|Black Butler Arc|
The Black Butler Arc is the first arc of the Kuroshitsuji manga. It is a major conflict that introduces Ciel Phantomhive, as an Earl, who has contracted with his talented demon butler, Sebastian Michaelis. His fiancée, Elizabeth Midford, and his other servants, Baldroy, Finnian, Mey-Rin, and Tanaka are also depicted. Ciel is the head of the notorious Phantomhive family, who is renowned for aiding the Queen as a Watchdog.
The conflict starts when Ciel and several other nobles accumulate to discuss a certain shady person. After learning that Ciel has received drugs from Chlaus, Azzurro Vanel kidnaps and abuses Ciel, demanding for them. Sebastian goes to find Ciel, eventually defeating all of Azzurro's snipers, bodyguards, and men.
An unidentified person in black clothing, the butler, wakes his young master and informs him what the breakfast is. He then dresses his young master who recognizes the aroma of Ceylon tea. He identifies the expensive chinaware he will be using. He informs him of his schedule for the day.
Later, at the outside of the manor, the Phantomhive household watches as the butler fights an energetic female opponent. She uses her secret technique, but he easily overpowers her. The opponent coughs up blood on the ground and asks who he is since he is so powerful. He then introduces himself as Sebastian Michaelis, the butler of the Phantomhive household. His young master is Ciel Phantomhive, the head of the Phantomhive family. He says that in return for him winning the battle, Ciel has to review today's and tomorrow's pre-lessons. The three other workers are identified as Finnian the gardener, Mey-Rin the housemaid, and Baldroy the chef. They admire and compliment Sebastian's meritorious skills, and Finnian notes that it is his 50th consecutive win.
Ciel is disappointed that he could not see Sebastian on his knees today but congratulates him with a drink which he accepts. Sebastian then scolds at Finnian, Mey-Rin, and Baldroy for loafing around and orders them to fulfill their duties. Ciel states that there was a call from Chlaus in Italy, who is heading directly to England. Chlaus has gotten a hold of the usual goods, although he had considerably more trouble this time. He would arrive at six o' clock where they will execute negotiations at the Phantomhive Manor. Sebastian promises to provide Sir Chlaus with the best hospitality. He then asks what is the lemonade Ciel congratulated with him earlier, because the heartburn will not stop. Ciel reveals that it was concocted by Tanaka the house steward and that it tastes and looks strange; he has stopped drinking in one sip, which insinuates that Ciel has purposely given it to Sebastian, knowing it has a negative effect.
The butler begins his preparations. Later, Ciel rings a bell, an indication to come, and Sebastian swiftly makes his way to him. As he leaves, Finnian, Mey-Rin, and Baldroy yearn to prove themselves as capable and believe that now is the opportunity to portray their skills. Finnian plans to make a beautiful garden, Mey-Rin plans to make the tea sets shine, and Baldroy plans to make an amazing dish. In the meantime, Ciel wants to eat sweets; Sebastian declines, saying it will spoil his dinner.
Afterward, the garden, plates and dishes, and food are shown destroyed. Sebastian demands an explanation for the destruction, and the three are intimidated. Finnian shamefully explains that he accidentally walked around the garden with the weed killer's can opener. Mey-Rin has unintentionally pushed a cart into the tea set, and Baldroy has cooked the raw meat with a flamethrower. Sebastian forgives them and mentally notes that they have a little less than two hours to fix things until Sir Chlaus's arrival He then notices Tanaka sipping tea and it inspires an idea. He explains to the three what the plan is.
Later, Chlaus arrives and greets Ciel, who was waiting outside. He asks if Ciel has grown taller in which the latter replies curtly that he has not. Chlaus accepts it lightheartedly, saying Ciel is still as rude as ever. As they enter, the Phantomhive household greets him warmly.
Chlaus is impressed by the manor's interior, praising that it is beautiful. Finnian offers to take his jacket, and Chlaus notices that there are more new faces in the mansion. Sebastian opens the door to the courtyard, saying that he must prepare dinner so Chlaus and Ciel can negotiate for the meanwhile. Chlaus is vividly captivated by the design of the courtyard, acknowledging it as a rock garden from Japan. Sebastian escorts the pair to an outdoor table for Japanese green tea, which was inspired by Tanaka's tea. Chlaus hands over the game Ciel had sent him to get, saying it was difficult to obtain. Ciel presses on for another game, telling him that kids have a greed for games. Chlaus remembers that even though Ciel is just twelve he carries great responsibilities.
