Kuroshitsuji – 05
This week, after finding out Ciel’s huge success was a huge mistake, we pick up our unsolved mystery where we left off. Flashing forward momentarily to our next victim, we see a blonde female being tormented by “Jack the Ripper.” He paints lipstick on the bruised woman’s face, but she flinches in the lightning and he gets quite pissed off that she made him screw up her makeup.
Before anything unsightly happens, we immediately wind the clock back a bit and return to Ciel’s townhouse where he’s playing chess with Madam Red. She wonders why Sebastian isn’t handling the investigation himself since he’s so competent. Ciel replies that, like in chess, Sebastian is only a game piece, to follow his orders. If he were able to move around freely it wouldn’t truly be Ciel’s victory. But unlike a regular chess piece, Sebastian is a bit overpowered. In chess that would be breaking the rules, but this is the real world. His enemies are breaking the rules, so if he wants to win he must break them too. He manages to checkmate his aunt during this conversation. Turns out she’s not so great at chess.
Sebastian walks Madam Red out, and she asks him privately to please protect Ciel and stay by his side. We already know his answer to that. Grell comes to pick her up at the door, and in the lightning and rain Madam Red has a pretty strange look in her eyes.
Before bed, Sebastian comes to tuck Ciel in. Talking about his previous investigation, Sebastian insists that no matter how many times he checks, the results are still the same. Clearly no human besides Blonde Pedo could have committed these crimes. Ciel suddenly picks up on Sebastian’s word choice and gets quite pissed off. He followed Ciel’s command word for word, but didn’t include suspects on the list that weren’t human. After all, his own butler isn’t human, but when he asked for the list of possible suspects, he took that for granted. Now that Ciel understands who their culprit could be, with a cunning smile Sebastian playfully invites him to make his checkmate.
Back to the future, Ciel and Sebastian are staking out an alley outside the next likely victim’s home where the murderer would have no choice but to pass through since it’s the only entrance. During a heartfelt confession from Ciel, Sebastian completely betrays him by being distracted by a ‘beautiful’ black stray cat. Listen to people when they’re talking!!
Suddenly, a scream comes from the victim’s home, even though no one walked by. Ciel storms into the house during what I presume is quite literally a blood bath, and Sebastian quickly covers his eyes and jerks him away from the room, though not in time to save him from a wave of shock. Drenched in blood, Grell Sutcliff walks out of the house playing innocent, but Sebastian isn’t buying it. So Grell undergoes the creepiest magical girl transformation I’ve ever seen.
He gets very flustered and excited that he can finally appear in front of Sebastian in his ‘proper’ makeup. He knew from the beginning that Sebastian was a demon working as a butler, and claims to be very surprised. Mutually, Sebastian has never seen a ‘Death God’ working as a butler, either. When asked why a death god would choose to become a butler in disguise, Grell admits he was captivated by ‘that woman.’ Listening the whole time, Ciel comes to a sudden realization at these words. Grell wasn’t working alone.
Sebastian inquires who that woman is, but Madam Red personally replies that he probably knows without even having to ask, and steps quietly out of the bloody house. Family or not, Ciel checked her alibi from the beginning since she was also a doctor. She always stood out at parties because of her vivid appearance and behavior, so her alibi was perfect. However, if she were working with a death god like Grell, that’s a different story. Furthermore, the victims did have one other thing in common: They were all patients at Madam Red’s hospital who had asked her for abortions. It’s a professional drawback to being a prostitute before birth control was invented, I suppose. Based on all this evidence, Ciel is now positive that these two are the murderers, because being an eye-witness at the the crime scene wasn’t enough.
Using the power of the contract, Ciel commands Sebastian to capture them, and the action begins. Though Sebastian is able to defend against Grell’s scythe, aka chainsaw attacks pretty skillfully, it’s such a dangerous weapon that it very nearly puts him at a disadvantage for the first time in this series. Apparently it will cut through anything, and Grell is dying for some good exercise. His desire to battle Sebastian doesn’t stop him from flirting and blowing kisses, and Sebastian’s reactions are less than enthusiastic.
While Sebastian is momentarily trapped under the spinning blade, Madam Red assaults Ciel with a knife, and nearly goes in for the kill before she stops suddenly of her own accord. Sebastian sustains a heavy injury ignoring Grell in order to save Ciel in time, but before he can harm Madam Red, Ciel commands him to stop. Grell demands that she finish him off, but her strong feelings for Ciel won’t allow her to kill him. Very pissed off, Grell suddenly lands a direct blow into Madam Red’s chest with his chainsaw, releasing a strange series of what appears to be film strips flowing out from her gushing wound.
Grell’s job as a death god is to review the life of the dying before they pass on, with all the cinematic quality of going to a movie theater. During the next few minutes, I can only assume time stands still while everyone grabs some popcorn and watches a self-narrated flashback from Madam Red’s life on film:
This film noir begins during Madam Red’s childhood with her older sister, when she met Ciel’s father for the first time. She had always hated her red hair until the moment he said it was beautiful and suited her well. From that moment she fell in love with both that man and the color red, too. But he fell in love with her sister, and as their relationship flourished, Madam Red’s hatred for red sank deeper than before – though despite the man she loved marrying the sister she cherished, she could never bring herself to hate either of them. She only hated the color red. She eventually married another man despite her lingering feelings, and became a happy mother-to-be. In a tragic turn of events, she barely survived a serious car accident, suffering the loss of both her husband and unborn child. No longer able to bear children, she was in route to visit the family she envied more than ever, only to arrive in time to see her despised color red encompassing their home in flames.
On that day, Ciel’s parents were both murdered and their home destroyed in the fire, but Ciel’s body was never found. During that time, Madam Red lost everything she ever cared for, and in her fragile state she went back to work. That day, an insensitive patient requested an abortion, coldheartedly throwing away the one thing Madam Red couldn’t have and wanted the most. A few days later while thinking about everything she lost and everything that woman was abandoning, she cracked, tracked down the prostitute, and murdered her violently in the street. Grell was a witness to the events, and through his unnatural love for all things red, became instantly smitten. That’s how they met.
Several months later, Ciel mysteriously returned home with a butler by his side who was dressed in black. Madam Red was relieved that he was safe and alive, but couldn’t help lamenting that only he survived instead of ‘that man’ who she loved so much.
The credits roll, and Madam Red sheds her final tears in silence as she finally hits the ground, 15 minutes after she was hit. Ciel closes her eyes out of respect, and Grell steals her red coat and begins to exit the theater. Filled with anger, Ciel reminds Sebastian that he still has a job to do. Sebastian turns the tables on Grell and displays some Pai Mei style moves and a mean-spirited kick towards Grell’s precious face. When Ciel says “win” it just can’t be helped. He’s totally enjoying this.
First of all, I apologize for the length this week, but there’s a lot going on as well as years’ worth of back-story to cover, so please forgive me. I also wanted a way to differentiate Madam Red’s “movie” sequence apart from the actual flow of the story, so I’m sorry for any burnt retinas. I tried to make it stylistically similar to the flashback itself so that it’s more obvious where everything starts and ends.
Ciel makes a big deal out of the fact that he’s here by his own choice, and wants only to rely on himself. I think Sebastian gets a lot of pleasure out of being mischievous towards Ciel at times, but I also think he might care for him deeply. Otherwise, why would he cover Ciel’s eyes to protect him from seeing the gruesome murder scene? And he nearly killed himself trying to save him, even though there was no verbal command. A butler’s duties only go so far. Where do the demon’s obligations begin and end, I wonder? I think their relationship and trust beyond the binds of the contract will probably be fairly important later on as more is revealed about the history between the two of them, and may drive some of the character development.
I absolutely love that even Sebastian isn’t immune to the cat proximity ratio. (Puni puni~) I think this particular demon is rather feline in nature, so it’s fitting that he’d love cats.
I also have to comment on the fact that Ciel’s father never has eyes. What a strange facial disfigurement. Perhaps Madam Red never should have believed someone with vision problems when he said she looked wonderful in red. The faceless father is a huge hint at something big, and I’m sure it’s connected to Sebastian somehow, but it’s just way too early to know what that connection is yet.
There are plenty of historical references in this arc, connecting it to the true story of Jack the Ripper from London in 1888. The circumstances are practically a mirror image, and even the names are the same in many cases (Mary Kelley was the last victim, and I thought Druitt was also a wrongly accused suspect, though I can’t find that reference offhand.) And I could have sworn there was a handsome demon-butler named Sebastian in the investigations, though the evidence seems to have been misplaced.
Next week, we wrap up the fight. I don’t think they’ll kill off a title character in episode six, but I do think we’ve seen our first indisputable (main character) death. This isn’t Code Geass. Rest in Peace, Madam Red.