This week, the women are back and they’re tackling the Black Butler live-action film. In a film that changes almost everything about the anime, settings, gender, meaning(?), how does it stack up to the other adaptations? To be honest, the choices made in casting is great, but the story elements leave some things to be desired. Granted the demonic and the cultic are high on the list of what to focus on in the Black Butler live-action.
Black Butler is a 2014 Japanese period-style action fantasy film directed by Kentarō Ōtani and Keiichi Satō. The film is based on the manga of the same name by Yana Toboso. The film is set in a parallel, quasi-Victorian history. The world contains two major powers: the West, ruled by the Queen, and the East. The Queen manipulates events worldwide using operatives called the Queen’s Watchdogs. The film’s protagonist, Earl Kiyoharu Genpou (replacing Ciel Phantomhive from the anime), is a Queen’s Watchdog in an unnamed Eastern metropolis. A large automobile is careering through a docks area. The man driving is rapidly desiccating, his face wrinkling, its skin crumbling. As he dies, the car crashes to a halt. A warehouse echoes with screams as dark-clad men herd young women around. The chief thug questions one young woman for carrying photos of desiccated bodies. A young man in a formal black butler’s uniform suddenly appears in the warehouse, identifying himself as a servant of the Genpou family. The thugs attack. Most are disabled or killed quickly. Only the chief thug remains conscious for questioning.
In their teenage years, few things can hurt people more than the heartaches that come with unrequited love. Such is the case for Natsuo Fujii, who has found himself entranced by his school’s ever-cheerful teacher Hina. Deflated by this unreachable desire, Natsuo humors his friends and attends a mixer. There he meets Rui, a girl whose lack of excitement rivals that of himself. After bonding over their mutual awkwardness, Rui takes Natsuo to her house and asks him to have sex with her, hoping that the experience will stop her friends from treating her like a clueless child. With his hopeless feelings towards Hina still on his mind, Natsuo hesitantly agrees.
Young Ciel Phantomhive is known as “the Queen’s Guard Dog,” taking care of the many unsettling events that occur in Victorian England for Her Majesty. Aided by Sebastian Michaelis, his loyal butler with seemingly inhuman abilities, Ciel uses whatever means necessary to get the job done. But is there more to this black-clad butler than meets the eye?