We have the third season of “Black Butler: Book of Circus”, which gives a complete story approach (much like the second season), but is far more entertaining, and far more heartless.
It is February 1886 and Ciel has been asked by the Queen to help her again. It seems that there is an epidemic of children disappearing, and not just one or two, but lots of them, as if they have been Pied Pipered away. The only link is the Noah’s Ark Circus, which has been to the towns that have missing children and it just happens to be coming to London in the next few days. The Queen wants Ciel and Sebastian to investigate and at least prove or refute the charges.
To this end, they infiltrate the circus, pretending to be commoners and apply for a job. The series details their adventures to crack this mystery.
The star performers all have one thing in common: they are defective. They have all sustained some degree of physical injury and a benefactor has taken great pains to give them marvelous prosthetics, so they can lead a somewhat normal life (they are circus people, so what does ‘normal’ really mean?)
Despite the short run (10 episodes), they managed to pack in quite a lot, which includes Ciel’s back story as to how he met Sebastian, the back story of all the Circus folks (and they are from left to right Beast, the tiger tamer; Snake, the snake charmer; Dagger, the knife thrower; Peter and Wendy, trapeze artists; Joker, the ringmaster; Jumbo, a man of great strength; and Doll, the tightrope walker) and a potential seduction sequence between Beast and Sebastian.
Two things bothered me about this show. The first was that Sebastian NEVER used his catch phrase even ONCE! (“One hell of a butler”.) You couldn’t find a place to put it? The second was Ciel’s servants.
If you have seen the series, when they are called upon to use their special talents, it is death for you. Period. It’s that during their regular working life Baldo, Mei-Rey and Finnian are three of the most incompetent folks you would never want to employ. That is the sole source of comic relief, as this is a very grim show.
We all knew how cruel and heartless Ciel is (and it is reflected in the flashback sequences), but he make a decision that not only shows the total blackness of his soul (blacker than a raven’s wing at midnight in a coal mine), but he makes it with no more thought than getting a beef burrito at Taco Bell. This was a shocking degree of emotional depravity, even for him. If you cross him, you get crossed off. Those who recall the first season had a front and center seat to that horror.
Not that anyone escapes their past or their sins. All the players are on the treadmill to hell; it just depends on who is going to get there first.
But, it is an intriguing and entertaining show, as we track down mystery upon mystery and see the true nature of everyone who inhabits this Alternative London. I am giving a very strong recommendation to see it.
Oh, here is the nit-pick part: Peter and Wendy did not make their appearance until 1904, so that is a reference for our benefit only. Such is a problem when you play fast and loose with the facts.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Pretty solid efforts)
Plot 8 (A very compelling tale)
Pacing 7 (A touch of a slow down near the middle)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of flashbacks)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 8 (Chilling and cruel)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Still one hell of a butler.