You saw right! The very first theatrical release of a Black Butler animated adaptation, and it looks like it’s (trying to be) the next Titanic with zombies! I just saw a promotional video for the new movie, which released to theaters in Japan only a few months ago (January 21st, 2017), and will release in theaters across the US later this year, and I can’t stop laughing!
Let me back up a little. After the backlash of Black Butler 2 (I’m looking at you Claude!), the company responsible for bringing the manga to life through animation decided to start off scratch and give Black Butler the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment (sorta). They started with animating Book of Circus, an arc in the books relatively close to the beginning of the story, but still in the middle somewhere.
In Book of Circus, Ciel and Sebastian join a traveling circus to investigate a chain of missing children. It has a great mystery (which I DARE not spoil if you haven’t seen it and want to), doesn’t shy away from the nitty-gritty (as if Black Butler ever did), and still brings in laughs.
With everyone’s favorite Gery Stew back in the spotlight, they animated the arc directly after Book of Circus; Book of Murder.
Directly after Sebastian and Ciel solve the case with the circus, Ciel throws a celebration with various Earls, the Queen’s butlers, and a novelist who writes mystery stories. Again, it’s a great mystery, but the mystery itself takes a lot of the screen time (aside from the tear-jerking moments). Like all good mysteries, I give it two viewings (three since my first viewing was the raw Japanese, then I couldn’t see it again until the dub was available). During the first viewing, you’re just as in-the-dark as the characters. For the second viewing, after you know the answer, you pay more attention to the background than you did before.
Now with, not only the one and only Black Butler himself, but a new footman in training, we enter Book of the Atlantic.
Because I’ve only seen a few promotional videos in Japanese and have seen a few pages from the books, I’m gonna say everything on my mind, as opposed to just short, vague reviews. This might be spoiler territory (also, I kinda start rambling, but all the points here are ones I want to say).
After the events of Book of Murder, Lizzie invites Ciel to a luxury cruise so the two can have quality alone time as future husband and wife. Ciel accepts, only because a doctor claiming to have the power to bring back the dead is having a demonstration on the same cruise ship.
…Can I hit pause for a second here? I just gotta ask, why, of all places, does the doctor chose to have his demonstration on a ship? If something goes wrong, he’d have no back-up, or, on a different note, anyone can wander in on his “secret demonstration”! I’m sure he has a perfectly good hospital building on land that can host such events, either publicly or privately.
I digress. The ship gets overrun by zombies, zombies want to nom people’s faces off, Sebastian learns how to kill a zombie the Walking Dead way, should be a great movie, right?
…I’m still laughing that this is the first theatrical release for a Black Butler animated feature film…and it’s as though the author just thought, “Hey, you remember that really long movie about a ship sinking? It would be so much cooler if it had a demon, a grim reaper, and zombies!”
I understand that the animators are now animating, what seems like, all the arcs from the books to give Black Butler the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood treatment that it so rightfully deserves. However, all three “books” could’ve been condensed into a feature film. Though Book of Murder is a feature film that was “Direct to DVD” in a sense, Book of Circus is a short 10 episode mini-series that kinda wastes time re-introducing the characters, and re-explaining Ciel’s PTSD…again! Both of them look like either of them could make it to the big screen with how almost anyone, Black Butler fan or not, could at least get sucked into the mystery of the mini-series and film, but…zombie titanic is the one to make the cinemas?
Now that I think about it…I sort-of understand why the characters and situations in Book of Circus need to be re-introduced and explained. It seems like the animation company is trying to re-do Black Butler similar to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (…I feel like I’m repeating myself now). Similar to the original Fullmetal Alchemist, Black Butler was created far from the manga, with the addition of Pluto, the angels…and season 2 all together (STILL LOOKING AT YOU CLAUDE!). Now, these “books” are following the manga to the letter, but of course, the animators wouldn’t want to re-do episodes that were already in the manga, like the Curry Competition, so they just start with directly after with a mention of the competition and no sign of Ash, Angela, or Plu-Plu.
Also, on a technical stand, the animation and art style is much more pleasing to the eye than the original, with the softer colors and textures, almost blurred lines, and much…easier eyes. With all this, if the animators said that Black Butler is re-branding itself, I wouldn’t be surprised. These new Black Butler Books are something new and different from the original show, they’re the books brought to life (I guess that’s why they all have the word “book” in their subtitles).
Final thoughts, I don’t really know how to feel about Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic getting a spot in cinemas. If you ask me, I think either all the Black Butler Books should be feature films with cinematic releases, or none of them are; it would be like seeing Lion King 2 in theaters while Lion King 1 is on TV and DVD. However, it is what it is, it’s still gonna happen, and…there’s no way in hell my parents would take me to the theater to watch an anime movie, so I really shouldn’t have even bothered making a big deal out of this film getting theatrical treatment while the other books could’ve achieved the same thing with proper marketing and smooth talking. Though, I bet it would be great to see it on the big screen with the whole cinematic experience…I’m gonna wrap things up before I start another run-away-train.
So, what do you guys think of Black Butler getting a theatrical release? What do you think of the direction the Black Butler staff is taking? Do you like it? Hate it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and have a beautiful rest of your day~!
The movie is coming sooner than later, so why not catch up with the events the movie will take place afterward? Check out Book of Circus, and even Book of Murder! They’re both on Amazon they both take place directly before the events of the movie. Even if you’ve seen them before, might as well dust off old memories and recall what’s going on when the movie finally does come to a theater near you!