Black Butler: Book of Circus is season 2 of the anime adapted from the Book Of Circus arc in the Black Butler manga. Book of Circus is set a while after season one and takes place after The Curry Arc event. It has a darker tone than season one but remains faithful to the original manga arc of the story. There are numerous plot twists and turns which keep things unpredictable and riveting.
Book of Circus focuses on Ciel and his trustworthy demon butler Sebastian. They have infiltrated a circus that travels all around England and suspect that the circus is responsible for a string of children disappearances. They work as circus performers for the Noah’s Ark Circus as they conduct their investigation into the mysterious kidnappings of children all over England.
The story takes full advantage of its more adult oriented tone and there is a feeling of horror and dread especially later on as the show progresses. Violence has been ramped up and is even bloodier with some scenes being quite disturbing. Despite this, the show still retains its quirky and dark sense of humor. There also isn’t any forced in YAOI fanservice like in the previous “season” of the series.
The story is much more structured and compact without any irrelevant fillers. Instead, it focuses more on the inner workings and lore of Black Butler. The story is also well paced and events unfold bit by bit with the sense of mystery and excitement being maintained throughout. The season reaches its climax when Ciel and Sebastian discover the shocking and gruesome truth about the children’s disappearance.
The sense of mystery is as engaging as the previous season and it keeps you hooked on from start to finish. You learn more about the circus and the backgrounds of their performers. There is a fair amount of character development for Ciel and Sebastian. Their bond grows stronger as the find themselves in dangerous situations and the start looking out for each other. They get into very interesting dynamics with other circus performers. The circus and its employees are involved in very immoral and illegal activities with some of them being truly evil. Each circus performer has their own unique personality and interesting character design relating to the roles they play. Joker, the ring master is very charismatic and charming and is the face of the circus. His fellow circus performers like him, all have dark and tragic pasts that is revealed as the story goes on.
The animation style is the same but is given an updated look and it runs very smoothly. The art design is the same throughout the series and it looks really good and highly faithful to London, England during the Victorian Era.
Much of the main cast returns and their personalities remain the same most of the time. The voice acting for the English dub is superb and the dialog captures the feeling of London during the time period. The Phantomhive servants in the later episodes are way more competent as they are usually mostly used for comedic relief.
The soundtrack of the show is great and the tracks were memorable and distinct from each other. It sounds a lot like music from Victorian England. The opening and closing scenes of the show were creative and were like a pop-up story book. The audio and sound effects were of high quality.
As much as I liked Book of Circus, there were a few shortcomings. It’s pretty short, about 10 episodes. There was no point for some of the secondary characters. Prince Soma and Elizabeth had no purpose into the main storyline itself so they were better off removed from this arc. I found a couple of dialogue hiccups in the English script as character names were mixed up. These few faults are minor and does not deter from the enjoyment of the series. Overall, Book of Circus is highly entertaining with seamless animation, realistic set design and great voice acting.
I am giving it about 4 stars.
So, if you enjoy Black Butler and Victorian fiction, you will find Book of Circus very enjoyable.