Anime Expo 2024 saw the return of many anime titles from the 2010s. However, one title saw a return that wasn’t on anyone’s list for the convention. Although the franchise’s last movie was released in 2017, Yana Toboso’s Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji) anime announced it will be making a 2024 return. The announcement saw longtime fans coming back as the new trailer dropped. The reason for all the excitement is the return of the long-missed duo of Ciel and Sebastian.
The story tells of 12-year-old Ciel Phantomhive, who acquired the title of Earl after his family was mysteriously killed on the night of his 10th birthday. Surprised at his survival, Ciel rebuilds his house and establishes his empire, all with a mysterious butler that came back with him. Together, Ciel and Sebastian must solve the mysteries of the supernatural while uncovering those that killed his family years ago.
Yana Toboso went on hiatus before finishing the story. This left A-1 Pictures wondering if she was going to come back and give them an ending. It left many fans of the story going to the manga for answers about their new favorite demon-master duo.
Now that we know Black Bulter is making a comeback, it’s important to talk about the watch order.
Black Butler Season 1 (Episodes 1-15)
This is the official start of the Black Butler anime and manga. Though some filler is left out from the manga, it establishes what and who viewers need to know. We meet Ciel and Sebastian, and the rest of the estate. This consists of the maid Meyrin, the cook Bardlroy, and the groundskeeper Finny. There are also a handful of supporting characters that serve greater importance as the story goes on.
If anything, the story is slow in season one. It gives the feeling of demonic Scooby-Doo as we watch Ciel and Sebastian run around trying to solve mysteries for the Queen, but it’s a necessary watch for the overall Black Butler story. Not to say that it’s bad in any way, it’s just very different from everything else we are shown later on.
Black Butler: Book of Circus (2014)
Arguably the best adaptation of Black Butler so far, Book of Circus follows the story right after episode 15. This time, we follow the duo as they are tasked with investigating the Noah’s Ark Circus with possible ties to missing children around Europe. They have to go undercover as two circus performers to solve the mystery and bring themselves closer to the night when Ciel first met Sebastian.
Black Butler: Book of Murder (2014)
After the events of Book of Circus, the Queen starts to question Ciel’s loyalty. Her butlers travel to the Phantomhive manor to hold a banquet for esteemed German baker Lord George von Siemens. However, after the banquet, Siemens is found murdered in his room with everyone having an alibi except for Ciel.
Black Butler: Book of Atlantic (2017)
This movie’s story is based on the real-life sinking of the Titanic. Ciel, Sebastian, and their new helping hand Snake board the luxury ‘Campania.’ On the ship, the two of them notice strange things happening and people going missing. Now, they must stop the mysterious Aurora Society before the cult and the ship of zombies makes it to America.
Black Butler 2024
Watching anything else Black Butler-related that wasn’t mentioned is not necessary. The second half of the first season, as well as the “official” season 2 (Alois Trancy and Claude Faustus), have nothing to do with the manga story. Both were poorly received by fans, citing the confusing story, the unnecessary filler, and the ending that left more people baffled than satisfied. All the other listed OVAs (Ciel in Wonderland, His Butler; on Stage, Welcome to the Phantomhives, etc.) are nice to watch but also have nothing to do with the story.
Fans of the manga know that this entry is expected to cover the Public School arc. This arc follows Ciel as he goes undercover at the Queen’s request to learn why students from Weston College refuse to leave and become violently ill when they do. When one student passes away, Ciel swallows his pride and walks among the students, becoming a member in more ways than one.
Though the original studio changed from A-1 to Cloverworks, many are still excited about the possibilities it could bring. Yana’s artwork is a large talking point of the manga and the reason why she takes frequent hiatuses. But, based on the studio’s track record, it’s no doubt that they won’t have a problem capturing her gothic details and beautiful scenes.
Currently, the entire Black Butler anime is available to watch on Crunchyroll.