Well we’re two episodes into Black Butler Book of Circus, and things are looking very promising.
In the first episode, Sebastian takes us through another typical day at the Phantomhive Manor. Another bad guy gets his plot (against the young earl) foiled by Sebastian. At the end, a mystery couple leaves an envelope with Sebastian containing two tickets to the Noah’s Ark Circus. The beginning of the first episode seems to be a bit of a hint as to how Ciel came to make a contract with Sebastian. I can’t make much of it myself, but I’m more than sure that we can expect to figure out what this is all about in good time.
In the second episode, Ciel receives a letter from Queen Victoria herself explaining how the Circus may be involved in the disappearance of several children from different areas where the circus has stopped at. At the Circus we meet Joker, who is the ringmaster, Peter and Wendy who are trapeze artists, Snake who is a snake handler, Beast who works with tigers, Dagger who performs dagger throwing tricks, and their doctor who specializes in prosthesis.
As far as the characters that have already appeared in the earlier seasons, we have all the same voice actors. Nothing much in that sense has changed and that is pretty much a good thing. They still nail the characters perfectly to the point where I almost forgot that they were voiced by someone and did not have voices of their own. the other characters seem fairly well executed as far as voice acting goes, not surprised either.
As far as plot goes it is a lot more satisfying. I, along with a lot of other people, was worried after the horrible ending of the second season which was very badly thought out. Funimation seems to have noticed as they decided not only to go back to an arc that was left out of the anime in the first season, but also respecting it as so, not trying to tie-in the facts from the second season. So more than Black Butler season three, we can more-or-less consider this a “Black Butler 1.5” so to speak. I think it was a very smart decision as this approach isolates it more and elongates it better letting the audience enjoy it’s whole theme and plot to the fullest extent. Having it in the first season, we would be looking at either another ten episodes or so, or a very short, unsatisfying one-to-two episode abridgment of the whole thing.
I really like how they’ve kept the circus performers ambiguous so far, as I was afraid they would be too hasty to label them all as either good or bad. Of course we have now the evidence which says one thing, and their personalities which seems to lean more on the misunderstood outcasts sort of deal. The overall tone, as implied by the up-beat intro, is a bit more whimsical than what the past two seasons where. We still have the usual dark plot twists and characters, but with a lot more color and showmanship. That feeling that all your responsibilities is over is still felt, of course not very directly as we mostly stick with Ciel and Sebastian who are all about responsibilities, but it’s that care-free atmosphere that really gives the second episode it’s kick at the end.