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Black Butler - Tropes A to B

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    Tropes A 
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The table knives Sebastian uses as weapons.
    • Claude's knives in the second season apply as well.
    • The Death Scythes wielded by the reapers are repeatedly said to be able to cut anything. Well, aside from each other, of course.
  • Action Girl: Elizabeth Middleford, surprisingly.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Subverted with Agni's death. Chapter 126 gives us a lot of information about Soma's character and ends with an assassination attempt, making it look like this trope will apply to Soma. Then Agni dies while saving Soma's life.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Ciel. A very bitter, very driven one. But before his bitterness, he was just so damn cute! Differs slightly from the norm in that the only people who treat him as adorable are the ones who don't know him very well.
  • Adorkable: Arthur from the murder mystery arc.
    • Grell in butler form counts as well.
    • Finnian.
    • And, for a rare female example, Maylene.
    • As of Chapter 91, Sieglinde may also qualify.
  • Aerith and Bob: People with names like " Sutcliff", "Aleister Chamber", and "Ciel Phantomhive" are sharing screentime with names like "Jim Macken", "Charles Grey", and "William T. Spears".
  • Affably Evil: It's easy to forget that Sebastian is, in fact, a soul-devouring demon.
  • Agent Peacock: Sebastian wears Combat Stilettos in his demon form, and Ciel is quite the dandy; both are badasses of the first order.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Most of the villains are worse than Ciel.
  • Alpha Bitch: Despite being male, this is the only way to describe Maurice Cole.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Hilariously played for Sieglinde Sullivan in the Werewolf's Forest arc. Because her village is inhabited by women (and the only man is more of a guard dog), when Ciel and Sebastian spend the night in her castle, in order to be friendly with them, she was willing to give herself to them because of all the books she read about men being lustful creatures. Made even more awkward because Ciel can barely understand German, creating a Aren't You Going to Ravish Me? scene.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: See Shown Their Work below. The Anachronism Stew gets limited to Early Installment Weirdness and the anime.
  • Amazon Chaser: The Marchioness of Midford (Elizabeth's mother) met her husband after beating him in a fencing duel.
  • Anachronism Stew: Quite a few examples, however whether intentional or not is unclear. In general, examples from the anime and the early chapters of the manga are mistakes, but most of the examples from later chapters of the manga are deliberate. In the latter case, there's usually a mystery to be solved about how and why these advancements came to be in the 1880's. In the manga, it's been confirmed that demons and "other beings" can and do provide their contractors with advanced technology, justifying several examples.
    • What are The Mafia, dressed in modern clothing, doing in Victorian England? Not to mention cell phones. (The anime, at least, attempted to retrograde their tech somewhat.)
      • The Mafia uses a model that of car that only appeared few decades later (for comparison 1886, Benz built first modern car and car is still for rich folks until T-Model in 1908) and "Wireless Car Telephone" in 1889.
    • There's also the television and video games. In Victorian England.
    • Sebastian appears to wear latex gloves when he works in the kitchen.
    • Let's not forget about a certain shinigami using a chainsaw, the cook using flame throwers, or the modern washing machine in the Phantomhive Manor. In the manga, only shinigami have out-of-place artifacts (for instance, the "strange watch" and odd glasses of one guy from chapter 52).
    • Ciel's pierced ears were extremely uncommon for the nobility back then. His father had them as well.
    • In the anime, the clothing isn't modest enough. Both Victorian and Edwardian fashions were very modest; exposed legs and cleavage would have been obscene. Mey-Rin's bathing suit would have been scandalous and the animators gave up even trying with the ladies' costume party and Ciel in Wonderland costumes. Also, Elizabeth's fashion sense sometimes sinks into 18th-century territory.
      • Although the outfits in the Ciel in Wonderland OVA might be explained by the fact that the entire thing is a thirteen-year-old boy's dream...
    • Servant-Master relationships were plenty different. Rule of Funny and Cool aside, a mansion the size of Phantomhive Manor would have needed at least ten more servants just to keep it clean; keeping one maid and one gardener would be a dead giveaway. Hell, having the servants interact with Ciel and his guests regularly would be unheard of. In contrast, Alois' treatment of Hannah, while far crueler than most employees, is still more believable in contrast.
    • The German women living in the forest's village wear clothes from centuries ago.
      • Lampshaded by Ciel and justified, as it serves to highlight just how secluded the village is.
      • Justified by the village is one big masquerade for biologic weapon/virus.
