The cover of the first volume of the original Japanese manga release
|Genre||Action, Historical, Black comedy, Dark fantasy, Supernatural|
|Written by||Yana Toboso|
|Published by||Square Enix|
|Original run||September 16, 2006 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Toshiya Shinohara|
|Written by||Mari Okada|
|Music by||Taku Iwasaki|
|Network||MBS, CBC, TBS, TBC, SBS, RCC, HBC, RKB, Animax|
|Original run||October 3, 2008 – March 27, 2009|
|Episodes||24 + 1 OVA|
|Anime television series|
|Black Butler II|
|Directed by||Hirofumi Ogura|
|Written by||Mari Okada|
|Music by||Taku Iwasaki|
|Network||MBS, TBS, SBS, TBC, RCC, HBC, RKB, CBC, Animax|
|Original run||July 2, 2010 – September 17, 2011|
|Episodes||12 + 6 OVAs|
Black Butler (Japanese: 黒執事 Hepburn: Kuroshitsuji ) is a manga written and illustrated by Yana Toboso. Since its debut on September 16, 2006, it has been serialized in Square Enix's shōnen manga magazine Monthly GFantasy.
The series follows Ciel Phantomhive, the twelve-year-old (later thirteen-year-old) head of the Phantomhive noble family and the business-savvy owner of the Funtom company, a toy manufacturer. Ciel has formed a demonic contract with Sebastian Michaelis. In return, when Sebastian has helped Ciel finish all of his tasks, including avenging his parents' deaths, Sebastian will be allowed to consume Ciel's soul. It was announced in July 2008 that an anime adaption, directed by Toshiya Shinohara and produced by A-1 Pictures, was expected. It premiered in October 2008, and has since ended with 24 episodes. The second season aired in 2010 spanning 12 episodes with two new main characters, Alois Trancy and Claude Faustus. The series has been licensed by Yen Press in North America and published in Yen Plus' August 2009 issue for the magazine's first anniversary.
In Victorian era London, there lies the manor house located in the outskirts of the town of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its young master, Ciel Phantomhive. On the night of Ciel Phantomhive's tenth birthday, a fire engulfed his manor, his parents murdered, and he was captured by a mysterious organization. After a month of enduring excruciating torture, Ciel returns to the Phantomhive household with an enigmatic black clad butler, Sebastian Michaelis. To others, it seems that the butler is simply the best at his craft, from anticipating his young master's needs to carrying them out to the best of his abilities. Little do they know, Sebastian is actually a demon that had entered into a contract with Ciel, promising the boy to help him achieve revenge on the arsonists in exchange for his soul. As the Queen's Watchdog and standing at the top of the British underworld, Ciel solves the crimes plaguing London while waiting for the day he will exact his revenge.
Written and drawn by Yana Toboso, the chapters of Black Butler have been serialized in the shōnen manga magazine Monthly GFantasy since its debut in the October 2006 issue. The chapters are also published in collected volumes by Square Enix. The first volume was released on February 27, 2007 and as of August 27, 2013, seventeen volumes have been released so far. Yen Press licensed the series for an English language release and serialized the manga in Yen Plus' August 2009 issue for the magazine's first anniversary. The publisher released the first volume in January 2010. The second volume was released in May 2010. French publisher Kana licensed the series in under the Dark Kana imprint as Black Butler. The publisher released the first volume in November 2009. Carlsen Comics has licensed the series in Germany as Black Butler, the same title used for the French and English releases. Black Butler have been also published in Italy by Panini Comics. In Poland, Waneko is publishing the manga as original Kuroshitsuji with subtitle Mroczny kamerdyner – as of February 2013, nine volumes have been released. The series has been published in Finland under the original Japanese name Kuroshitsuji by Punainen jättiläinen since July 2012. In Spain, the series has been published in Norma Editorial since November 2011 under the title Black Butler. The series Black Butler is currently ongoing.
On August 10, 2007 a drama CD was released by Frontier Works. It featured many of the characters appearing in volumes one and two. A second drama CD was released on November 26, 2008 under the Aniplex label.
In July 2008, it was announced that an anime adaption of Black Butler, directed by Toshiya Shinohara and produced by A-1 Pictures, was expected. It premiered in October 2008 and broadcast on MBS as well as the TBS. On January 1, 2009, a limited edition DVD containing the first episode was released by Aniplex. The next three episodes were released on another DVD on February 25, event, on June 14, 2009, it was announced that the anime will be returning for a second series. Japanese voice actor Junichi Suwabe confirmed this news on his official blog later that day. The second series, Kuroshitsuji II, premiered in July and follows a butler, Claude Faustus, and his master, Alois Trancy, as well as Sebastian and Ciel. Both new characters were designed by Toboso.
