Black Butler is a seinen manga by Yana Toboso. It has been published since September 2006 in the Monthly GFantasy magazine belonging to the Japanese publisher Square Enix and is compiled in 32 volumes as of September 2022. An anime television series adaptation produced by studio A-1 Pictures aired between October 2008 and March 2009 on the TBS channel in Japan. A second season aired between July and September 2010. Several OVAs were also produced, including a reboot series.
A new anime titled Black Butler: Book of Circus, a reboot adapting the Cirque Noah arc from the manga aired between July and September 2014 before being followed by Book of Murder, a two-part OVA series, and an animated film, Book of the Atlantic, released in Japanese theaters in January 2017. The license also has several other adaptations including two CD dramas between 2007 and 2009, a video game in 2009, five different musicals between 2009 and 2017, as well as a live-action film in 2014.
In this article, we are going to give you a thorough insight into the Black Butler anime series. You’re going to get all the necessary information, as well as a complete guide to watching the whole series, including the OVAs and the movie.
Black Butler watch order by release date
In this section, we are going to bring you an overview of the Black Butler works in the proper release order:
- Black Butler, Season 1 (anime, 2008–2009)
- Black Butler, Season 2 (anime, 2010–2011)
- “Ciel in Wonderland Part 1” (OVA, 2010)
- “Welcome to Phantomhive’s” (OVA, 2010)
- “The Making of Kuroshitsuji II” (OVA, 2011)
- “His Butler, On Stage” (OVA, 2011)
- “Ciel in Wonderland Part II” (OVA, 2011)
- “Spider’s Intention” (OVA, 2011)
- “The Tale of Will the Shinigami” (OVA, 2011)
- Black Butler: Book of Circus (anime, 2014)
- Black Butler: Book of Murder (OVA, 2014)
- Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic (movie, 2017)
In the next part of this article, we are going to tell you how you should watch the series in chronological order.
Black Butler chronological watch order
In this section, we are going to give you a chronological overview of the works in question:
Black Butler, Season 1 (anime, 2008–2009) – Episodes 1 – 15
Count Phantomhive is due to have a guest in the evening, and Sebastian is preparing for his arrival. But Meylin, Bard, and Finny, with their desire to surpass the butler in skill, destroy everything that is important for a good welcome to the guest. But after all, Sebastian is “both a demon and a butler,” so he successfully fixes everything. There are mice on the estate of Count Phantomhive. And not only there.
An opium smuggler appeared in England, which is forbidden by the decree of the queen. Ciel instructs Lau Tao to remove the “mouse”. The Count is later kidnapped from the estate. The killer tries to kill Sebastian, but Sebastian notices him, so only the window and the vase suffer from the shot. The butler receives a note that he must bring an “item” in exchange for Ciel.
Sebastian comes to the house where Ciel was hidden, depicts a false death there, and saves the count. A natural disaster in the estate of Count Phantomhive! Madame Red asked Ciel to have Sebastian teach her butler Grell Sutcliff something. If he fails, he tries to commit suicide. Ciel and Sebastian go to get a cane for the count, and when they return, they find a “decorated” estate. It turned out that Lady Elizabeth decided to please her fiancé.
Black Butler: Book of Circus (anime, 2014)
At the Phantomhive Estate, guests are due to attend a business meeting in the evening. Lau and Ran-Mao come with Cedric Brandel, a respectable businessman who has been secretly intent on having Ciel killed since Ciel’s position as the Queen’s watchdog interferes with his illegal arms trade. But just as he orders his men to attack, Cedric learns that Sebastian has already taken care of everyone and is killed by the butler instead.
Lau brings Ciel an invitation to the circus that has just come to town. Sebastian puts Ciel to sleep, looking forward to the day he claims his master’s soul. The Queen orders Ciel to investigate the possible connection between the circus and the missing children, as children have gone missing in every town visited by the circus.
Black Butler: Book of Murder (OVA, 2014)
The Queen decides to test Ciel’s loyalty as she thinks he left something of his tale of the slain captive children of the Noah’s Ark circus. His butlers hold a banquet at the Phantomhive mansion for a German banker, Lord Georg von Siemens. After the banquet, Siemens is found murdered in his guest room. Everyone has an alibi except Ciel, who is then limited to one of his guests – Arthur Conan Doyle, a fledgling writer Ciel is a fan of.
That night, someone kills Sebastian, and in the morning, another guest is found dead. Doyle suspects that three different people committed the murders, since all three could not have been committed by one person. As they wonder if someone outside might attack them, a mysterious Reverend Jeremy Rathborne arrives.
Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic (movie, 2017)
The story is based on the real-life sinking of the RMS Titanic back in 1912. Ciel, Sebastian, and Snake mount the luxury liner Campania on its maiden voyage to investigate the mysterious Aurora Society, allegedly conducting unethical experiments to raise the dead. Elizabeth and her family are also on board.
At a secret Aurora Society meeting, Ciel and Sebastian witness Doctor Rian Stoker using a machine to revive a dead woman, who begins attacking and killing the companions. Ciel becomes trapped in the ship’s cargo with Elizabeth and Snake, where they discover that Stoker has brought thousands of other resurrected bodies aboard.
Sebastian saves her. While questioning Stoker, Ciel discovers that an even larger amount of bodies are stored in another area of the ship. This group wakes up immediately and begins killing the ship’s crew and passengers. Amid the chaos, the ship crashes into an iceberg and begins to sink, giving Sebastian and the Grim Reapers, including Grell, only a few hours. The group discovers that Undertaker is behind the reanimated bodies and is himself a Grim Reaper.
Black Butler, Season 1 (anime, 2008–2009) – Episodes 16 – 24
Ciel arrives at an old castle rumored to be haunted. At first, the count does not believe in eyewitness accounts, until he himself encounters ghosts, who turn out to be long-killed brothers-princes. Ciel and Sebastian help the brothers find peace. An investigation into a monastery where strange rituals are performed, at the request of the Queen’s butler.
This case lifts the curtain on the history of Count Phantomhive himself and again pushes him, Grell (who went to look for the book of the reapers’ memories), and Sebastian with Angela. Angela takes Ciel to the Reaper’s Library, where she tries to replace his real memory with a false one. Sebastian Michaelis and Grell follow. The Count manages to discard the false memories.
Angela runs away in anger back to the human world, in order to destroy all the parishioners of the monastery, having previously sealed the library hall with the so-called “Angel Protection”, however, the legendary reaper hiding under the guise of the Undertaker, using a special bookmark, transfers the heroes to the monastery, where Sebastian, Grell, and William are cracking down with Angela.
“His Butler, On Stage” (OVA, 2011)
Due to the anniversary of the Phantomhive company, some actors have been hired to perform William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet at a charity event for orphans. However, because the ship that was transporting the actors was shipwrecked, they will not be able to arrive on time.
Since he can’t cancel the play, Ciel orders Sebastian to take care of the problem, who gathers several individuals to help him, including Elizabeth, Undertaker, Grell, Lau, Ran-Mao, Bard, Finnian, Meirin, Soma, Agni, and Tanaka. Together they perform the play and Ciel ends up playing Hamlet much to his chagrin, because according to Sebastian “it would be a problem to give him a role that doesn’t suit him”.
“Ciel in Wonderland Part 1” (OVA, 2010)
On a day like any other at the Phantomhive mansion, Ciel unexpectedly sees Sebastian wearing white bunny ears. A strange and curious Ciel follows him into a hole in the ground, landing in an alternate dimension with numerous floating doors. He watches Sebastian go through one of the doors, but it closes when Ciel tries to open it.
Later, he meets a mouse version of Elizabeth with his maid, Paula. Elizabeth eats a slice of cake which causes her to grow in size. However, she cries over this and her tears turn into huge puddles of water. She only stops her crying when she drinks an elixir that will make her shrink again. At the lake that was formed from Lizzie’s tears, the three of them are boarded by Bardroy, Finnian, Mey-Rin, and Tanaka in a boat. They all see Sebastian walking on the water, but are soon swept away by Pluto.
Ciel, now on dry land, meets Viscount Druitt, who insists on dancing with him in front of a large crowd. Later, he lands at a palace where he meets the duchess, who is none other than Prince Soma, the enthusiastic Agni, and the smiling cat, Grell. After eating a curry bun given by Agni, Ciel grows so big that he destroys the palace. While walking through a forest, he comes across Aberline with a lizard tail, who offers him a piece of candy. It is unknown what the side effect will be for Ciel.
“Welcome to Phantomhive’s” (OVA, 2010)
It is an animated chapter in the first person; where the viewer is immersed in the story with the character of an unknown woman simply called “Lady” who, together with Elizabeth, visits the Phantomhive mansion and discovers the world of Kuroshitsuji.
“The Making of Kuroshitsuji II” (OVA, 2011)
In this OVA narrated by Bard and made like a documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary debut of “Kuroshitsuji”, a popular series that has premiered all over the world. When Ciel and Sebastian are interviewed to find out if they would star in a sequel, they admitted that they had no interest at first, but finally agreed to do it. In turn, the secondary characters are also excited to be part of the sequel.