      • Female officers and soldiers in Bundesheer in 1889? Tank (first used by British in 1918)? Super Soldier, anyone?
      • Justified with the tanks, as they are important specifically because the technology is 30-60 years ahead of its time, and get treated as a top-secret military weapon of unparalleled power. The same goes for the gas Sullivan creates.
    • The Phantom Five wear clothes that fuse Lolita Fashion and Punk Rock together, with a touch of Victorian England. Partially justified, as Ciel's tailor has shown interest in adapting these styles for men before and they're trying to create something new and exciting.
    • The medical knowledge and technology Bravat uses is (probably) a justified example, as it's been all but confirmed he's made a deal with a supernatural force to gain these things.
  • Animated Actors: In the third OVA, "The Making of Black Butler II", we're given a special behind-the-scenes look with bloopers and interviews provided by Ciel, Sebastian, and the rest of the "cast and crew".
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: By far more prevalent in the anime than in the manga, though both have their moments.
    • In the anime, Ciel is unwilling to believe in the myth of the white stag, despite having a demon butler, met grim reapers, and plenty of other magic by this point.
    • In the anime Bard is skeptical of a camera that can show a person's hearts desire, despite knowing full well that he's living with a hell hound.
    • Ciel in the manga mostly averts this by asking Sebastian directly what is and isn't a myth, though at one point he says he believes that the witch-hunts of old times were just tragedies when innocent women were persecuted under false circumstances. He does then admit that this is just his personal belief, and listens carefully to Sebastian's opinion on the subject.
    • Likewise, Sebastian of the manga says that "he's never met or heard of a real werewolf" note  and doesn't believe that the ones encountered in the forest are real werewolves
    • Humorously Averted with Sullivan. When Sebastian explains that Ciel was set up to be a Human Sacrifice in a Demonic Summoning Ritual, Sullivan shouts how ridiculous that is. Sebastian tries to tell her that demonic summoning is possible, but she interrupts him by saying that a failed summoning would cause the casters to be cursed by the demon.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Zigzagged. A lot of the opponents that Ciel and Sebastian face are aristocratic, but there are many others who are decent souls.
    • Ciel himself arguably counts, as a Creepy Child noble who has made a Deal with the Devil.
    • Agni's backstory is that he used to be a Brahmin (see Hinduism—basically, they're the most important members of the caste system in traditional Indian culture) but became a notorious bandit and "monster" in disgust at his father's corruption, though he was reformed after being claimed by Prince Soma as his butler.
  • Arranged Marriage: Ciel is only 12 years old, yet he is already engaged to his cousin Elizabeth.
  • Art Evolution
  • Artistic License – Geography: A rare instance, given the tendency to Shown Their Work. In both the "manga" and "anime" versions, there are maps that are somewhat... unconventional in their depiction of late-Victorian era Europe. Doubles as Anachronism Stew. More specifically:
    • A cursory look at the manga version would give off the feeling that the map is post-1990, as Germany is in in its significantly reduced, current territory note  note , far from the late 1800s that the story is set in. A more careful look reveals the Irish Free State, driving this into even more Critical Research Failure as the Irish Free State existed 1922-1937, before Ireland left the Commonwealth.
    • The anime version is somehow worse in this regard. The Russian Federation is shown, as is the Czech Republic note , a (!) united Ireland, not to mention Estonia and Latvia collectively being placed more southward than they ought to be. It's a hot mess that defies time-placement.
  • Audience Participation: The Phantomhive 5 do this in-universe, as part of their charm.
  • Author Appeal: Understandable, considering the author was once a Yaoi Hentai mangaka, but:
    • Nearly every single male character being an outright Bishounen.
    • Yana Toboso also has a thing for suave, gentlemanly characters, as seen by Sebastian, Claude (sort of), Aleister Chamber, and various other characters in this and Toboso's other works.
    • We can assume she likes 'em young too, considering all the fanservice. (That last one isn't even the first time he's been threatened with sexual assault, it's just the most graphic.)
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Besides the, ahem, assistance from Sebastian and Lau, the Blue House manages to win the cricket match with hard work and a strategy that plays to their unique strengths.

    Tropes B 
  • Back from the Dead: The goal of the Phoenix Society, a group of medical professionals. Their debut attempt... isn't going very well.
