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Film / Black Butler

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Black Butler is a 2014 Japanese Sci-Fi Horror Heroic Bloodshed Spy Fiction film based on the manga and produced by Warner Bros. and Square Enix.

In a World… where the planet is divided between empires run by Japan and Great Britain, the Queen has spies all over her rival. One of these spies is Shiori Genpo, a toy company heiress long thought dead, who has by her side a mysterious butler named Sebastian Michaelis. As it turns out, Sebastian is a demon bound to Shiori's will until he can claim her soul. The duo are tasked with investigating mysterious mummification murders, but could potentially uncover more personal secrets along the way.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Prologue: Sebastian rescuing Shiori from some Human Traffickers.
  • Adaptational Location Change: The live-action film changes both the location and the time period from the original manga; the location is changed from England to an unnamed Asian country, and the time period is changed from the Victorian Era to 2020.
  • All Nations Are Superpowers: The world of 2020 is divided into the West, run by England, and the East, run by Japan.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Shiori learns that there were other conspirators in her family's death besides the Big Bad, so Sebastian saves her life so they can finish the contract.
  • Arch-Enemy: Shiori Genpo has her aunt, Lady Hanae Wakatsuki, who killed her parents and is currently plotting a terrorist attack on Japan.
  • Asshole Victim: The killer tries to frame an infamous Arms Dealer for their crimes, and kills him to keep the lie going. Also, it turns out Shiori's father was this, having abandoned his first wife after she was rendered infertile by a miscarriage.
  • Big Bad: Lady Hanae Wakatsuki, a hooded figure plotting a chemical terrorist attack.
  • Bullet Time: The effect is applied when Sebastian takes care of a few mooks in the opening scene, a lot like a certain other series Hiro Mizushima starred in.
  • Calling Card: The killer leaves behind a Baphomet card at each killing.
  • Devil, but No God: Despite having a demon in her employ, Shiori is a staunch atheist, believing this trope to be how things are. The forces of Heaven do not show up in the film, so she may very well be right.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: At first it seems like corporate scumbag Shinpen Kubo is the mastermind behind the murders, until he's shown answering to a hooded figure who guns him down to take the Necrosis formula. Said figure is later revealed to be Lady Hanae Wakatsuki.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sebastian may be a soul-devouring demon, but he absolutely adores cats and will pet any feline he sees. He's also implied to care for Shiori, but this could easily be self-serving due to his claim on her soul.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Shiori's maid Run seems like an absurdly klutzy ditz when she has her glasses on, but the second they're removed she becomes a hyper competent assassin. However, unlike the anime where it's an act to deflect suspicion, she really is awful at cooking and cleaning.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Lady Hanae is working for a whole conspiracy of masterminds identified by a twisting snakes symbol, but they never show up personally.
  • Heir Club for Men: Only male heirs to the Genpou family can inherit the Funtom Corporation. For this reason, Shiori disguises herself as her fictional brother.
  • Hate Sink: Shinpei Kujo is a pharmaceutical executive hired by Lady Hanae Wakatsuki to make an immortality serum. To do so, he buys women from Human Traffickers and experiments on them until their bodies give out. After discovering a drug called Necrosis, which mummifies people within minutes, Kujo tests it on various people. This eventually culminates in him poisoning a nightclub full of people and watching them tear each other apart for the antidote.
  • Human Traffickers: The first antagonists are a group of traffickers Shiori got herself captured by to figure out their connection to a string of murders. They're shown to handle their victims in an incredibly degrading way even by human trafficking standards. As it turns out, this is because their primary client is experimenting on the girls to discover immortality.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Shiori believes that humans are worse than demons, because demons don't pretend to be anything but selfish.
  • Immortality Immorality: The entire plot of the villains is revealed to be a giant experiment for the Big Bad to attain immortality.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: A group of Japanese cops try this on Sebastian. He knocks them out and escapes handily.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Well, half of it. They run the Eastern faction.
  • Job Title
  • Master Poisoner: The killer uses a virus that causes near-instant mummification. The murders are testing this virus so that it can be released on Tokyo.
  • Our Demons Are Different: These appear human, but are completely immune to harm by Earthly objects, can throw a butter knife with the strength to make it cut through bone, and can move faster than the naked eye. They can be bound to contracts to serve humans, but are simply waiting until it's met to eat their souls.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Red Baron: The West's spies are known as the Queen's Watchdogs.
  • Sadist: Shinpei Kujo, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who gleefully traffics women to be experimented on for Hanae's experiments, and forces a room fulll of people to kill each other for the antidote for the hell of it. He claims he believes that everybody tearing each other apart for power is the natural state of humanity.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The murders are known as "The Devil's Curse," and are suspected to be the work of the actual Devil, to the point of a mass exorcism being planned, but it's made clear from the beginning that it's just normal bioterrorism.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Sebastian can talk to cats. This helps him find Shiori when she's captured by Hanae.
  • The Sociopath: Lady Hanae Wakatsuki acts like Shiori's kindly aunt, but is secretly a terrorist mastermind willing to kill anybody who gets in the way of immortality. She also has no problem selling out her co-conspirators to save her own skin, and is pretty convincing at faking remorse.
  • Stealth Sequel: The film is implied to be in continuity with the manga, what with the Genpou family being formerly named Phantomhive and deals with demons being a recurring issue for the bloodline.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Since most people think she's dead, and the Funtom Corporation can only be inherited by a male heir, Shiori disguises herself as a fake brother Kiyoharu.