I have heard all of the things about the live-action Black Butter movie, especially all the negative things that the loyal Kuroshitsuji fans (as well as some fujioshis) say about it… some even suggest not to watch it for that particular reason.
I’m familiar with the Kuroshitsuji anime series, as the first season was aired on ANIMAX Asia in 2011… but for some strange reason, they did not air the second season… and its third sequel, Black Butler: Book of Circus, premiered this month.
But whatever the reason is, I’m still curious about the story.
Anime Pilipinas attended the Advanced Screening of the live-action Black Butler movie last Monday, July 21, at the SM Cinema – Director’s Club at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, two (2) days before its premiere screening.
Set in the year 2020, Shiori Genpo, played by Ayame Gouriki (Jun Ohtsuki, Gatchaman live-action movie) runs the large corporation Funtom. Shiori is also a descendant is a descendant of prestigious noble family Phantomhive of England. As a descendant of the noble family Phantomhive, Shiori solves difficult cases which are ordered by the queen.
In order to take revenge, Shiori makes a deal with Butler Sebastian, played by Hiro Mizushima (Nanba Minami, Hana Kimi 2007 live-action series). Their deal involves Butler Sebastian protecting Ciel until her revenge is fulfilled and then Sebastian will consume Shiori’s spirit. (Synopsis from AsianWiki.com)
The movie started off with a strong start, where they show girls being smuggled and put to cargo boxes… except for one, which is the lead character. Even with the hard-hitting attitude by the villain, Genpo still has that apathetic attitude, which is definitely a trait of Ciel Phantomhive. The demon butler shows up a few moments later, and action ensues… and as expected, the butler did his job.
The character introduction did not come until the Japanese police discovered the crime scene at the warehouse, and that is where Genpo was introduced as a fourth-generation of Phantomhive, although it did not really answered the reasons why they migrated from England to Japan. Because Genpo is a decendant of the Phantomhive family, the protagonist became the “Queen’s Dog”.
One thing that I’ve noticed is that despite the movie’s setting is the year 2020 in Japan, there are a lot of Westerners.
The story has a slow but steady flow, with thrilling scenes and surprising moments, that will directly lead to answering the question “What caused the mummification of certain individuals?”
But one thing that really makes the movie exciting is a twist, and has a big one… Frankly, I did not expect that as that individual to betray the protagonist as that person is the most closest from Genpo.
One thing that I did not exactly like about the movie is the part where it feels it’s dragging, and it is on the last few parts… Seriously, 30 minutes felts like 45 minutes or so… but the conclusion is all right, albeit my colleague Red Mendoza (@knightkira) describes it as “depressing.”
Unfortunately though, it did not answer the question “Who is the true mastermind of ordered the killing of Shiori Genpo’s parents?” and decided to make it open-ended.
But I guess that’s what makes it more mysterious, and giving suspense & thriller a whole new meaning.
As I have said before, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about the Black Butler live-action movie, mostly because the lead actor plays the role of the fourth-generation descendant crossdresser Kiyoharu Genpo (or Shiori Genpo)… and not the teenage boy Ciel Phantomhive that they love.
But then again, Warner Bros. Japan’s logic of not letting them use Japanese actors if the theme is 19th century England is simply nuts… I guess artistic license is not exactly a “thing” in Japan… Which is why I decided to watch it as a movie on its own, and not a part of the popular franchise.
Anyways, I still think that Gouriki’s portrayal as the detective who solves cases is good, which makes you remind why she is a descendant of Phantomhive.
With regards to Hiro Mizushima’s portrayal as the “devilishly handsome butler”, I must say that he perfectly portrayed the character, despite that his last act was in 2010 and has a more prolific role as a novelist. Whenever you look at the character in the movie, I see evil soothe in his face.
I guess if a particular movie made someone come out of their retirement, then that mean something… right?
Unfortunately, I still see some naysayers with his performance, and frankly they are just doing some nitpicking. Whatever.
From the first part of the movie, I must say that the presentation are amazing… particularly the graphics, props, and scenery.
The first part of the movie really showed what the movie is all about with blood, but not overly exaggerated as the Western movie 300, then you will really be impressed with the “mummified bodies” which is almost realistic.
The locations really fit the mood of the movie, whether it is in alley at night, inside a warehouse, or at the garden inside the Genpo estate.
Despite that the live-action Black Butler movie is a loose adaptation of the popular series, I believe that it could stand on its own. The story, together with other all other aspects, are well-executed. The actors played a great part of the movie, especially Mizushima’s performance. I believe that every anime & movie fans, including Kuroshitsuji fans, should watch the movie.
In my honest opinion, I’m giving the movie a rating of 8.5/10.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This blogpost was written by JM Melegrito, and you may follow him on twitter at @blockerZENPH. The opinions expressed on this post does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Anime Pilipinas, its Editorial Team, and its Friends & Partners.