BLACK BUTLER’s another popular show I’m more-or-less resigned to watch piecemeal, catching an odd episode here and there. I just got season 2 in the mail from Funi so, here we are, skipping ahead to take a look at the second season opener and my feelings are about the same as they were when I watched the first episode of the first season. That is, I’m really digging the Poe-like atmosphere, the Grand Guignol plotting and the way that the setting essentially lets the cast break out every stripe of British accent you know they’ve been keeping in their pockets for years.
Also, I could still really do without the hyper-kinetic super-moves that’ve been sprinkled on to make this gothic tale sexier to the kids today. Which is not to say that that the part where the evil butler takes a macro bullet-time approach to setting a table isn’t kind of fun…
…but it does kind-of kill the mood.
The whole purpose of this episode is to make you hate this little shit Alois’ guts so much that you’ll relish every waking moment of his inevitably-forthcoming comeuppance. It executes that task splendidly, because it’s been a long while since I’ve run into a character I’ve wanted to flush down a toilet as much as this brat. Kid plucks his maid’s eye out because he’s bored! Only thing he could do to earn more antipathy would be drowning a bag of kittens.
As much as I’ve enjoyed this show, it’s worth commenting that it reaches this odd state of feeling like bizarrely-competent fan fiction. Like, there’s a sense that it was conceived by some high school freshman with a world of necessary life experience still ahead of her. Alois’ whole housing arrangement doesn’t seem to grounded in any sort of history, reality or even acceptable fantasy, yet it’s still compelling entertainment. Call it s a very specific sort of contradiction.
Look up this episode, "Clawed Butler,” and decide for yourself.