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Black Butler - Tropes C to D

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  • Call-Back: In Chapter 10, Grell says that Madame Red is "a boring woman" right before killing her, and in chapter 94 Sebastian says that Ciel's death was utterly boring. Hm...
  • Came Back Wrong/Our Zombies Are Different: Maggy, courtesy of Dr. Stoker.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Madame Red. We never get to hear the joke but the cast's reactions range from blank stares to confusion. Lau as well in the same scene.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Characters are easily distinguishable because no one looks exactly alike and ages can become extremely varied (especially in the circus and murder mystery arcs). And, what's more is that most of the characters have very detailed clothes (save the queen's three right-hand servants who all wear the same uniform); most notably Ciel who changes clothing every chapter.
  • Catchphrase: Sebastian's favorite phrase, "I am a butler through and through" is a play on words in Japanese and can also mean "I am a butler and a demon". This is rendered as "I am one hell of a butler" in the subtitles and the dub. Also "Yes, my lord."
    • The Yen Press manga translation turns Sebastian's twin phrases into "I am merely a butler" and "I am a devil of a butler'' respectively.
    • Also "It is only natural that a servant of Phantomhive would be able to (do whatever impossible thing he just did)." Frequently overlooked because the subtitles translate it differently every damn time, but repeated often enough that Ciel eventually cuts him off when tries to say it.
      • Changed even further in the Funimation subs for the second season. It's now "A Phantomhive butler who can't (do whatever impossible thing he just did) isn't worth his salt."
      • "It is only natural that a servant of Phantomhive would be able to (do X)", appears to be a catchphrase for Ciel's servants as a whole.
      • "I am the butler of the Phantomhive family. It goes without saying that such minor feats are within my repetoire/that I can handle something like this/etc."
      • "If I couldn't do this much at LEAST, well then what kind of butler would I be?"
    • Ciel seems to yell "Listen when others are talking/to what others are saying!!" Quite often. Usually to Lizzy or Lau.
  • Chainsaw Good: Wielded by Grelle. Yes, in Victorian England.
  • Character Development: Mostly in the manga, not so much in the anime.
    • All of the servants slowly become more competent; although Sebastian still doesn't let them handle anything important, he spends far less time cleaning up after their messes and all of them are shown competently helping out at the Green Witch Manor.
    • Ciel gets walked through some development by Sebastian, who teases him for not doing enough for himself repeatedly until Ciel begins thinking up solutions to his own problems that don't involve demons being invincible and putting more personal effort into his work. He's still relying on Sebastian heavily, but you get the feeling that if he was left on his own he'd be able to get by at least.
      • Ciel also begins appreciating Sebastian and the servants a little bit, thanking them and caring about their opinions of him.
    • Once Lizzy knows that Ciel doesn't think her "unfeminine" for being strong, she begins thinking on her own a little more, realizing that something is wrong with Ciel and defecting to the Blue Cult for unknown reasons, but of her own free will.
    • In both the anime and the manga, Soma is well-meaning but pretty self-centered when he comes to England, showing concern for others and for justice but rarely thinking about how others feel. After Sebastian and Ciel point this out to him he starts working on this and becomes easier to get along with as he gets more considerate. In the manga he later gets more character depth by revealing that he's known all along what kind of person Ciel is, and has good reasons to keep being his "friend."
  • Chef of Iron: Baldroy.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Apart from the various examples listed below, two arcs have Chekhovs Armouries limited to their plots.
    • Fitting for the category, the Manor Murder Case arc has one that's specifically limited to the mystery of the arc. Full list:
      • Sebastian’s corpse being wet.
      • Sebastian not defending Ciel when the latter is accused of murder.
      • The last thing Ciel says to Sebastian before going to bed.
      • Ciel suddenly having a favorite pillow that was never mentioned before.
      • The fact that the audience doesn’t get to see or hear what was written on the piece of paper Jeremy handed to Ciel.
      • The audience seeing every corpse while Jeremy inspects them except for Sebastian’s.
      • Even Jeremy taking his time going up the stairs.
      • From a visual standpoint, there are lots of shots of Earl Grey’s eyes.
      • A lot of Earl Grey's facial expressions, especially when something shocking or dramatic happens, don't quite match up with what one would expect in the current situation.
      • The newspaper Ciel is reading at the very beginning of the arc, if you're reading in English. note 
      • Earl Grey asking to play a part in Ciel’s upcoming mission.
      • The red elixir Irene Diaz has is actually a Red Herring.
    • A different set of examples would be in the Blue Cult arc. Almost every single element Ciel uses to make his "Phantomhive Five" band a huge success is something that was mentioned in prior arcs.
      • Tin-can telephones from Chapter 71 are turned into loudspeaker systems.
      • Each and every element of the S4's performance that was particularly impressive is adopted and improved upon.
      • Sebastian's established knowledge of human psychology is used to create an ideal "personality" for each performer. Likewise this is similar to Ciel's method of acting where he adopts a specific role and plays it out.
      • Chekhov's Skill: Sebastian's skills as a teacher come back when he trains the P5 to be expert singers, actors and dancers in record time. His ability to rebuild a house in seconds (last seen in the Whole Episode Flashback chapters) is also used to get their music hall ready quickly enough that Bravat can't see it coming.
      • Ciel's economic savvy from Chapter 91 about celebrity merchandising is used to create a souvenir system that both makes money and attracts audience involvement.
      • The performers Ciel chose count as Chekhovs Gunmen, since all of them (except Soma) were the P4's Fags in the school arc.
      • Even the glowsticks came from the benign, luminescent chemicals Sullivan used to draw glowing "runes" in the Green witch arc (Chapter 93 shows them well). It's a harder example to note than most, because the black-and-white drawing style make it hard to tell that her writing is supposed to be glowing and most readers probably don't know that calcite (the material Sebastian identifies in the wand) can glow under the right conditions.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Three examples:
    • First, there’s an early mention that Aleister Chamber is involved with black magic groups, which overlaps with Chekhov's Hobby. Later on, he turns out to be part of the Phoenix Society and tries to use the Bizarre Dolls for his own purposes. In the next arc, his connections to the Phoenix Society allow his nephew, Edgar Redmond, to contact the Undertaker.
    • During the School Arc, the elephant that Soma rides into school on also becomes important twice—yet it still manages to be hilarious every time it shows up. First, it gets spooked and destroys Maurice Cole’s room, forcing him to share with Soma and giving Soma the chance to catch him sending notes to his underlings and get photos of his real face. Then, Sebastian uses it to transport water during the fire.
    • The paintings in Chapter 71 are plot-relevant to the scene they're introduced in, then the same technique is used again in Chapter 122 on a much larger scale to create primitive microphones.
  • Chekhov's Gag: We never see Undertaker’s eyes. It looks like a character quirk, but in both the anime and the manga this is to hide something.
    • In the second episode/third chapter, Finny picks up a large stone statue and easily tosses it around in an attempt to crush a mouse. It’s played for comedy, as part of the servants goofy antics. Later on in both the anime and the manga, we learn that Finny has super-strength, and is a formidable opponent in battle.
    • Whenever Bard blows up the kitchen, it’s played for comedic value. Except when there are two intruders are trapped inside, and we learn that Bard's combat specialty is explosives.
    • Meirin's clumsy-ness is said to come from her poor eyesight, because she's so ungodly farsighted she has trouble seeing anything close enough to touch. Her unique vision makes her a great sniper.
    • Vice-Principal Agares being clumsy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A very specific tactic is used in the Murder Mystery arc, of having two people wear another person's clothes in order to mislead animals who track by scent, thus leading the tracker exactly where you want it to go and hiding the actual target. This gets used again, only when running from dogs instead of snakes. Which explains that fancy and large cloak Ciel wears when going to see Sullivan in Chapter 97.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Although he serves a purpose before the reveal, you wouldn’t have guessed Undertaker to be so plot-central. The same applies to Grell before her reveal.
