Yana Toboso is the creator of the well-liked manga and anime series Black Butler, better known as Kuroshitsuji in Japan. The plot centers on the exploits of a young aristocrat named Ciel Phantomhive and his demon butler, Sebastian Michaelis, and is set in Victorian-era England.
The Phantomhive family is a strong and affluent aristocratic family that serves the Queen of England, and Ciel is the head of that family. In order to get revenge on those who killed his parents, Ciel strikes a bargain with Sebastian.
As Ciel’s devoted Butler, Sebastian assists him in navigating the dangerous world of high society while fending off foes and supernatural dangers who want to do him and his family harm. They run across a colorful cast of characters along the road, including more Phantomhive family members, other demons, and a host of otherworldly creatures.
From 2006 until 2020, Black Butler was published in the Square Enix magazine Monthly GFantasy. Black Butler’s anime adaptation was released in Japan in 2008 and has since been released in multiple languages around the world.
The series is well-known for its dark, gothic atmosphere, as well as its themes of death, vengeance, and the occult. It also has a high historical authenticity, including references to real-life Victorian events, persons, and locales.
Black Butler has been adapted into many anime series, OVAs, a film, and a live-action film. The anime series has been dubbed into several languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.
The series has a worldwide following base and has inspired countless fan works, merchandising, and cosplay. It is famous for its distinctive characters, such as the charming and intriguing Sebastian Michaelis, as well as its complicated and intricate narrative, which keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
Top Must-Know Facts Before You Watch
1. Kuroshitsuji Translates To “Dark Butler” In Japanese
“Kuroshitsuji” () is the original Japanese title of the manga and anime series known in English as “Black Butler.” The title combines the terms “Kuro” (), which means “black,” and “Shitsuji,” which means “butler” or “servant.” Yet, the exact translation of “Kuroshitsuji” is “dark butler,” which matches the series’ darker and more mysterious themes.
2. Sebastian Michaelis Is Known For His Catchphrase, “I Am One Hell Of A Butler.”
Sebastian Michaelis, the lead character in the “Black Butler” series, is renowned for his phrase, “I am one hell of a butler.” He frequently uses this remark to demonstrate his abilities and emphasize his confidence in his ability to complete any work handed to him.
This slogan has grown quite popular among series fans, and it has also been used in various memes and parodies.
3. The Series Focuses On Historical Accuracy, With References To Real-life Events
The usage of Victorian clothes and architecture, as well as references to real-life cultural and societal practices of the time, are all true historical details in “Black Butler.” The series is set in an alternative version of Victorian-era England, complete with demons and special powers.
While certain real-life persons and events are mentioned in the series, they are frequently changed or recreated to fit the plot. Furthermore, the series is set in a fictitious version of England, complete with fictitious locales such as the Phantomhive estate and the town of London.
4. Yana Toboso Was Inspired By The Works Of Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, And Oscar Wilde
“Black Butler” author Yana Toboso cites Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Oscar Wilde as some of her key inspirations for the series. She has also stated that the Gothic genre and its emphasis on dark and mysterious themes attracted her, which is obvious in the series’ supernatural aspects and Gothic-inspired style.
5. The Anime Adaptation Of Black Butler Features A Different Ending From The Manga Series, Sparking Controversy
The anime’s first season closely followed the manga, but the second season deviated from the original story and introduced a new plotline. The second season’s finale was also different from the manga’s ending, which puzzled and saddened many fans.
The anime deviated from the manga because the manga was still ongoing when the anime was produced, and the studio in charge of the anime chose to create its own finale rather than wait for the series completion.
6. Yana Toboso Originally Intended Black Butler To Be A One-shot Story, But Its Popularity Led To Its Continuation
The one-shot story, released in 2006, introduced the character of Sebastian Michaelis and established the supernatural and mystery components of the series. The one-shot was favorably appreciated by readers, leading to the manga’s serialization, which began in 2007.
Toboso continued to expand the plotline and characters as the series grew in popularity, ultimately resulting in the release of 30 volumes of the manga. The manga’s success prompted the creation of an anime adaptation, as well as several spin-off manga, novels, and video games.
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7. Grell Sutcliff Is An Exclusive Character In The Anime Adaptation
Grell Sutcliff is a character who appears only in the anime adaptation of Black Butler and does not feature in the manga series. Grell is a Grim Reaper recognized for his outgoing nature and striking red hair.