Sebastian interrupts them and serves the evening meal: beef donburi. He hands the credit to Baldroy although the latter simply cut and brought it only. Chlaus is unaware that there was such a meal before. Sebastian then animatedly explains that laborers from Ancient Japan are thankful for the Donburi. Chlaus remarks that the service is prodigious and that Sebastian is intelligent. Sebastian tells Mey-Rin to pour the Italian wine into the glass. She nervously spills it, and Chlaus is fortunately oblivious to it at the moment.
Sebastian then pulls the stained tablecloth cleanly and swiftly from the table without disrupting the food and plates on it. Ciel smiles at his butler's success and tells Chlaus to ignore the tablecloth and continue eating leisurely. The three workers praise him.
When Chlaus compliments that Ciel's butler is skillful, Ciel replies that it is natural for Sebastian to be able to do such amazing works since he is his servant after all. He also adds that he likes the sweets Sebastian makes, and Chlaus laughs. The Japanese dessert then arrives. Later, Finnian remembers that what he has brought to Sebastian were iris seeds, but yet the flowers in the garden are already abloom. He contemplates how it is possible but soon dismisses the matter.
Main article: Chapter 1
Ciel and Sebastian head to a store that sells cane. The shopkeeper asks Ciel if he is on an errand for his father. Sebastian immediately intervenes and requests for the Master's cane. The shopkeeper mistakes the Master to be Sebastian and questions why he is in need of such a small cane, much to Ciel's disdain. Sebastian points the cane to the man's face threateningly, and compliments its sturdiness. He leaves the terrified shopkeeper some money, and the pair departs. Outside, Ciel complains about how Finnian has destroyed his last cane accidentally. He and Sebastian witness a thrilled little boy talking about Ciel's Funtom Corporation's new product: Bitter Rabbit.
When they have arrived home, Ciel is shocked by his decorated mansion that is filled with girly accessories. His servants are also dressed in girly clothes and they refer to the "crazy girl" through the double doors. Sebastian and Ciel enter only to have Elizabeth Midford spring on the latter, exclaiming how she wanted to meet him and how cute he is. She forces him to call her Lizzy instead of Elizabeth. Sebastian introduces her to the servants as Ciel's fiancée, to their astonishment.
She pulls Ciel to the ballroom, and he grudgingly notices that it is also decorated and pities his mansion. Elizabeth mirthfully tells him to have a dance party and for him to wear the clothes she has picked out for him. Ciel tries to refuse, but she dreamily pictures the moment of dancing with him. He scolds her to listen to what he is saying, but she continues to ignore him.
Later, Sebastian reminds Ciel that he cannot afford to turn Elizabeth down coldly since she is the daughter of the Midford family and his future wife. Ciel remarks that he did not choose for her to become her fiancée, but was rather forced to. Sebastian tells him that it would be profitable if he obeys her wishes. He emphasizes that Elizabeth wishes to hold a dance, and Ciel deliberately ignores him. The butler then concludes that his young master has no dance instruction, thus he is reluctant to join Elizabeth to the dance.
Ciel says that he is too busy with work to play with games such as dancing, but his butler tells him that dance is a crucial social thing in which all elite gentlemen should be able to do naturally. If Ciel refuses the invitation to dance with Elizabeth whose family is a part of the high society, his reputation would be soiled greatly. Ciel, disgruntled, complies and asks for a home tutor. Sebastian says that there is no time for a tutor and that simply demeanor and pose will be sufficient to master the basics. He offers himself to teach Ciel the basics. Ciel disagrees with dancing with a big, male partner like Sebastian, but he assures him that he knows how to waltz.
Consequently, Sebastian instructs Ciel about the primary dancing steps and how he must firmly hold onto the woman's back. Ciel accidentally steps on Sebastian's foot in this process. Ciel wobbles when he attempts the natural turn and unintentionally kicks Sebastian's shin. Sebastian then states that his talent for dancing is nonexistent and that it must be devastating for him. He advises him to attempt to look convivial and smile happily. Ciel pulls away and looks at his blue ring on his thumb, saying that he had forgotten how to smile happily.