    • Snake wanders off at the end of the circus arc. He is responsible for one of the deaths in the Murder Mystery arc, and eventually becomes a secondary character.
    • See Chekhov's Boomerang for Aleister Chamber.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: We’re informed that Ciel keeps a hidden gun on him at all times early on in the manga, but since Sebastian does all of the fighting it’s easy for readers to forget this. Eventually, he gets to shoot someone.
    • It gets mentioned in Madame Red’s memories that her sister has asthma. Turns out, Ciel has the same condition.
    • Again, see Chekhov's Boomerang for Aleister Chamber's referenced connection to black magic societies.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Ciel, and in some cases, Sebastian. Also, most noticeably, Undertaker.
  • The Chessmaster: Ciel is definitely the main chess-master, but there are so many others in the series, especially Sebastian, Madame Red, and Angela/Ash.
  • Chess Motifs: Chess imagery is used frequently, especially in the last few episodes.
  • Child Prodigy: Elizabeth has The Gift for swordplay, being regarded as a fencing genius by her peers in a flashback. She's kept this from Ciel due to a fear when they were much younger that Ciel wouldn't like her anymore if he knew about her talent.
    • Siegliende could easily read at the age of three. She could also fully understand complicated chemical formulas for a production of a deadly gas. And somehow unwillingly, make it even more deadly.
  • Children Are a Waste: A prostitute goes to a doctor to get an abortion with this as her reason. That doctor had lost her ability to have children thanks to an accident that killed her husband and nearly her as well. This was the last straw before she snapped and became Jack the Ripper.
  • Chinese People: Lau, who as of manga chapter 16, doubles as a pretty freeloader.
  • Circus of Fear: An entire arc.
  • Co-Dragons: The queen's butlers seem to apply at certain times.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Weston prefects: Redmond of Scarlet Fox House, Greenhill of Green Lion House, Bluer of Sapphire Owl House, and Violet of Violet Wolf House.
    • Grell possesses red attire, red hair, red bloodlust, and a passionate red attitude.
  • Combat Stilettos: Manlied up by Sebastian. It's not often you see a grown man murdering people in these.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: If you pay careful attention, you notice Yana Toboso Inverts this trope this all the time by shading characters and object at important moments. The only time this gets pointed out in-story is when it’s used to show that Sebastian’s demon-senses are picking up something strange from Johann Agares.note 
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Ciel, of the Villain Protagonist variety. From the anime, Alois may also apply.
  • Cooking Duel: The curry contest in the Indian Butler arc. Queen Victoria has the final word on it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Charles Phipps.
  • Creepy Child: Ciel seems to fit this trope. He's a cynical, jaded, and very driven 12-year-old (or 13, depending on how far you are in the series) who is a Chess Master and wise beyond his years. He has no qualms about getting involved in dangerous missions and will command his badass butler Sebastian to kill someone without a second thought. Then again, there's a reason why he is the way he is now.
    • Alois as well. And Luca.
  • Creepy Crows: Sebastian is shown as either a raven or a crow in the anime's prelude, and is often shown with the black Corvid feathers around him, even in the manga.
  • Creepy Mortician: The Undertaker. Need we say more?
  • Crimefighting with Cash: As Ciel starts relying on Sebastian less and his own intelligence more, he begins doing this.
  • Crossdresser: Ciel wasn't pleased with this plan.
    • In the OVA the Undertaker is very enthusiastic about wearing dresses for the Phantomhive production of Hamlet.
    • Alois also crossdresses in episode 5 of season 2.
    • Alan and Abberline also wear dresses for a scene in the second musical. Of course, Abberline didn't shave first, so it ends up looking especially creepy.
    • Joanne and Cheslock both wear skirts in their "Phantom Five" costumes.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Undertaker, an eccentric gray-haired man who trades murder details for jokes and has some...odd turn-ons, is really the most legendary of the Shinigami in the anime.
    • In the manga, Undertaker is also a badass shinigami, but of a crueler variety.
