Black Butler

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Black Butler
Kuroshitsuji Volume 1 cover.jpg
The cover of the first volume of the original Japanese manga release
Genre Historical, Black comedy, Dark fantasy, Psychological thriller
Written by Yana Toboso
Published by Square Enix
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Monthly GFantasy
English magazine
Original run September 16, 2006 – ongoing
Volumes 21 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Toshiya Shinohara
Produced by Hiroko Takahashi
Written by Mari Okada
Music by Taku Iwasaki
Studio A-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Network MBS, CBC, TBS, TBC, SBS, RCC, HBC, RKB, Animax
English network
Original run October 2, 2008March 27, 2009
Episodes 24 + 1 OVA (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Black Butler II
Directed by Hirofumi Ogura
Written by Mari Okada
Music by Taku Iwasaki
Studio A-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Network MBS, TBS, SBS, TBC, RCC, HBC, RKB, CBC, Animax
English network
Original run July 2, 2010September 17, 2010
Episodes 12 + 6 OVAs (List of episodes)
Live-action film
Black Butler
Directed by Kentaro Otani
Keiichi Sato
Produced by Shinzo Matsuhashi
Written by Tsutomu Kuroiwa
Studio Warner Bros. Pictures
Released January 18, 2014 (2014-01-18)
Runtime 119 minutes
Anime television series
Black Butler: Book of Circus
Directed by Noriyuki Abe
Written by Hiroyuki Yoshino
Music by Yasunori Mitsuda
Studio A-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Original run July 10, 2014September 12, 2014
Episodes 10 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Black Butler: Book of Murder
Directed by Noriyuki Abe
Written by Hiroyuki Yoshino
Music by Yasunori Mitsuda
Studio A-1 Pictures
Licensed by
Released October 25, 2014 (Part 1)
November 15, 2014 (Part 2)
Anime and Manga portal

Black Butler (Japanese: 黒執事 Hepburn: Kuroshitsuji?) is a Japanese manga series 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 thirteen-year-old (as of chapter 14) head of the Phantomhive noble family and the business owner of the Funtom company, a toy manufacturer. Ciel has formed a contract with Sebastian Michaelis, a demon who has taken on the disguise of Ciel's butler after he witnessed his parents being killed and soon after getting kidnapped and tortured, so he can get his revenge. In return, when Sebastian has helped Ciel finish all his tasks, such as working as a guard dog for the queen and defeating London's worst criminals, but more importantly, avenging his parents' deaths, Sebastian will be allowed to consume Ciel's soul. 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.

A 24-episode anime adaption, directed by Toshiya Shinohara and produced by A-1 Pictures, aired from October 2008 to March 2009. The second season, Kuroshitsuji II, aired in 2010 spanning 18 episodes with two new main characters, Alois Trancy and Claude Faustus, following the aftermath of the first season. This series was the anime's own adaptation and did not feature in the manga. A live action film adaptation was released in Japan on January 18, 2014. A third anime series, titled Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus, was broadcast between July 10 and September 12, 2014.[1] A two-part theatrical OVA titled Kuroshitsuji: Book of Murder screened in Japanese theaters on October 25, and November 15, 2014.[2][3] On October 10, 2015, it was announced on the Black Butler official Twitter account that an animated film for the series has been green-lit and that the original anime cast will return to reprise their roles.[4]


In Victorian-era London lives the young boy, Ciel Phantomhive. On the night of his tenth birthday, a fire engulfed his manor house, his parents were murdered, and he was captured by a mysterious organization. After a month of enduring excruciating and humiliating 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 inexplicable abilities.

Little do they know, Sebastian is actually a demon that has entered into a contract with Ciel, promising to help the boy achieve revenge on those who have wronged him in exchange for his soul. As the Queen's guard dog 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.[5] The chapters are also published in collected volumes by Square Enix. The first volume was released on February 27, 2007 and as of November 18, 2015, twenty-two volumes have been released.[6] 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.[7] The publisher released the first volume in January 2010.[8] The second volume was released in May 2010.[9] French publisher Kana licensed the series in under the Dark Kana imprint as Black Butler. The publisher released the first volume in November 2009.[10] 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.[11] In Poland, Waneko is publishing the manga as original Kuroshitsuji with subtitle Mroczny kamerdyner – as of February 2013, nine volumes have been released.[12] 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.[13] The series Black Butler is currently ongoing.