  • Badass Adorable/Cute Bruiser: Elizabeth Midford. This sweet Damsel in Distress reveals herself as such in Chapter 57 and confesses that she desperately wanted for her fiancé Ciel to not see her "uncute" side and thus deliberately hid her badass side up until then. Even nearly at the cost of her own life. Only shortly after Ciel berates her for such behavior (Prioritizing lady-manners over survival) when she is about to die while Ciel who, despite his best efforts, ends up injured and unable to save her and is in danger, Elizabeth spontaneously leaps into action and stabs down the zombies using swords in both hands, while tearfully declaring that she'll protect him.
  • Badass Family: The entire Middleford family. Including Elizabeth.
  • Badass Normal: Agni, Prince Soma's Battle Butler. He managed to fight Sebastian, a demon who had been ordered to win (and a direct order basically turns his Power Limiter off), to a mutual draw. Despite being human. Even Sebastian notes he's an incredible specimen for a human.
  • Bandaged Face: Baron Kelvin. Also Hannah in the second season of the anime, to cover the eye that Alois gouged out.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Sebastian does this against a chainsaw. He's one hell of a butler, all right.
    • Hannah pulls it off as well.
    • Ciel also performs one against Alois.
  • Battle Butler: Sebastian, of course. Also the Shinigami. And Agni. Also:
    • Mey-Rin the Cold Sniper Ninja Maid who is able to use pistols as sniper rifles while leaping from rooftop to rooftop.
    • Finnian, who is strong enough to throw statues across the room.
    • Tanaka, who is an excellent practitioner of the martial art baritsu.
    • Bard, who, in addition to having a Gatling gun in his kitchen, effectively blew up a building by igniting a large, highly concentrated cloud of very fine flour, which, amusingly enough, is actually Truth in Television. Flour explosions completely destroyed one of the largest mills in the USA at one point.
    • And in the anime's second season, Claude Faustus of the Trancy Manor. And the Triplets. And even Hannah.
    • There's also the Queen's butler, Charles Grey, who was the true murderer in the murder mystery arc of the manga. The rest of her butlers probably also apply, though they haven't actually been seen in action yet.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Ciel, though subverted in that everyone seems to like watching him sleep, so this trope can be taken in a non-romantic way.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Lampshaded with the Phantomhive family. To quote Ciel's Stalker with a Crush, Baron Kelvin:
    "White porcelain skin like a bisque doll, beautiful hair, big eyes like diamonds, a youthful body. I will become something else. It doesn't matter if my ugly wife leaves me. I will be beautiful with a beautiful life. I will be suitable for him."
  • Because Destiny Says So: In the manga, Ciel's goal is to torture and kill the people who killed his parents, though, once this goal is complete, it is an almost certain and inescapable fate that Sebastian will eat his soul. In the anime, this is averted, as Ciel becomes a demon and Sebastian is unable to take his soul.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: This is pretty much the sole reason why Finnian, Bardroy and Mei-Rin are so loyal to the Phantomhive household. Finnian was an escaped test subject who had gained Super Strength. It is heavily implied that he underwent forced injections and being experimented on, and had to see how every other test subject was killed after the scientist declared the experiment as 'failed'. The Phantomhive household were quite possibly the first sign of the outside world he saw, and when Ciel took him in, he gave him a name and from that moment on, Finnian declared his life to them. The pasts of Bardroy and Mei-Rin are a lot more obscure, although it is implied that Mei-Rin was rejected because of her clumsiness, and that she is more than happy to stay at the mansion. Snake was part of a circus group that secretly took and sacrificed children for Lord Kelvin, and he is the only one who lived at the end. Even before that happened, he was rejected by society due to being part snake.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Ciel, depending on how much you consider him "evil".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: From the gentle and kindhearted gardener with superhuman strength to Queen Victorian, the prim and proper grandmother who casually orders assassinations and frames Ciel for murder as a test, the reader should assume that everyone has hidden superpowers or is a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Big Damn Heroes: If this doesn't describe Greenhill and Edward in chapter 71, nothing does. The two of them kick down the door, Greenhill single-handedly beats the shit out of all the goons holding Ciel in one blow, while Edward does what any sane person would do when rescuing someone and checks to make sure Ciel is alright.
  • Big Fancy House: The Phantomhive manor definitely qualifies, as well as Alois's mansion in the second season.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Sebastian has this as a possible superpower.
    • As does Finny.
  • Bishōnen: Ciel and Sebastian are the most obvious. There's also... pretty much a good majority of the male cast, save for Baron Kelvin, Georg von Siemens, Jumbo, Lord Arthur Randall, Azzurro Vanel, Fred Abberline, Tanaka, Damian, and Doctor. So basically, any male character under the age of forty-five.