Later, Ciel comes out to greet Elizabeth, dressed and groomed. She excitedly swings him around, complimenting how cute he is and how she was not wrong in picking out the clothes Ciel is wearing. She frowns when she notices Ciel's blue ring and the fact that he is not wearing the ring she had prepared for him. She says that she went through a lot of trouble to make everything adorable and "uncute" ring is ruining it.
Elizabeth then snatches the ring out of Ciel's thumb, disparaging it, noting its age and unsuitable size. Ciel demands that she gives it back. She throws it, crying that she hates the ring. The ring shatters to pieces at the impact, and Ciel is horrified. He, infuriated, raises his hand in a motion to slap Elizabeth, and she cringes. Sebastian catches his hand from behind and places the cane in it, saying that he has forgotten his long-awaited, new cane. Ciel begins to calm down and silently stares at his broken ring. As Elizabeth sobs, Sebastian apologizes, informing that the one-of-a-kind ring is very important for Ciel since it has been passed down through the Phantomhive family for generations. She realizes how significant the ring is.
Ciel bends down to pick up the shattered ring and tosses it out the window. Elizabeth is astounded and asks what he is doing. He calmly replies that he does not care about the old ring since without it he is still the head of the Phantomhive household. He readjusts his outfit and takes out a handkerchief to wipe Elizabeth's tears, saying he would not invite her to dance if she keeps crying. He suggests that they should forget about all the bad things and dance until dawn with evening party etiquette. Ciel offers his hand and she takes it, smiling. They dance, with Sebastian playing the violin in the background, and she comments that it is like a dream.
Later that night, Elizabeth is depicted soundly sleeping; she will be picked up tomorrow. Ciel is in his bedroom, dressed by Sebastian. Ciel reaches for his blue ring but remembers that it is gone. Sebastian notes that Ciel had only put on an ostentatious show of throwing it away for Elizabeth. He puts a hand over Ciel's and when he uncovers it, the blue ring is returned on Ciel's thumb, repaired. Ciel is astonished, and Sebastian states that as the Phantomhive butler, he would be incompetent if he could not even accomplish this much. Ciel wistfully remarks how the ring had witnessed the deaths of its previous masters: his grandfather and father. Irrefutably, he, too, would grow sick one day and pass away with the ring. He says that whenever he closes his eyes, he could hear the screams of the pain of death.
Sebastian tucks him into bed. Ciel orders him to stay by his side until he falls asleep. Sebastian then replies that he would always be by his master's side, until his death. Once Ciel falls asleep, Sebastian leaves and thinks about how Ciel was confident in front of Elizabeth but revealed his weakness later on. He then prepares for tomorrow.
Main article: Chapter 2
Baldroy, Finnian, and Mey-Rin attempt to catch a rat. The noise grabs the attention of several nobles playing pool in a nearby room: Ciel, Chlaus, Lau, Angelina Dalles, Arthur Randall, Azzurro Vanel, and a fat nobleman. They converse about a "rat" in the room that must be exterminated. Ciel promises that it would be dealt with soon since he received the ingredients from Chlaus. Arthur reluctantly states that Ciel will receive his compensation this evening.
Sebastian questions the other servants' unorthodox methods and extreme measures to capture rats. Ciel tells him to prepare a carriage to escort Arthur to his mansion and to leave tonight's plans open. Sebastian then catches the rats in one swift motion and tells the servants to behave as there will be guests around tonight. Ciel retreats to his study and is grabbed by an unseen attacker. Shortly after, Sebastian arrives to bring Ciel his afternoon tea and is upset to discover Ciel has disappeared, as tea he prepared will become meaningless.
Elsewhere, it is revealed that the kidnapper is the Italian drug dealer Azzurro Vanel of the Ferro family. He has resorted to violence, bounding and beating Ciel. He demands to know the location of the drugs Chlaus obtained, threatening to kill Ciel's servants if not told, but Ciel simply laughs it off. Azzurro kicks Ciel and tells his snipers that negotiations are over and they are ordered to kill Ciel's servants.