Drama CD[edit]

On August 10, 2007 a drama CD was released by Frontier Works. It featured many of the characters appearing in volumes one and two.[14] A second drama CD was released on November 26, 2008 under the Aniplex label.[15]


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.[16][17][18] On January 1, 2009, a limited edition DVD containing the first episode was released by Aniplex.[19] The next three episodes were released on another DVD on February 25, event, on June 14, 2009, it was announced that the anime would be returning for a second series. Japanese voice actor Junichi Suwabe confirmed this news on his official blog later that day.[20][21] 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.[22]

On March 29, 2010, North American anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced on their online FuniCon 3.0 panel that they had licensed Black Butler.[23] At Anime Expo 2010, Funimation also announced that they would stream the simulcast series, Black Butler II.[24] Funimation announced on their Facebook page that they had fully licensed the second season. Funimation 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. "Black Butler: Book of Circus" was released on YouTube on August 1, 2014.

The series made its North American television debut on February 8, 2011 on the Funimation Channel.[25]

Black Butler is currently airing on Australia's C31 and TVS station during Super Happy Anime Hour.

On January 16, 2014, it was announced that Black Butler had been green-lit for another anime adaptation.[26] Unlike the previous seasons, the third series was a remake of the original manga storyline, adapting the Noah's Ark Circus arc and titled Kuroshitsuji Book of Circus.[27] The series was directed by Noriyuki Abe at A-1 Pictures, with Hiroyuki Yoshino in charge of scripts, along with Ichiro Okuchi and Yuka Miyata as script writers. The main cast from the previous anime series returned, along with new cast members, and the series aired from July 10, 2014 to September 12, 2014. In addition, a two-part OVA titled the Book of Murder, an adaptation of the Phantomhive Manor Murders arc, was screened in Japanese theaters on October 25, and November 15, 2014.[3]


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.[28] Yuya Matsushita portrayed Sebastian Michaelis, Shougo Sakamoto played Ciel Phantomhive and Uehara Takuya as Grell Sutcliff.[29]

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?),[30] the second musical adaptation of the manga, ran at Akasaka Act Theater (1300 seats) in Akasaka, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, between May 3 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 2012. It ran between May 17 and June 9, 2013 in the Akasaka ACT Theater (Akasaka, Tokyo) again, and the Umeda Arts Theater in Osaka. It was announced in February 2013 that Yuya Matsushita, Uehara Takuya, and Shuuhei Izumi would reprise their roles as Sebastian Michaelis, Grell Sutcliff, and the Undertaker, respectively. The rest of the roles were 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.[31]

A third musical (Black Butler - Lycoris that Blazes the Earth | Kuroshitsuji - Chi ni Moeru Rikorisu) was performed in September 2014. Most of the cast reprised their roles from the re-run of The Most Beautiful Death in the World although Fukuzaki Nayuta replaced Taketo Tanaka as Ciel Phantomhive and Yuka Terasaki replaced Saki Matsuda as Mey-Rin. Akane Liv was introduced as Madam Red, Yuusuke Hirose as Charles Phipps, Oota Motohiro as Charles Grey and Araki Hirofumi as Lau.[32]

A re-run of the third Black Butler musical "Lycoris that Blazes the Earth" was scheduled to perform in November–December 2015.[33] It will premiere in Osaka in November 7 then travel to Miyagi, Tokyo and Fukuoka.[34] The new run of the third musical will also make its first oversea tour in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen) in December 2015.[34] Yuta Furukawa is replacing Yuya Matsushita as Sebastian Michaelis, who had been playing Sebastian since the first musical.[33] Meanwhile, most of the cast from the third musical reprise their roles.

Video game[edit]

A video game for Nintendo DS, called Kuroshitsuji Phantom & Ghost was developed by Square Enix and was released on March 19, 2009.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37] An official comics anthology Rainbow Butler (虹執事 Nijishitsuji?) was also released on that date.[38]


Main article: Black Butler (film)

It was announced in January 18, 2013 that the manga would be made into a live-action film starring Ayame Goriki as Genpou Shiori, Hiro Mizushima as Sebastian Michaelis. Filming began in April 2013 and the film was released on January 18, 2014.[39]

On October 10, 2015, it was announced an animated film for the series has been green-lit, and the original anime cast will return to reprise their roles.[4]


Black Butler has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, 5 million outside Japan.[40] Individual volumes alone have done well in weekly polls in Japan, taking several high spots.[41][42][43][44] 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.[45] 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.[46] The sixth volume ranked thirteenth of the top-selling manga in Japan during the first half of 2009, selling 619,501 copies.[47] 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 series is also quite popular in other countries.[48]

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".[49]