Grell is usually portrayed wearing a red coat and wielding a chainsaw as a weapon. Grell is also obsessed with Sebastian Michaelis and often expresses his desire to be with him.
8. The Series References The Book “Faust” By Goethe, Which Tells The Story Of A Man Selling His Soul To The Devil
Black Butler has multiple references to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Faust,” a classic German play about a man named Faust who strikes a pact with the devil in return for knowledge and power.
The character of Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler is sometimes likened to Faust, as he, too, strikes a contract with a demon (Sebastian) to pursue revenge and power. Some episodes of the anime adaptation are also titled after chapters from “Faust,” such as “The Great Mirror of the Phantomhive,” a reference to a scene in the play.
9. The Series Has Been Criticized For Portraying Historical Figures As Supernatural Beings
Queen Victoria is portrayed in the series as a strong mage who can influence and manipulate people’s thoughts. This representation has been criticized for being historically wrong and insulting to the real Queen Victoria, a highly regarded and prominent person in British history.
Similarly, the series’ depiction of Jack the Ripper as a demon has been criticized for being insensitive and improper. Many people believe that making Jack the Ripper into a fictitious monster trivializes the real-life horror of his crimes. He was a real-life serial killer who perpetrated a series of horrific killings in London during the late nineteenth century.
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10. A-1 Pictures Produced The Anime Adaptation Of Black Butler
11. Yana Toboso’s Favorite Character Is Grell Sutcliff
Yana Toboso, the author of Black Butler, has revealed in interviews and on social media that Grell Sutcliff, the flamboyant Grim Reaper who is frequently shown wearing a red coat and holding a chainsaw, is her favorite character in the series.
Grell is noted for his lively demeanor, love for Sebastian, and fixation with gathering human souls. Grell, while being a minor character in the series, has a significant fan base due to his/her distinct and engaging attitude.
12. Lau’s Portrayal Of Smoking Opium Has Caused Controversy
The character of Lau in Black Butler is a Chinese mafia leader who is frequently seen in the series consuming opium, which has sparked controversy among some viewers. Opium smoking is a type of drug usage that is widely acknowledged to be hazardous and addictive, and some viewers have voiced worry that Lau’s portrayal may be seen as praising or romanticizing drug use.
13. Yana Toboso’s Series Gradually Became Darker As She Wrote
Yana Toboso, the series creator, has claimed in interviews that she originally planned for the series to be more comic in tone, with an emphasis on Ciel and Sebastian’s relationship and their misadventures in Victorian England.
Nevertheless, as she began to write the series, she found herself drawn to darker and more difficult topics, such as death, vengeance, and power corruption. As a result, the tone of the series progressively shifted towards the serious and dramatic, with a stronger emphasis on character development and social commentary.
Despite this shift in tone, Black Butler has maintained a strong sense of humor throughout its run, with many comedic moments and witty one-liners. This balance of humor and drama is one of the series’ defining features and has contributed to its enduring popularity among fans.
14. The Series Has Been Parodied In Various Media And Anime
Black Butler has been parodied in a variety of media, including other anime and manga series, video games, and fan works. The anime series “Gintama,” which regularly parodies various anime and manga series, notably Black Butler, is one example of a parody. In one episode, the Gintama characters dress up as Black Butler characters and take part in a spoof of the series.
A Black Butler-themed event was also incorporated into the video game “Elsword,” in which players could obtain special clothes and weapons based on characters from the series. Moreover, Black Butler has been referenced and parodied throughout a number of fan works, including fan fiction, fan art, and cosplay.
Fans have come up with their own comedic interpretations of the characters and tale, frequently combining aspects from other media or popular culture. Because of its popularity and unique combination of humor and drama, Black Butler has been a favorite subject for parody and tribute in numerous media.
15. Elizabeth Midford Is Based On Queen Victoria’s Granddaughter
The character of Elizabeth Midford in Black Butler is based on the historical figure Princess Elizabeth of Hesse and Rhine, who was Queen Victoria of England’s granddaughter.
Princess Elizabeth, like her fictional counterpart, was recognized for her beauty, charm, and bright demeanor. She was also engaged to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, but their relationship was cut short because he was assassinated in 1905.
Yana Toboso, the creator of Black Butler, has indicated in interviews that the character of Elizabeth Midford was inspired by Princess Elizabeth’s life and temperament. While the fictitious Elizabeth has her own distinct characteristics and plotlines, her basic look and demeanor are based on the real princess.