However, the antagonistic characters have a totally different view, explaining the use of green screens in fight scenes, such as the scene of Sebastian and Grell fighting in the streets of London. Angela Blanc and Ash Landers work as fight coordinators and stunt doubles, while Edward is the director, with his brother Richard as his assistant. When Claude destroys the set after being disappointed with the script, Ciel is rescued by Sebastian, who in the process broke his right ankle. Meanwhile, Elizabeth films the daily lives of the actors.
“Ciel in Wonderland Part II” (OVA, 2011)
The story commences furter when Ciel (Alice) is walking through the woods and encounters the Caterpillar (Lau). Alice asks how to find White Rabbit (Sebastian), but Caterpillar doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Caterpillar then suggests to him that if he wants to get bigger or smaller, he should eat the “left side” to get bigger and the “right side” to get smaller. Alice has no clue what he is talking about. Just then, a mushroom (Ran-Mao) in a suggestive naked costume approaches him and offers Alice to eat his “left hand”.
Alice transforms into her adult size resembling her father (Vincent Phantomhive). Alice tells Caterpillar to make it small. Caterpillar grants his wish and asks his mushroom to make him small. This time Alice transforms into her child size. Alice is irritated and asks Caterpillar to bring him back to normal. The fungus offers him his “middle” and he returns to normal.
“Spider’s Intention” (OVA, 2011)
Prior to the events of Kuroshitsuji II, Alois Trancy finds and frees a butterfly from a spider web, however, seeing that it wanted to escape from him, he breaks one of its wings to prevent it from flying. Later, he orders Claude to fill the bedroom with flowers and bring a cage of bugs to keep the butterfly inside.
The OVA is narrated from the point of view of the Thompson triplets, Timber and Canterbury, Hannah and Claude. In the end, the butterfly dies and Alois tries to cremate it, but ends up starting a fire in his room and begs Claude not to go in, fearing that Claude will burn and leave him. The story ends with Alois dreaming of himself trapped in a spider’s web while describing himself as a butterfly without wings.
“The Tale of Will the Shinigami” (OVA, 2011)
William T. Spears and Grell Sutcliff are chosen to train and orient the new recruits. As they tour the offices and dispatches, the two explain the rules of the upcoming exam, the last part of which requires all students to find a partner and pass the dares given to each pair. Only those who complete the exam will be able to become true shinigami.
Examining the candidates, William recalls the time when he himself was a young rookie and how he was ironically paired with Grell for the exam. The two were given a month to track down a novelist named Thomas Wallace and decide whether or not he should die. William and Grell introduce themselves to Thomas as shinigami, however, the young man mistakes them for actors.
Inspired, Thomas then begins to write a fictional novel about the romance between a shinigami and a maiden. Later, they discover that the publication date is the same as the day they must decide if the young man will live or die. Grell disagrees with William about sentencing him to death after seeing how successful his novel could be, while William does not see this as important as it would not contribute significantly to human history.
On the indicated date, Thomas is run over by a cart and William proceeds to collect his soul, after resolving that he must, in fact, die. As he absorbs the cinematic file into his scythe, Thomas fights for his life, causing the cinematic file to flowing into William. Grell saves his partner from being consumed and the two work together to absorb the cinematic. It is then that the two become full-fledged shinigami.
Black Butler, Season 2 (anime, 2010–2011)
Young Alois Tracy enters the action, having made a contract with the demon Claude. Alois for some reason does not like his maid Anna and even gouges out her eye. In the evening, Sebastian arrives at the Tracy estate disguised as a wanderer with a suitcase. He tells Alois that he will show him what’s in the suitcase if he takes him to the basement.
In the basement, Sebastian takes a box of tea when Claude attacks him. It turns out that Ciel is in the suitcase. Sebastian runs away. Ciel and Lizzy are looking for the White Hart. Lau Tao appears with Lan Mao and bets that the bride and groom will quarrel. A flood begins, Elizabeth gets into trouble, Ciel tries to save her, and Sebastian destroys the dam, from which the river returns to its previous course.
Climbing up the hill, Ciel and Lizzy see a White Deer, which turns out to be a huge drawing on the ground. Young girls are burning in London. The Queen instructs Ciel and the Spider to investigate the case. It turns out that the killer is the photographer’s wife, who was jealous of the girls taking pictures with the suitors. The heroes meet Grell, who is supposed to take the killer’s soul, but the woman burns along with her soul.