    • It's easy to forget that Grell started off as a highly incompetent butler to Madam Red who could not do anything right... before revealing the shinigami and Ax-Crazy/Chainsaw Good sides hidden beneath the butler act.
    • Also, the clumsy maid is actually quite the sharpshooter.
    • All the incompetent household staff, really. No wonder he keeps them around.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Chapter 61, Undertaker manages to easily do this to Grell, Ronald, and Sebastian without breaking a sweat. Wow.

  • Dances and Balls: Ciel, being an aristocrat, attends a handful of these. One of the more memorable ones was when he had to crossdress while doing it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: A good portion of the entire cast; most notably Ciel, Alois, and the circus crew.
    • Hinted at with Green Lion House prefect Greenhill, who needed two other prefects to be with him because there was a chance he'd have to use violence. It turns out to be second-degree murder, which he regrets, but believes that he had no choice.
    • As of Chapter 105, all the reapers have a Dark and Troubled Past as they were all humans who were Driven to Suicide.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Happened to Ciel. Subverted in the manga, as he hasn't slipped any farther than he was willing to go when he made the contract- his standards are just that low. He remembers every innocent person who died because of him and feels guilt, but refuses to let that deter him.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Agni.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ciel.
  • Deal with the Devil: While Sebastian has a morbid sense of humor that he only shows to his enemies and Ciel, he has been rather honorable and faithful to even the spirit of his side of the bargain.
    • Sieglinde's ancestor trade her legs to the werewolf in exchange of protection to her and her fellow witches, causing to her descendants to be unable to walk. With time, the Green witch's blood has thinned and the village is in fear that it may start attacking them if they go into the woods. However, it was all a lie told to Siegliende to pressure her into finishing the formula for a stable chemical weapon. And the one who orchestrated everything was Siegliende's own mother.
  • Death and the Maiden: In the OVA "The Tales of Will the Grim Reaper", aspiring writer Thomas Wallis is inspired by William T. Spears to write a novel with this very premise.
  • Death by Origin Story: Ciel's parents.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Ciel's parents, of course.
  • Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Elizabeth Midford. She wanted to remain cute in front of Ciel even at the risk of her own life. Only shortly after their conversation about her prioritizing of ladyship before survival does Elizabeth reveal this, as she defends Ciel no less.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Some things may appear rather squicky to the reader, but less so when they consider the time period. Back then, it was quite understandable to see even young teens drinking wine or similar. First Cousin Marriages were also quite common back then, especially when it comes to the line of nobles.
  • Determinator: Edward Midford. He's an average guy with less fencing skill than his sister, and he's studying in a Boarding School full of intelligent rich kids. Despite not being especially talented among the rest of the cast, he works hard, and eventually he reaches a level where he is able to mimic another guy's ball throwing technique after seeing it a couple of times.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The dinner scene with Baron Kelvin. At first it looks like No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine, but as it goes on, we find out that Baron Kelvin is pretty much treating it as a date and is being genuinely nice in his own, sick way.
  • Disguised in Drag: They've managed to get Ciel into a dress in the manga, the anime, and the musical.
    • In the second musical, this gets taken Up to Eleven with at least half the male characters running around an opera "disguised" in dresses. Including Abberline, mustache and all.
    • Played with in the live-action film. For unwitting viewers, Shiori/Kiyoharu starts the film in a white dress and looking like all the other girls...then rips the wig off and appears to be a boy. Subverted in that Shiori/Kiyoharu is actually a girl. Not as spoileriffic for anyone who did know in advance that Shiori disguised herself as a boy to begin with.
  • Dish Dash: Sebastian frequently ends up catching falling dishware, food, and other items due to the clumsiness of Mey-Rin and the other household staff. He never drops anything—by accident, anyway—because he's just that good of a Battle Butler.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Sebastian on occasion.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Ciel's plan B in the cricket game against the Green House, suggested by Sebastian: bringing Lau to the game alongside Ran Mao and a bunch of other girls in short Qipaos distracted the Green House's boys (the Blue House boys didn't notice because of their bad eyesight). It works out for a while until they (Lau and the girls) are expelled from the field.
  • Distressed Damsel: Elizabeth. Subverted in Chapter 57.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The infamous corset scene. Which has popped up in pretty much every version! The manga, the anime, and the (second) musical, of all places.
    • Chapter 9 has this gem of a page to flip to. Without context, it looks quite like any given porn page, although it's nothing more than Ciel vomiting after seeing Jack The Ripper's latest victim.
    • Chapter 34 pulled a bit of this too. Instead of being sexy, the scene is outright disturbing, because the fanservice occurs while one of the characters involved is having a complete mental breakdown and ends with the massacre of god knows how many innocent children.
    • In Chapter 71, when Maurice Cole was finally caught by Ciel for telling him the wrong time to meet with the prefects, he had a group of male students hold down Ciel and take off his shoe, unbutton his clothes, and cover his mouth to prevent him from screaming with the line, "Let's take some pictures, the kind that will make you die in shame!" One wonders what exactly they were planning on doing...
    • Chapter 72: The brother-bonding ceremony looks a hell of a lot like a wedding at first glance, plus all the innuendoes about fag-brother bonds and Maurice's apparent attraction to Redmond. The entire system seems more like a case of Lover and Beloved than brotherly.
    • In Chapter 73, Sebastian pushes Ciel up against a bookcase, when they're alone, in the school library, in the middle of the night.
      Sebastian: I'm sorry for being rough.
    • Chapter 76: All of the Scarlet Fox's cricket players suffer from diarrhea caused by a meat pie filled with laxatives, courtesy of Ciel and Sebastian. Everyone else retires, but Harcourt is left behind,and his expressions of pain are... well... reminiscent of something else involving that orifice.
    • Anime example: All of the dialogue in season 2 about Ciel's soul comes across as sexual. There's one scene where Aloise threatens to tear Ciel's soul apart and feed pieces of it to his entire staff, and it comes across like he's threatening to let the servants gang-rape him. It doesn't help that Aloise is sitting on Ciel's chest while making the threat.
    • Chapter 97: The villagers, ecstatic that Sieglinde has finally completed the formula for a new chemical weapon, decide to name it "Sullin".
    • Chapter 125: Much of what Violet says about his involvement in the cult is reminiscent of something a survivor of Parental Abuse or Domestic Abuse would say. After reading this chapter, re-reading the entire arc shows that many of his scenes also have this trend.
  • Doppelgänger: Sebastian bears a striking resemblance to Ciel's father. Coincidence?
    • In the anime's second season, Claude looks a lot like Sebastian, too.
  • Double Entendre: So many. Especially in the second season. Especially when Claude is having a conversation or talking to himself about Ciel.
  • The Dreaded: Marchioness Frances Phantomhive-Middleford (played semi-seriously, semi-comically). The woman even the resident demon would prefer not to spend time with, let alone her darling nephew. Both live in a fair degree of fear of her dropping 'round. On the face of it, it is easy to dismiss her as an over-the-top portrayal as one half of a (potential) Obnoxious In-Laws couple for humor. However...we are talking about the woman who can successfully sneak up on Sebastian without him realizing it until it's too late and who manages to loom over him to the point of making him break out in sweat drops. That's quite a feat for a mere human. There's also the suggestion that she might well be intelligent enough to work out who he is, given enough proof. And she's unlikely to be pleased.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Ciel, apparently, as Joker had to ask if Ciel was a boy. He also managed to pull off a fairly convincing lady when crossdressing.
    • Grell, in either form. Justified in that Grell does this on purpose because of her Transgender status.
    • Maurice Cole from Scarlet Fox dormitory of Weston College is so pretty it's very easy to assume he's actually a cross-dressing girl in a suit.
    • Same with Joanne Harcourt.
    • Due to the sheer number of Bishōnen students, almost half of the boys in the school arc look extremely feminine. This is made worse because they call each other by surname, and many effeminate last names. Most notably, it's easy to forget that long haired George Violet isn't female.
  • Dynamic Entry: Ronald pulls this off in Chapter 53. Boom, Headshot!.


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