On March 29, 2010, North American anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced on their online FuniCon 3.0 panel that they have licensed Black Butler. At Anime Expo 2010, Funimation also announced that they will stream the simulcast series, Black Butler 2. Funimation announced on their Facebook page that they have fully licensed the second season. Funimation has released Black Butler Combo Pack Blu-ray/DVD first and second season on April 3, 2012.
On January 11, 2013, Animax Asia began airing the first season every Monday through Friday at 10:30 pm.
That Butler, Friendship (その執事、友好 Sono Shitsuji, Yūkō ), a musical adaptation of the manga, had run at the Sunshine Theater in Ikebukuro between May 28, 2009 and June 7, 2009. Yuya Matsushita portrayed Sebastian Michaelis, Shougo Sakamoto played Ciel Phantomhive and Uehara Takuya as Grell Sutcliff.
Musical Black Butler: The Most Beautiful Death in The World – A Thousand Souls and The Fallen Grim Reaper (ミュージカル｢黒執事｣〜ザ・モースト・ビューティフル・デス・イン・ザ・ワールド〜千の魂と堕ちた死神 Miūjikaru Kuroshitsuji – Za Mōsuto Byūtifuru Desu in za Wārudo – Sen no Tamashii to Ochita Shinigami ), the second musical adaptation of the manga, ran at Akasaka Act Theater (1300 seats) in Akasaka, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, between May 3, 2010 and May 23, 2010. Yuya Matsushita reprised his role as Sebastian Michaelis, Yukito Nishii played Ciel Phantomhive, and Uehara Takuya reprised his role as Grell Sutcliff. The other two main characters, Eric Slingby and Alan Humphries, were portrayed by Taisuke Saeki and Matsumoto Shinya, respectively. The musical was written by Mari Okada, directed by Sakurako Fukuyama, with music composed by Taku Iwasaki, and lyrics by Yukinojo Mori.
A second run of The Most Beautiful Death in the World was announced in December of 2012. It is scheduled to run between May 17th and June 9th, 2013 in the Akasaka ACT Theater (Akasaka, Tokyo) again, and the Umeda Arts Theater in Osaka. It was announced in February of 2013 that Yuya Matsushita, Uehara Takuya, and Shuuhei Izumi will reprise their roles as Sebastian Michaelis, Grell Sutcliff, and the Undertaker, respectively. The rest of the roles have been re-cast, with Taketo Tanaka replacing Yukito Nishii as Ciel Phantomhive, and Shinji Rachi and Masataka Nakagauchi replacing Taisuke Saeki and Matsumoto Shinya in the roles of Eric Slingby and Alan Humphries.
A video game for Nintendo DS, called Kuroshitsuji Phantom & Ghost was developed by Square Enix and was released on March 19, 2009. The game is sold in two versions, a limited first-press edition with a higher price and numerous extra goods, and a regular edition.
On February 27, 2009, the Black Butler Character book"That Butler, Assembles" (黒執事 キャラクターガイド ｢その執事、集合｣ Kuroshitsuji Character Guide "Sono Shitsuji, Shūgō" ) was released. The TV Animation Black Butler Black Record (TVアニメーション｢黒執事｣ Black Record) was released on March 27, 2009. An official comics anthology Rainbow Butler (虹執事 Nijishitsuji ) was also released on that date.
It was announced in January 2013 that the manga will be made into a live-action movie starring Ayame Goriki as Genpou Shiori, Hiro Mizushima as Sebastian Michaelis. Filming began in April 2013 and the movie will be release on January 19, 2014.
With the release of the manga's thirteenth volume, the series will have printed over ten million copies in Japan. Volumes alone have done well in weekly polls in Japan, taking several high spots. In addition to the volumes, the comics anthology Rainbow Butler ranked seventeenth during the week of March 31 to April 6 selling 41,083 copies after ranking thirty-third the previous week. The fourth and fifth volumes ranked thirty-third and thirty-ninth of the top-selling manga in Japan during 2008, selling 529,210 copies and 468,550 copies respectively. The sixth volume ranked thirteenth of the top-selling manga in Japan during the first half of 2009, selling 619,501 copies. The series itself was ranked tenth of the top-selling manga series in Japan during 2009, selling a total of 1,603,197 estimated copies.
The Japanese music distributor Recochoku has created an annual survey of which anime characters that people would like to marry. Sebastian Michaelis ranked ninth in the category "The Character I Want to Be My Groom".
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Black Butler.|
- Official Square Enix website (Japanese)
- Official anime website (Japanese)
- Black Butler at Funimation's site
- Black Butler (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Black Butler (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia