's treatment of Sebastian was harsh; as he often complained of him, insulted him, yelled, and argued. Presently, Ciel can deal with him on a more cooled level, and has even shared secret smiles with him. Sill, he feels nothing towards him and only looks at him as a pawn for his revenge. He also keeps cats out of his house, not only for his allergy, but because "It'd please that guy, so I definitely won't keep a cat!"
The House Staff
Ciel's interactions with his four other servants aren't on a frequent basis; when he does interact with them, he leaves quickly, complaining of headaches and annoyance. Notwithstanding, he does show acts of kindness towards them on some occasions.
Ciel meets Elizabeth mainly by her visits to his house. He was close to her when they were young, but upon the month of his disappearance, he suddenly changed from using the name he used to call her ("Lizzie) to her original one. However, he still uses it at times. He usually tries to avoid her when she surprise visits, but is loyal to her, declaring he will protect her no matter what.
Still there is a picture that showed what bodies he would sacrifice to get on top of his revenge - Midford was amongst the fallen bodies.
(Due to the times when Ciel deeply blushes when talking about his feelings for Midford, it can be suggested he likes her somewhat, but finds trouble expressing it. When he sometimes does express his feelings, he surprises himself by blushing even harder.)
Ciel hadn't actually planned on meeting Soma; he'd met him while doing a mission in the Curry arc. He never thought he'd meet Soma and his butler, but they trailed after him and Sebastian wherever they went, and even stay at Ciel's house days at a time without his consent.
Soma and Agni are possibly the most annoying to Ciel; therefore he does not deal with them unless he gives in to their persistence to play games with him, or when he finds Soma useful inside of investigation he's doing (i.e, the School Arc).
Ciel is notified by Her Majesty that someone is selling illegal drugs within the UK. After discussing his plans with a few other important heads of London, he goes to his office to rest and quiet his mind when he is snatched out of his room.
Not long afterwards, he is taken to a mansion belonging to the Italian drug lord, Azzurro Vanel, and is beaten and threatened for information about the location of a huge package of hidden drugs. Still, Phantomhive refuses to say a word.
Meanwhile, a letter is given to Sebastian that informs him Azzurro has his master held hostage. He immediately sets into action, first going to two of Azzurro's men to confirm his capture of Ciel. He then goes into Azzurro's mansion, slaughtering his men along the way. However, when he finally reaches the room where Ciel is held, hundreds of bullets are shot right into him. He recovers almost instantly and follows Ciel's order - to save him and kill Azzurro. After that, Ciel is brought back home and his butler prepares dinner.
Sebastian is ordered to find all possible suspects, and he and Ciel deduct that the Viscount of Druitt is the culprit. They immediately run into a problem - the fastest way to get near the Viscount is by an upcoming party they aren't invited to.
Ciel's aunt suggests that since she is invited, he could come undercover as her niece ("Alice") and Sebastian as her niece’s private tutor. On the night of the Viscount's party, Sebastian distracts the crowd so that the host can notice Ciel. Chamber becomes obsessed with him, and invites him into a private room. He follows but just as he enters the room he is drugged unconscious.
Ciel awakens to find himself chained and caged, in front of a crowd of men and women; the Viscount is selling his - or "Alice's" - body parts for money. As soon as he realizes this, Ciel calls for Sebastian, who instantly appears and kills all in the crowd except for Chamber, who is arrested.
The following day, the news surprises Ciel when he reads the headline:
Jack the Ripper returns! Victim: Annie Sepherman....Another prostitute sacrificed again!
(It turns out that while the Viscount did a serious crime, he wasn't the killer.)
So, Ciel comes up with another idea. After finding out the next target is "Maria Gale", he dresses up inconspicuously as an average Englishboy and waits near her house for the murderer to arrive.
Suddenly a scream pierces the silence; Ciel and Sebastian rush to the scene - too late. Then they see Grell, Madam Red's butler, coming out of the prostitute's house covered in blood, claiming he was trying to help Maria.
Soon, though, it is revealed that he is not a butler at all but a grim reaper, who went around killing prostitutes with Red. Red appears at the scene and confirms everything. Ciel commands Sebastian to fight-to-kill Grell, but Red whips out a scabbard in an attempt to kill him.
Sebastian instantly quits his battle with Grell and rushes to slash Red, but Ciel calls him off.
After a few moments Red hesitates, and in the end admits she cannot kill her nephew. In mid-sentence of explaining, Grell suddenly kills her.
Although his aunt murdered right in front of him, Ciel insists on Sebastian to end Grell. Sebastian goes right back into action, and just as he is about to kill Grell with his own weapon, he is stopped by another grim reaper, William T. Spears. Will takes Grell back to where the grim reapers dwell, so he can go on trial for killing humans off their actual death date.
Sometime afterwards, Ciel attends to Red's funeral but admits later that he could have saved the prostitute and his aunt - but chose not to.
