This is why we have flashbacks: to show us how much we screwed up in the present.
If someone told me that during the fall anime preview that Kuroshitsuji will be an anime filled with moral issues and hard decisions, I would probably scorned at your naivete and stupidity. Yes, I have to eat my words because Kuroshitsuji has proven to mix comedy, action and heavy themes into a very eclectic mix. This episode ends the “Jack the Ripper” arc with a beautiful dirge of sorrow, agony and pain.
Grell continued to flirt with Sebastian, asking to have Sebastian’s babies. He also remonstrated his love for their possible forbidden romance of a shinigami and devil (like Romeo and Juliet). Sebastian was irritated by Grell’s disgusting antics, and tried to assault him. Sebastian explained how he swore his name by the moon. Grell said that promises like that were just a show since Sebastian’s eyes spoke of only destruction and chaos. Grell wished that they could love each other forever, but he said that he had to end it as Grell cut through Sebastian for a dramatic roll. It turned out that the history of Sebastian were redundant scenes of the mansion since that was all Sebastian experienced for the past year.
Grell demanded more interesting flashbacks but Sebastian added that there would be a huge price to pay for it. Sebastian said that he did not want to resort to “this method”, while Grell said that he would end his life this time. It turned out that Sebastian used the sheepskin coat to jam up Grell’s chainsaw. It was clear now that Sebastian had the upper hand. Grell told Sebastian not to hit his face. Obviously, Grell is powerless to the abuse of Sebastian as Sebastian only bashed on Grell’s face. Even after the beating delivered by Sebastian, Grell was still alive. Sebastian was going to use the chainsaw to kill Grell. Sebastian warned Ciel that he would be committing the sin of killing a god (despite being a disgusting god), but Ciel told Sebastian that he hates to repeat himself. Grell begged incessantly for his life, but Sebastian happily denied his plea. Grell also screamed out whether Ciel wanted to know who killed his parents, eliciting a shock gasp from Ciel.
Sebastian was about to land the finishing blow when William T Spears appeared to stop him. Grell appeared relieved, only for William to stomp him repetitively and describing Grell as that thing. William (a high ranked shinigami) came to bring back Grell for punishment in their world after his various crimes. William found it demeaning to ask for grace from a devil, but he was surprised how a “domesticated” devil was more restrained than those wild low beings. Sebastian also tried to reply the insult with a finishing salvo by throwing the chainsaw as a projectile, but William easily stopped the thrown weapon with two fingers. Sebastian apologized to Ciel for his inability to capture the other suspect. Ciel clearly looked drained from the episode. He faltered for a second as Sebastian rushed to support him. However, Ciel flicked Sebastian’s hand away, saying that he was just a little tired and did not need Sebastian’s help.
The next day, Ciel arrived at Madam Red’s church funeral with a red gown. He spoke to her body, saying that her elegance did not fit the pale white dress she was wearing. While he spoke, rose petals flew in from the entrance of the church. We also see scenes of the Phantomhive residents and the dialog between two Scotland Yard officers that this case was something that was beyond their scope of work. Lau talked to Ciel about his opium trade, with Ciel advising him to return to his country before he got caught. Lau said that he still has some business in England, and will be looking forward to meeting Ciel again.
Ciel visited Mary Jane Kelly’s grave, the last victim of the case. She was an immigrant and no one came to pick her corpse. The Undertaker stated that Ciel was kind enough to build a grave for her. Ciel explained that he had many chances to save the woman, but sacrificed her in order to capture “Jack the Ripper.” He knew what was going to happen, but did nothing to save her. The Undertaker asked if Ciel regretted it. Ciel said that he followed the will of Queen Victoria and it was his burden to do such things since he bore the skeleton ring of Phantomhive. The Undertaker grabbed Ciel strongly and wished that Ciel would not be killed by the burden he bore. He did not want Ciel to die so boringly, and he left laughing.
Sebastian asked Ciel why he hesitated to shoot Madam Red when he had a chance to do so. It felt like Ciel was unable to attack Madam Red since she was his relative. Ciel said that he knew that Sebastian would rush over no matter what happens. Sebastian continued to ask why Ciel told him to stop when Madam Red was about to attack him, but Ciel explained that Madam Red hesitated to kill him because she was unable to kill Ciel. Ciel proclaimed he would never hesitate in his actions. Sebastian told him that it was what he wanted to hear, and he would be Ciel’s chess piece to kill everything Ciel ordered. Sebastian stated that he would follow Ciel everywhere he would go, even when the “king” has collapsed.
The episode was very heavy in emotions compared to the more lighthearted banter of the first few episodes. I would never have imagined Kuroshitsuji to have a substantial plot that allows for a very deep character development for the characters. Ciel, for example, is a particularly complex character in this episode. It is clear that he is affected by the death of his aunt, since Madam Red was perhaps the only relative that truly cared for him. Despite his constant annoyance of her appearance, he truly welcomed her in his life.
That is why I wondered whether Ciel truly meant what he said at the end of the episode. I believe that he actually hesitated because his heart knew that the bond of their relationship was too strong for him to overcome his duty as a Phantomhive. This builds on the comment that I made earlier in Episode 5 about the complexity of Ciel as a character. He is cold because he forced himself to be a cold-blooded Earl when he still had the innocence and naivete to believe the people closest to him. If anything, I am pretty sure that he would allow Madam Red to somehow escape if she would survive the encounter. It was perhaps going to be troubling for the author if Madam Red did not actually die.
Yet, I also believe that Ciel’s suffering in this world has made him mentally strong. I did say that he was a child in terms of emotional strength which made me sound like I am contradicting myself. However, being touched by emotions does not mean that you are not mentally strong. You might waver in emotions but will not budge to the will of fate. If he was frail or fearful of his life, he would have shot Madam Red immediately. It’s because he knew that he will not die (due to Sebastian being with him) that he was able to do what he did. Any person who did not have a strong will and had the chance to kill someone to protect oneself would have done so without hesitating. Some say that courage is about killing someone. Here, courage is about believing in your own beliefs so strongly that it changes reality.
Grell’s character is clearly etched as one of the most downright disgusting characters of the anime season. I have hardly found any other character that is more detesting and hated other than that Dicktaro of Skip Beat fame. Yet, Dicktaro is more of annoying while Grell is the type of character that you vomit all your morning food out when he flirts so awfully toward Sebastian. That is why it is a triumph for mankind and Kuroshitsuji fans when he was beaten the shit out of his guts by Sebastian and William.
Might I also ask if William’s seiyuu is Noriaki Sugiyama (Ishida of Bleach)? He seems to be the one voicing William and he captures the haughty yet strong feel of William in the short period of time that William appeared on the screen. If not, please leave a message to tell me who the voice actor is. Anyway, I am a little disappointed that William did not stomp on that retard that much. He was worthy of stomping Grell until the cows come home. That was a scene that I was looking forward from the manga, but the disappointment is mild compared to the impact of the episode.
That said, I applaud A1-pictures for making a very nice adaptation to this point. I have grown to love this series a lot, and I am very sure that it will definitely go from strength to strength. In addition, I would like to part with a few questions that you might choose to discuss.
Do you think that Ciel meant what he said at the end of the episode about never “hesitating”?
Who is your favorite side character introduced in this arc? (Undertaker, Grell, William)
If you are given a choice to punch Grell, would you do it and where will the punch be?
Cheers and have fun!