16. Sebastian Speaks A Unique Dialect That Is Difficult To Translate Into Other Languages
Sebastian’s dialect is regarded as “respectful and polished Japanese” or “Keigo” in Japanese. It is a highly professional and courteous style of Japanese that is typically used in official contexts or when communicating with superiors or clients.
Sebastian’s usage of Keigo, on the other hand, is often exaggerated and highly stylized, representing his character’s aristocratic background and extremely polished disposition. Because the grammatical structures and terminology utilized in Keigo are not always completely translatable, it can be difficult to correctly represent the nuances and subtleties of his speech in other languages.
Because of this, many translators and voice actors have had to get creative to properly represent Sebastian’s distinctive speech patterns and mannerisms in their native tongues. They frequently choose alternative strategies like using archaic or extremely formal language or incorporating theatricality and performance into their delivery.
17. Ronald Knox Is Named After The British Theologian And Author Who Translated The Bible
Ronald Knox, a Grim Reaper friend of Grell’s, is named after the British theologian and author Ronald Knox, who is best known for his Bible translations and work as a writer and lecturer in the 20th century.
The creator of Black Butler, Yana Toboso, has credited Knox as an influence on her writing, notably his interest in detective fiction and his ability to mix serious theological inquiry with a sense of comedy and wit.
In the series, Ronald Knox is portrayed as a talented and committed Grim Reaper who takes his work seriously, but he also has a unique and irreverent sense of humor that endears him to his fellow reapers and viewers of the series equally.
18. Pluto Is Named After The Roman God Of The Underworld
Pluto is a demon dog who belongs to the Phantomhive household in the Black Butler series. He is named after the Roman underworld deity, who was also known as the god of wealth.
Pluto’s name is appropriate because he is passionately loyal to the Phantomhive family and would go to any length to defend them. Pluto, despite his intimidating look, is shown to have a fun and caring attitude, making him a cherished character among series fans.
19. Soma Asman Kadar Is The Prince Of Bengal, A Historical Region In South Asia
Soma Asman Kadar, prince of Bengal, is a recurrent character in the Black Butler manga and anime series, and he is represented as the youthful and inexperienced prince of Bengal. Bengal is a historical territory in South Asia that includes portions of Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Soma is started as a rather lighthearted and carefree figure, but as he learns to handle the problems of managing his kingdom, he progressively becomes more serious and responsible.
20. Angela Blanc Was Inspired By Joan Of Arc
Angela Blanc was inspired by the historical figure Joan of Arc. Angela Blanc de la Vallière’s entire name is a reference to Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière, a character from the light novel and anime series “The Familiar of Zero.”
21. The Phantomhive Mansion Was Inspired By Wollaton Hall
In an interview, Black Butler creator Yana Toboso revealed that the architecture of the Phantomhive mansion was inspired by Wollaton Hall, a stately home in Nottingham, England. She went to the hall to research the series and was blown away by its grandeur and beauty.
22. Sebastian Michaelis Is A Lover Of Sweets
Sebastian Michaelis is renowned for his amazing cooking talents and is frequently seen eating desserts. During the series, he is seen baking and preparing pastries for Ciel Phantomhive, his master, and the other characters.
23. Sebastian’s Teapot Has The Face Of The Cheshire Cat From “Alice In Wonderland.”
In episode 10 of the anime, Sebastian is preparing tea for Ciel, and he is using a teapot patterned after the Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland.” This is only one of the numerous references to classical literature and culture found throughout the series.
24. Ciel And Sebastian Attend A Party With Guests Named After Famous Historical Figures
Ciel and Sebastian attend a party in manga chapter 48. The visitors to the party are named after historical figures such as Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Queen Victoria.
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25. Yana Toboso Originally Intended Ciel To Be A Girl
Yana Toboso stated in an interview with Yen Press that she originally intended Ciel to be a girl but later concluded to alter the character’s gender to male.
Toboso explained that she made the alteration because she thought it would be more fascinating to have a male protagonist in a Victorian-era setting dominated by male characters. Toboso was able to explore themes of gender and power dynamics in the series by making Ciel a boy.
26. Black Butler Has Been Adapted Into Video Games
Many video games based on the manga series have been released, including “Black Butler: Phantom & Ghost” and “Black Butler: Book of Circus.”
Besides them, there are also “Black Butler: The Game” and “Black Butler: Kiyoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku,” among others. The games often let players take on the roles of Ciel and/or Sebastian while exploring the world of Black Butler and interacting with other characters from the series.