By 2 February, the film had grossed ¥479,554,245 (US$4,687,163) at the Japanese box office.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Black Butler: Book of Circus 30-Second Commercial Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2014-05-29. 
  2. ^ "Black Butler Gets 'Book of Murder' Arc Video Anime". Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Black Butler: Book of Murder Original Video Anime Previewed in TV Spot". animenewsnetwork. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Black Butler Manga Gets Anime Film With Returning Cast". Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ ":::: GFantasy Website :::: -月刊Gファンタジーオフィシャルサイト" (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  6. ^ 黒執事(19) (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  7. ^ "Kuroshitsuji Manga Begins English Run in Yen Plus Mag (Updated)". Anime News Network. July 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  8. ^ "Served up on a Silver Platter!". Yen Press. July 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  9. ^ "Black Butler Volume 2". Yen Press. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Black Butler Tome 1" (in French). Kana. November 6, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  11. ^ "Black Butler 1" (in Italian). Panini Comics. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Melmothia (January 6, 2012). "Kuroshitsuji tom 2". (in Polish) (Małgorzata Kaczarowska) 2318. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Descubre… Black Butler" [Discover ... Black Butler] (in Spanish). Norma Editorial. November 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ "ドラマCD 黒執事: イメージ・アルバム, セバスチャン・ミカエリス(森川智之), シエル・ファントムハイヴ(沢城みゆき), タナカ(麦人), バルド(小山力也), メイリン(折笠富美子), フィニ(高城元気), エリザベス(斎藤千和), アズーロ(平田広明), クラウス(染田清之), マダム・レッド(勝生真沙子), 森川智之, 沢城みゆき, 勝生真沙子, 遊佐浩二, 麦人: 音楽" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  15. ^ "黒執事 華麗なるドラマCD: ドラマ, 小野大輔, 福山潤, 坂本真綾: 音楽" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  16. ^ "Kuroshitsuji Anime Confirmed to Premiere this Fall". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  17. ^ "TVアニメーション 黒執事" (in Japanese). Aniplex. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  18. ^ Butler' site – スタッフ (Staff) (2008). "黒執事 :: 作品紹介 :: A-1 Pictures". (in Japanese). A-1 Pictures. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  19. ^ "黒執事 I 【完全生産限定版】: 篠原俊哉, 小野大輔, 坂本真綾: DVD" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  20. ^ "Second Season of Kuroshitsuji confirmed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  21. ^ "Second Season". Junichi Suwabe Official Blog. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  22. ^ "Kuroshitsuji II to Debut in July with New Butler, Master". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 1, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Funimation Adds Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji TV Anime". Anime News Network. March 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  24. ^ "Funi Adds Live Action Moyashimon Live Action, More". Anime News Network. July 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  25. ^ "FUNimation Week 7 of 2011". 
  26. ^ "New Black Butler Anime Series Green-Lit". Anime News Network. January 16, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Black Butler Gets 'Book of Murder' Video Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  28. ^ 音楽舞闘会 黒執事 〜その執事、友好〜 (in Japanese). Entertainment Plus Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  29. ^ "Cast & Staff" (in Japanese). Entertainment Plus Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  30. ^ 『ミュージカル「黒執事」-千の魂と堕ちた死神-』. (in Japanese). Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  31. ^ ミュージカル黒執事 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  32. ^ ミュージカル黒執事 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  33. ^ a b "Black Butler Musical's New Sebastian Pictured in Costume". Anime News Network. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  34. ^ a b "Schedule". Musical Kuroshitsuji. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  35. ^ "黒執事 Phantom & Ghost" (in Japanese). Square Enix. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  36. ^ 黒執事 キャラクターガイド その執事、集合: スクウェア・エニックス: 本 (in Japanese). ASIN 4757525052. 
  37. ^ TVアニメーション「黒執事」 Black Record: スクウェア・エニックス: 本 (in Japanese). ASIN 4757525354. 
  38. ^ 黒執事アンソロジーコミック 虹執事 (Gファンタジーコミックス): スクウェア・エニックス: 本 (in Japanese). ASIN 4757525303. 
  39. ^ "Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) To Get Live-Action Adaptation". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  40. ^ "Businesses". Square Enix. May 18, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, December 18–24". Anime News Network. December 27, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  42. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, June 3–9". Anime News Network. June 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  43. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, September 16–22". Anime News Network. September 24, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  44. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, September 23–29". Anime News Network. October 1, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  45. ^ "Japanese Comic Ranking, March 31 – April 6". Anime News Network. April 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  46. ^ "2008's Top-Selling Manga in Japan, #26–50". Anime News Network. December 21, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  47. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Volume: 1st Half of 2009 (Updated)". Anime News Network. June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  48. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Series: 1st Half of 2009 (Updated)". Anime News Network. June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  49. ^ "Survey: K-ON's Mio, Reborn's Hibari are #1 Bride, Groom". Anime News Network. June 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  50. ^ "Japanese Box Office, February 1–2". Anime News Network. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 

External links[edit]