“Black Butler the Movie” is a film inspired by the popular and anime and manga series. But the film is it’s own storyline that is different from the story we are familiar with by Yana Toboso. If you love action mystery films, then give “Black Butler the Movie” a chance.
TITLE: Black Butler the Movie
FILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 120 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Dolby TrueHD Japanese and English 5.1, Subtitles: English
RATED: TV MA
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2017
Based on the manga by Yana Toboso
Directed by Kentaro Ohtani, Kei’ichi Sato
Produced by Shiho Matsuhashi
Hiro Mizushima as Sebastian Michaelis
Ayame Goriki as Shiori Genpo/Kiyoharu
Yuka as Hanae Wakatsuki
Mizuki Yamamoto as Rin
Tomomi Maruyama as Akashi
Takuro Ono as Takaki Matsumiya
Louis Kurihara as Jay the Undertaker
Ken Kaito as Arihito Genpo
Chiaki Horan as Erika Genpo
Black Butler the Movie is inspired by the hit anime series Black Butler, this live-action adaptation brings an all-new story featuring a familiar demon butler doing what butlers do best: helping their masters seek revenge. The Black Butler is back-and there’s an all-new mystery to be solved. It’ll take one hell of a butler to figure it out!
In 2006, mangaka Yana Toboso (“Rust Blaster”) began working on his second manga that year for Square Enix’s “Monthly GFantasy” magazine. The series nown as “Kuroshitsuji” (Black Butler) would receive a large fanbase due to its bishounen characters.
By 2008, “Black Butler” would receive an anime adaptation and later, a live action film. The popularity of “Black Butler” has led to a musical, drama CD’s, toys, a video game and books have been released in Japan.
With the live action film version directed by Kentaro Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato, it’s important to note that this film is not about Ciel Phantomhive, the protagonist of the anime and manga series but focuses on a female character named Shiori Genpo who dresses as a boy.
The film stars Hiro Mizushima (“Beck”, “Drop”, “Kamen Rider Kabuto: God Sped Love”), Ayame Goriki (“L.DK”, “Angels and Demons”), Yuka (“Reincarnation”, “Hakuba no Ohjisama”, “Akumu chan”) and Mizuki Yamamoto (“Sadako vs. Kayako”, “The Kirishima Thing”, “I Am a Monk”) and more.
The film is set in a parallel world where the world is split into two major powers. The West which is ruled by the Queen and the East.
The Queen uses operatives known as the Queen’s Watchdogs to investigate situations that cause concern and with many deaths. Bodies have been found mummified and found along with these bodies is a card of a demon. And this time, the Queen’s ambassador Anthony Campelle, was found mummified in his car, become the eighth death of a person involved in a case called “Devil’s Curse”.
We then see a warehouse in which men are stuffing women into crates. The men’s leader questions one of the women on how she has photos of desiccated bodies but when she doesn’t tell him, he keeps kicking her.
Not long after, footsteps can be heard and a man in a butler’s uniform appears in the warehouse and reveals himself as a devil’s butler for the Genpo family. The girl gives an order to kill them all and when the butler pulls out a butter knife, all the men start laughing. But immediately, the butler starts killing them all and showing his quick moves. When the leader threatens to kill the girl, he tells the butler to drop the knife or else she dies.
The butler drops the knife and is shot in the head. When the crime boss thinks he has won, the girl tells her butler to stop kidding around and then sure enough, the butler arises. As the girl tells the crime boss to give him details of the bodies, he refuses and he is killed.
The girl removes her wig and she is revealed to be Earl Kiyohara Genpo, a Queen’s watchdog.
We learn that the girl is really Shiori Genpo (portrayed by Ayame Goriki), the daughter of the heir of the Funtom Toy Corporation. Her parents Arihito Genpo (a Queen’s Watchdog) and his wife Erika were killed when she was younger and when she was about to be killed, she made a deal with the devil to give her soul up once she gets her revenge on the people who killed her parents.
This contract with the devil, Sebastian Michaelis (portrayed by Hiro Mizushima), a demon with special abilities that he uses to help his master, Shiori Genpo but once she gets her revenge and finds out who is responsible for killing her parents, she will die and her soul will belong to him.
And because Shiori disappeared at that time, in order for someone to claim the Genpo Funtom Toy Corporation fortune, only a son can be in the line to obtain the fortune, so Shiori must disguise himself as Earl Kiyoharu Genpo, the bastard son of Arihito Genpo.
And serving her is Sebastian and a clumsy maid named Rin (portrayed by Mizuki Yamamoto).
The Earl and Sebastian uncover clues and with the help of her aunt, Hanae Wakatsuki (portrayed by Yuka), she is able to infiltrate the club of the wealthy along with Rin. But while investigating, she is held captive by Shinepi Kujo, the CEO of Episilon Pharmaceuticals, the host of the party.
Kujo is then seen telling a hooded figure about Necrosis, a poisonous new drug developed. It makes people experience euphoria and then they start bleeding from their nose, ears and eyes and they then go through desiccation. Only two red capsules can cancel the effects of the Necrosis poison.
Will Sebastian be able to save the Earl and Rin? And what will their investigation uncover about Devil’s Curse? And will the Earl learn who is responsible for her parent’s death?
“Black Butler the Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition. A lot of shots indoors but for the most part, picture quality is good, outdoor scenes are vibrant.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Black Butler” is presented in Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD.
Japanese soundtrack is well-done but I also watched the film with English subtitles and with FUNimation onboard, one of the major positives is they have excellent voice talent utilized by the company and the English dub is well-done.
Subtitles are in English.
“Black Butler the Movie” comes with a trailer.
“Black Butler the Movie” comes with Blu-ray and DVD.
When it comes to live-action adaptations of popular manga and anime series, sometimes instead of a faithful adaptation, we get something complete different and only a few elements from the series incorporated into the story.
With “Black Butler the Movie”, we have a film that has elements of the manga/anime series but for the most part, it’s a film with a different story and a different young protagonist.
Still, I have learned to understand that differences happen, as they do with superhero films in America and hope that we have a storyline that is entertaining.
“Black Butler” is a film that had potential to be something more. I was fine with actress Ayame Goriki as a protagonist and playing something different and not Ciel Phantomhive (the protagonist of the anime and manga series) and was thrilled that Sebastian and Rin play a major role in the film.
But with so much story written by mangaka Yana Toboso, it makes you wonder why they couldn’t create a film utilizing those stories. While I felt the action scenes were well-done, I felt the overall storyline was lacking and the film was more of a popcorn action film with and the storyline that people fell in love with in the manga and anime was not well-realized for the film.
Still, I’m not going to say it’s a terrible film. Unlike “Attack on Titan”(especially the second part) which writers strayed away from the original source material and the old ’90s “Street Fighter” film or the terrible “Dragon Ball” film, “Black Butler the Movie” was not that bad. Different, yes. Not a great script, yes. But thanks to the action and the performance by Ayame Goriki and Hiro Mizushima, as well as the small, clumsy performance of Mizuki Yamamoto as Rin, made the film worthwhile.
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good and you get a solid lossless soundtrack with both the Japanese and English dub. There are no special features but a trailer.
Overall, “Black Butler the Movie” is a film inspired by the popular and anime and manga series. But the film is it’s own storyline that is different from the story we are familiar with by Yana Toboso. If you love action mystery films, then give “Black Butler the Movie” a chance.