    • The random guy who tortures Sebastian in Episode 20 is also an (extremely) notable exception.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The protagonist is a 12/13 year-old boy who, at the age of 10, saw both parents murdered; he was subsequently abducted, tortured, and then almost used as a sacrifice in a Satanic ritual. The next most sympathetic group of characters are four seventeen-year-old school boys who accidentally murdered six people for bullying—because one of the boys lost his temper—then turned the corpses into zombies to hide their crime, all the while fully convinced they had done it in the name of justice. While there are a number of "white" characters in the series, they are largely unaware of the kind of work that Phantomhive is involved with.
    • Actually, Ciel was successfully sacrificed, not almost - that's how he and Sebastian were even able to make a contract with each other in the first place.
    • This moral ambiguity is somewhat subverted in the anime, wherein Ciel is much more cynical and less sympathetic as a character than his manga counterpart.
    • Even the staff, who are best recognized as the cheerful Plucky Comic Relief characters, are all willing to murder in cold blood and clearly desensitized to it.
  • Black Comedy
  • Blind Without 'Em:
    • Mey-Rin has a particularly bad case of farsightedness. While this makes her an excellent sniper, to the point where a previous employer said her "amazing eyes" made it the only thing she was good for, she is clumsy and generally incompetent as a maid.
    • All of the Shinigami are stated to be Blind Without 'Em.
  • Boarding School: Weston College. Complete with pranks, hazing, school houses, school sports, a spoiled student who went too far, Ciel posing as a perfect and kind student, "fagging", and one minor antagonist abusing the Situational Sexuality.
  • Body Horror: "The werewolf's curse" or, rather, chemical weapon invented by the villagers and (unwittingly) Siegliende has this effect. The victim's face swells to multiple times its size and the skin looks like if it's melted.
  • Boyband: The villain of the Blue Cult arc uses one to draw people into his cult, using the P4 from the Public School arc as members. Ciel then funds a Boyband of his own composed of Soma and the P4's former fags to draw people away (with at least two members aware of the true reasons for this band).
    • Ciel's group takes it a step farther by including a form of the Five-Man Band by assigning each member a "character" (or in Cheslocks case, having him be his unique self). We have:
    • Edward as The Heartthrob
    • Joanne as The Cute One
    • Cheslock as The Rebel
    • Clayton as The Smart One
    • Soma is sort of The Older Brother, but Ciel and Sebastian haven't yet figured out all the tropes and instead cast him as The Ice Prince.
  • Brains and Brawn: Subverted with Sebastian and Ciel. Although Sebastian is smart like Ciel, he is the one who fights against their enemies while Ciel is usually played as The Chessmaster.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Kuroshitsuji II, Grell addresses the audience directly, looking forward to letters of encouragement.
    • The 3rd OVA from Kuroshitsuji II breaks it down completely. It's a documentary style episode where the characters are treated as actors in 2010 and talk about everything from their roles and behind the scenes to the filming process (complete with a green screen when they were practicing the Sebastian/Claude fight). There's even a scene that takes place at A-1 Pictures' own CG department.
    • Yet another is the end of the 4th chapter in the manga. As Sebastian goes to answer Ciel's call, he opens the door, then looks back at the reader, puts a finger to his lips, and goes "Shh—".
  • Break the Cutie: Ciel, and in the anime's second season, Alois.
    • There's a few other characters too, such as Freckles/Doll from the circus arc. And, most recently, Siegliende.
  • Breather Episode: The short Easter arc of the manga. It comes immediately after the conclusion of the Campania arc, which was incredibly tense, drawn-out and drama-filled, and almost seems designed to be exactly this after the ordeal of zombies, Elizabeth revealing herself to be Little Miss Badass, and Sebastian being mortally wounded to the point where he can barely stand up and still managing to beat up on a rookie shinigami and a horde of "bizarre dolls". Let's face it, we all needed a fluff chapter by this point.
  • Bridal Carry: Sebastian's preferred method of toting Ciel around.
  • Broken Ace: Ciel.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Bard, Mey-Rin, and Finny, because of their other jobs. as well, in the case of the shinigami.
  • The Bus Came Back: The P4 return in the Blue Cult arc as the Boyband "Shinista" being exploited to lure people into the titular cult. Not long after their fags return as the "Phantom Five" Boyband Ciel forms to combat Shinista.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Chaos Theory is mentioned when Ciel and Sebastian explain to Wordsmith why Siemens was killed and another guy was framed (basically they would've helped their respective countries become so powerful they'd overwhelm England).


Example of: