Kuroshitsuji – 06
Last week we were treated to a little teaser of the fight show, but this week the real act begins. Picking up after Ciel commands Sebastian to kick some ass, Grell is romanticizing that their tragic fight is akin to Romeo and Juliet. Dodging another sudden attack to the face, Grell wants to know why Sebastian chooses to keep his given name. From the very moment Ciel called out for him using the name “Sebastian,” the contract was formed, and he swore to it by the moon. Dwelling on Sebastian’s cold, heartless eyes and tainted hands and lips, Grell squirms with blissful thoughts during the fight. He even compliments Sebastian by swearing that if it were possible, he would never abort their unborn lovechild.
Performing acrobats and dodging swift blade swings, Sebastian finally traps the chainsaw underfoot for a few moments, but gets distracted by a false attempt for a kiss, accompanied by a wink, a headbutt, and a large slice to the chest. Not being a mortal wound, Grell only gets treated to Sebastian’s memories from the past year. He wanted to see an epic drama but instead he got a commercial for a used car dealership, complete with sponsors.
Sebastian’s previous 12 months or so have been filled with nothing but tedious screw-ups and domestic tragedies thanks to the Phantomhive household. He’s tremendously disappointed, so Sebastian informs Grell of the going rate for ticket prices to see the whole show. Lamenting that his coat has been rendered useless by the most recent chainsaw attack, Sebastian sighs as he reluctantly decides to use ‘that method’ to bring a decisive end to this variety show. Agreeing to finish things in the next blow, both parties launch for a mid-air clash. Underestimating his enemy’s intimate textile knowledge, Grell soon finds Sebastian’s coat intractably ensnared inside the chainsaw’s inner workings, effectively stopping the blade. Due to the high quality of the wool, it would be virtually impossible to remove. One impending shadow and several cheerful knuckle cracks later, the real pain begins. One direct crush to the face for every unsolicited fantasy.
True to the name of death god, it would appear that Grell can’t be beaten to death despite Sebastian’s thorough efforts. But that’s alright, because Sebastian has an inkling that he’d truly face destruction if killed with his own chainsaw-scythe. Somehow effortlessly untangling the deeply embedded coat himself, he checks with Ciel to see if it’s really alright to commit the sin of killing a god, but Ciel isn’t interested in repeating his orders. Pondering the joy of hurting others and the pleasurable sound of someone screaming in pain, Sebastian merrily denies Grell’s cries to stop. A split second before the blade is allowed to send Grell back to hell, their conversation is interrupted by a certain William P. Spears.
William is in charge of human resources at Death God Inc, and he’s here to retrieve his delinquent staff member for about 18 procedural breaches with remarkably lucky timing. Thinking William had come to save him, Grell dejectedly accepts more cobblestone to the face while he’s read the list of his crimes. Seemingly polite at first, William actually loathes that he’s forced to apologize to a creature like Sebastian who can only bring suffering and harm. Sebastian suggests keeping his dog on a proper leash so as not to be caused harm by a creature such as himself.
The two cordially discuss the rate at which humans tend to accept even a single thread of hope if it’s offered in a truly hopeless situation, and the demons who would offer such hope. Dragging Grell away by the hair, William grants that at least Sebastian is a tamed beast, unlike some of his other brethren scum. After skillfully catching a high speed chainsaw pitch intended to land in the back of his scull, William disappears into the alley with his employee in tow.
Sebastian apologizes for being unable to finish the job, but Ciel looks like he doesn’t care anymore as he kneels beside Madam Red’s body. Ready to call it a day, Ciel falters a little while standing up but angrily rejects Sebastian’s help when he catches his fall. It’s just been a very long day and he’s a little tired, that’s all.
Soon afterward on a clear afternoon, church bells are ringing as hundreds of people mourn the loss of Madam Red at her funeral. A few common children outside are wondering what the large commotion is about, and tease their older brother when he says he doesn’t know. 12 year olds shouldn’t be expected to understand this kind of thing, right? The Undertaker thinks so, too.
Elizabeth cries quietly in front of the full church, looking at the stunningly beautiful corpse of Madam Red. With Sebastian around the corner, Ciel shows up dramatically late holding a striking red dress, and lays it over her body in the casket full of white flowers. Looking down over her, he seems quite mature as he says his final goodbyes, thinking this pale white color doesn’t suit her at all. The only color for her is red. Suddenly, waves of rose petals dreamily enter the room on a strange breeze and Ciel reminisces about his aunt on a peaceful day out with his entire family, singing and playing London bridge. Elizabeth was there too, along with his father, mother, dog, and Tanaka, the usually short-statured tea drinking house steward. The four Phantomhive servants are outside of the church lamenting her death amongst themselves, and even Tanaka mysteriously grows bigger (aka normal size) in a strange moment for just a few kind words to offer the departed.
On the other side of town, detectives are searching the crime scene and a young officer collects some red thread from a section of crushed cobblestone. His superior arrives and orders the earnest young detective to go home – judgment has already been passed and this investigation is over. The detective wants to know who called for the case to be closed, and is told that he shouldn’t have to ask, but maybe it’s better if an inexperienced guy like him doesn’t know. The look on his face tells me he isn’t satisfied with this answer, so we might see him again one day.
Meanwhile Lau confronts Ciel and Sebastian privately in the church about why he didn’t inform the queen of the culprit’s identity. Responding to Ciel’s stubbornness and angst, he promises to keep his own illegal Opium trade tidy, but even if that arrangement were to fall through, he’d find another way to do business. He’s not ready to leave London just yet, and guarantees he’ll stick around for Ciel’s next entertaining adventure.
In the graveyard, Ciel and Sebastian speak with the Undertaker in front of the final victim’s grave. Ciel paid for it since she didn’t have her own family, but denies allegations of being kindhearted. He could have saved her at any time if he had made her life his priority instead of apprehending the killer. The same goes for his Aunt. Now that there’s no more Jack the Ripper, Ciel thinks the Queen can finally relax. The Undertaker isn’t her biggest fan, and becomes a bit forceful when he grabs Ciel by the necktie and shoves him into Sebastian. He describes the ring Ciel resolutely wears as more of a dog’s collar to the throne, hoping that it strangles him one day (otherwise it would just be too boring). Yet he still leaves on an upbeat note, telling them to feel free to stop by anytime~. Their business is more than welcome.
Left alone in the graveyard, Sebastian taunts Ciel, saying he really must be kindhearted – If not, that would only make him a coward. He could have shot Madam Red in self defense at any time with the concealed handgun at his back, but he didn’t. He hesitated. Perhaps he was afraid to pull the trigger when it came down to it, or maybe he just couldn’t stomach killing his own relative. Ciel claims the reason he didn’t shoot is simply because it’s not his job. He believed that Sebastian would protect him no matter what. That even if Sebastian was killed, somehow or another he would still protect him. Even without an explicit order… So why did he stop Sebastian from killing Madam Red? Because he also believed that she didn’t have it in her to kill him. She hesitated, exactly the same as when she played chess.
That’s why he won’t hesitate. Continuing chess as a metaphor, Sebastian cautions that as the conquered pieces pile up under his throne, so do his sins. He cannot lose because if the king is taken, the game is over. We see dark images of Ciel playing chess with an Elizabeth-shaped shadow, and under the throne are strewn bodies of everyone who will or already have become a sacrifice in his quest.
Ciel won’t regret any moves that have allowed him to advance, so he gives Sebastian a direct order: You will not betray me, and you will never leave my side. Sebastian bows and accepts the command, thinking to himself that he would follow Ciel anywhere if it were his wish. Even as the bodies mount up endlessly and the throne crumbles, he will never allow Ciel to become truly lost, and he will stay by his side until the last piece falls.
What amused me most about this episode was watching Sebastian’s “animated” facial expressions: Disgust at the idea of being the Romeo to Grell’s Juliette, Gratification at beating Grell to death, Mild Displeasure at ruining his expensive wool suit, Immature Delight at sadistically denying a plea for survival, Disappointment at being interrupted before his fun was over, and finally, Mischiveously teasing Ciel about not being able to pull the trigger. He also seemed fairly surprised when Ciel brushed away his help after a small dizzy spell. To be fair, Ciel did just lose the last family relation he seemed to have left after his parents’ death, which is no small thing. I’m under the impression that his entire reason for living, or at least his permanent scowl, is derived from that life changing event 2 years ago.
Speaking of changing facial expressions, Tanaka inexplicably became super-sized (compared to his normal stature anyway) when offering some kind words about Madam Red. If you look at some of the flashback scenes with the full family, you’ll notice that he has been serving the Phantomhives since before the murder of Ciel’s parents. But for whatever reason, now he’s just a pleasant tea drinking enigma. I also can’t help but wonder if the sole purpose for characters like Lau with eyes that never open is just to heighten the dramatic effect when they finally do open their eyes. If not, that’s one hefty racial stereotype… (I know, it’s more of a personality thing, but still!) Lau will definitely come back to play one day, so I’ll be on the look-out for the color of those mysterious eyes. On that subject, we did see a few more scenes with Ciel’s father, and the face is still purposefully unrevealed. Another thing to add to my list.
More and more I’m becoming suspicious that Sebastian would follow and protect Ciel until the end despite the contract. After a business-like swear of allegiance, his personal thoughts and actions sway towards a devoted and sincere desire to fulfill Ciel’s wishes, whatever they might be. I hope I’m not wrong, and if it’s true I’d like to find out why. Just keep in mind that this show is called Kuroshitsuji and not Ciel Phantomhive. It was very gratifying to see his dark side unleashed for purposes other than butlery or pure rescue missions.
The funeral scene was incredibly touching with Ciel’s entrance carrying the red dress, and only Sebastian could be responsible for such a gorgeous display of falling blood-red rose petals inside the church. I liked the comparison between Ciel and the justifiably ignorant 12 year old boy with the children outside of the funeral ceremony. The realism of innocent outsiders in a world that doesn’t associate with demons and death gods makes Ciel’s large burden seem even heavier. You become accustomed to fantastic and strange scenarios in anime, but something about that reference made the sorrow a bit more tangible. This episode ended on extremely dark tones.
It’s too bad Sebastian’s big movie break was filled with mundane memories of the four useless and often hazardous employees at Ciel’s residence. Grell’s not the only one who wants to be filled in on Sebastian’s past. The implications are now pretty clear that in exchange for his ‘services’, Ciel owes Sebastian his soul at the end of his life. With these dark thoughts, this arc was wrapped up nicely and it looks like we can start something fresh next week. I like the comedy in this series a lot, but I have to admit I didn’t miss the four screwups very much. However, they will be coming back next week when we prepare for a nice outdoor picnic and get introduced to a few new characters. I’m crossing my fingers for the episode where they atone for all their mistakes with something incredibly badass. One can dream.