I am worried about this series. I mean, initially, “Black Butler” was one of the meanest and cruelest series I had ever seen, where harsh justice is dispensed right and left and anyone who dares to entrammel the relationship between Sebastian and Ciel had best bring their A++ game; otherwise, they will crash and burn and experience 99 degrees of unpleasantness. And get stuck with the bill! But for this movie go-around, we get “Book of the Atlantic”.
So, on this little jaunt, Ciel and Sebastian are on their way to America. You see, there is something afoot and with Ciel as the Queen’s Dog, it is up to these two to find out what’s amiss and if it is a threat to Queen and Country. And should it be, maybe dispatch it, anyway, just to play it safe.
The problem is that they try too, too hard with this one. The first bit of sniffery is that they board an ocean liner that looks suspiciously like the Titanic, even though it is called the Campania. And it’s her maiden voyage as well. It made me wonder if this tale was happening in 1898.
The reason I bring that up is there was an author named Morgan Robertson who wrote a book, released in 1898, called “Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan”, which told the tale of a massive ocean liner that, in sailing the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage, was struck by an iceberg and sank. Sound familiar?
Anyway, they are coming on board, as they have heard about a secret society (the Aurora Society) that may be conducting illegal and immoral experiments in trying to bring the dead back to life (First Rule of Anime Shows: You cannot bring the dead back to life. That has been driven home numerous times, OK? Even Genie from ‘Aladdin’ doesn’t want to do that!)
This does not stop Dr. Rian Stoker from using this machine to do just that. OK, this ain’t no Disney cruise, so you aren’t having a performance of “The Little Mermaid” live and movies are still a novelty, but you need some entertainment. He performs the experiment and the dead live! Sadly, the woman returned to us goes berserk and starts attacking anyone nearby and she must be eliminated. And remember, “the assailants can be stopped by removing the head or destroying the brain.” To make matters worse, as our heroes check the ship’s cargo hold, a grouping of reanimated corpses (oh, let’s call them for what they are – zombies) attack them.
Sebastian, one hell of a butler, comes to their rescue and dispatches the undead. Things get even worse when it is discovered that there are as many corpses on the ship as there are real people and the not-quite-dead awaken. Then, we hit the iceberg and start sinking! This is one crappy voyage! And if that wasn’t enough, it gets even, even, even more worser and terribler!!! They are out of champagne! Although, we do have lots of ice.
No, but…..I had a feeling that they wanted to tell a good story, but things went off the rails pretty quickly, especially with a shipload of zombies. I personally am tired of zombies, as it is overworked to the point that it seems like everyone is doing zombies. They aren’t, but perception is everything.
Now, because there was going to be a ton of dead people on this trip, reapers are on the ship to gather up the souls. This also means Undertaker is here as well, who has an axe to grind (or a scythe to sharpen) against Sebastian. During the fight, Sebastian is wounded while protecting Ciel, and the reaper witnesses the moment when the two formed their contract, as well as Sebastian and Ciel’s training up until Ciel receives his title as Earl Phantomhive.
But have no worries, because there’s got to be a morning after and we find our dynamic duo none the worse for wear. As for us……..
I am honestly not certain if this was going to be played for laughs or was keenly serious. It’s just that the characters are drawn so thinly, they only have one side. And when they have to do this chicken dance (you see it at the top picture), maybe it would have helped if I altered my consciousness with some caliber of ‘substance’.
Even when things are at their most terrifying, I never felt that they would go down with the ship, so to speak. It was nice that the movie was a movie and not a cobbling together of highlights from the off-season. But that was cold comfort with a plot that needed at least a second draft.
Watch it, if you need to keep the narrative of the series together, but this is one voyage you can miss.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Strong and steady)
Plot 6 (Too contrived by half)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 7 (Too much going on)
Conclusion 7 (This tale has ended, but the overall arc continues)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 2½ stars