I knew there was a chance of saving her [Maria]. But I made the capture of Jack the Ripper my priority. I....knew that I would let that chance slip away. I kept that in mind and let her die. Even my own relative.[Chapter 13.2, page 5]"
Not long after the rage of Jack the Ripper, London is in danger yet again when a series of threatening, mocking letters from Indian foreigners sweep the city. As always, Ciel is sent off to find the miscreant.
After inspecting one of the letters in London, Ciel and Sebastian head over to one of his business partners Lau, a head of an opium den in London, to see if he can provide any information. Unfortunately Lau doesn't know a thing about the letters when Ciel asks him, so he joins him and Sebastian on the road back home when Ciel literally bumps into an Indian native man, part of a group made of his people. The group surrounds Sebastian and Ciel, blocking their way in the middle of the street.
....All of us here hate noblemen. They brought us all the way to England and then dumped us like trash! All you British people are selfish! Because of you guys, we ended up living like miserable gutter rats!
They suddenly break in an attack against Ciel, but get broken up by an Indian boy accompanied by a man that is called by the name of "Agni". Almost instantly after he sees Ciel, he orders Agni to side with his people. Agni attacks Ciel but Sebastian intervenes for his protection. During the fight Ciel shouts for them to stop, claiming he did nothing but walk in the road when the attack against him began. When the boy learns this, he immediately tells Agni to stop the crowd on his behalf. When he bades them goodbye and leaves, Sebastian and Ciel learn that he is called "The Great Lord Soma."
At his house, Ciel is surprised visited by Soma again (who introduces his full name as Soma Asman Kadar) and asks if they have seen a girl - "Mina" - he is looking for, but Ciel admits he has not. Due to the poor picture quality Soma has given as a reference, even Sebastian admitted it would be a hard job finding her anyway.
When Agni suspiciously leaves in the middle of the night, Lau, Ciel, Sebastian, joined by Soma, follow after him into an English-house, owned by Harold West Jeb. When he utters Mina's name, Soma storms inside and demands an explanation. West simply shrugs it off and tells Agni to fight him, and he regrettably obeys. Seeing the fight is going on, Ciel tells Sebastian to break it up. Sebastian grabs Soma and they all escape.
At the mansion, Ciel and Sebastian try to add up what West wanted according to what he had said before the fight started. When Sebastian goes over particular things he said, he and Ciel finally understand - West had wanted to win the Royal Warrant that stands as the reward of the curry contest, and he wanted the best chef for the job (Agni). By holding Mina hostage in London and promising to let her go if he worked for him, West figured that he'd be a sure winner since Agni's curry is top-class. West is also the one behind the "Indian" letters by making Agni write them to make the letters seem legitimately from Indian hands.
With this knowledge, Ciel back off the case, seeing it wasn't any underground crime at all (“It has nothing to do with us......We’re not philanthropists.”). Instead, he enters his company into the contest, determined to use the prize as a door-opener for a Funtom company food-line.
At the cook-off, the dishes are judged and the Queen declares Sebastian - with his invention of the Curry Bun - the winner.
Funtom's curry requires no utensils and can be consumed by anyone.....Everyone is happy, the rich, the poor, the adults, the children. Everyone is equal.
At this very moment, Soma is met with his servant Mina again, but she rejects him, declaring he was nothing but an insufferable brat, and she promised to stay with West as his wife. Soma apologizes to her for his previous bratty attitude and asks that maybe Agni could stay with him, even for how horrible he had acted in the past. Agni does not leave Soma as Mina did but forgives him and stays.
The arc ends by Soma and Agni choosing to stay in London because Ciel and Sebastian are their "friends" (as they claim). Before Ciel goes to leave, he realizes an envelope given to him by the queen’s servant is in his pocket.
Meanwhile, Lau goes to see West and Mina in an ally, saying he has to "Exterminate bad rats in my city". (It is assumed they are killed after that.)
When Ciel and Sebastian learn from Fred Abberline that Scotland Yard need the Shard of Hope ring is for evidence related kidnappings, they follow him to Undertaker's place to gather more information, here Sebastian found out that Fred could make undertaker laugh without any problem, and also they discover that the ring has been incorporated into the ice sculpture's contest's prize. They try to win the ring from the Frost Fair ice sculpture contest, and while Sebastian's ice sculpture is winning, the original thieves of the ring bomb the ice, causing the ice to crack, and the ice sculpture the ring was in to fall. They decide not to worry about it anymore, as they have supposedly lost it to the frozen waters.
Mysteriously it ends up in Elizabeth's hands because she was looking for a perfect present for Ciel, and leads to Drocell Keinz kidnapping her, which they learn about from Paula. Ciel sends Sebastian off to gather more information while he invades the Mandalay manor with Pluto and Grell. Inside, he encounters Drocell and is rescued from Drocell's dolls by Sebastian. Sebastian reveals that Elizabeth must be in the sealed tower in the back, and they use Pluto to get in. Inside, they find her easily, but encounter Drocell again. After a brief fight with Drocell, they learn that he is being controlled by someone else, but Sebastian decides not to give chase, because the owner of the puppet controlling Drocell was not nearby.After saving Elizabeth, they celebrated Ciel's birthday with a small party.