At the manor, Sebastian is approached by Mey-Rin who has a letter for him. A sniper shoots through the glass, and Mey-Rin and Sebastian fall to the ground. The snipers flee while the servants are in shock over what happened. Sebastian realizes the letter is a blackmail sent by Azzurro. It expresses that in return for Ciel Phantomhive, drugs must be exchanged in the white chapel. Finnian and Baldroy rush over, and Sebastian entrusts them to clean up the pie and finish dinner preparations since he has a minor business to handle. Before Baldroy can ask if cleaning up the pie means eating it, Sebastian has already disappeared.
Meanwhile, on the road, the snipers inform Azzurro that they have failed their annihilation mission to kill off the Phantomhive servants. Azzurro is infuriated and orders them to return. The snipers suddenly begin screaming about an oncoming attack. Azzurro grows increasingly disturbed as the snipers shriek that they cannot outrun something that is coming. Their voices are cut off.
Ciel chuckles at Azzurro's failed plan. The latter, outraged, kicks Ciel tumultuously and demands an answer into the phone. Sebastian introduces himself as a member of the Phantomhive household. Ciel barks, and Sebastian comprehends the ambiguous signal, saying that he will come for Ciel soon.
Sebastian returns the phone to the snipers who are still in their vehicle that is now precariously balanced on the edge of a cliff. Desperate for their lives, the snipers reveal Azzurro's name and hideout when interrogated. Sebastian dismisses their pleas to be spared and apologizes for detaining them for so long on the cliff. He wishes them to enjoy their trip, and steps off the car; it topples over the edge and explodes. He is concerned that he will be late for dinner at this rate.
Main article: Chapter 3
With the knowledge that Sebastian is on his way to Ciel, Azzurro demands all entrances to be fortified so not even a rat could slip in. However, Sebastian effortlessly slips past the men where they did not even notice until he spoke up. The men advance to surround and kill Sebastian when he states that he belongs to the house of Phantomhive.
Meanwhile, Finnian, Mey-Rin, and Baldroy contemplate whether or not they are permitted to devour the pie. Baldroy finally decides to eat the pie and blames it on Sebastian for not making the order clear. He tells Finnian and Mey-Rin to take out the silverware in order to eat. However, Finnian is only able to find a spoon.
Azzurro is anxiously waiting for Sebastian, with a gun in his hand. Sebastian opens the double doors, announcing that he has come to retrieve his master. Azzurro is surprised to see that he is merely a butler. When Sebastian attempts to hand over the ransom, Azzurro has hidden men shoot him multiple times, inflicting what would be fatal wounds. Comforted by the idea that Sebastian is eliminated, he boasts that he is the winner of the game and returns his attention to Ciel. He threatens to sell him and removes Ciel's eyepatch. Ciel suddenly intervenes and asks Sebastian how long does he plan to play dead. In response, Sebastian stands up, praising the efficiency of the guns and how they improved since a hundred years ago. The fact that he is still impossibly alive frightens Azzurro and he orders his men to finish him off. Sebastian, having already removed all the bullets that penetrated him, "returns" them by throwing them at the gunmen.
Ciel and Sebastian's banter distresses Azzurro greatly, and he threatens to shoot off Ciel's head. Sebastian pretends to be at lost on what to do, Ciel urges him to hurry up since his arm hurts. Ciel asks if Sebastian dares to go against the contract. Sebastian answers the negative, assuring him that that would be unthinkable. He has been his faithful servant ever since that day where they met and Ciel had offered a sacrifice. Ciel's right eye gleams with the Faustian contract's mark, and he orders Sebastian to save him. Azzurro, discombobulated, impulsively shoots Ciel only to realize that he is not dead.
Sebastian appears behind him with the bullet Azzurro has shot. He drops it into Azzurro's pocket. Sebastian takes Ciel back, and Ciel comments that today's game is uninteresting. He sets Ciel down in a chair and releases his bounds as Azzurro tries to convince him to leave the Phantomhive family and join forces with him. Sebastian says that human currency does not interest him since he is a demon and a butler. As long as the contract is active, he is Ciel's faithful servant until the day his soul belongs to him. He shows that his hand has a Faustian contract mark identical to the one on Ciel's right eye. It is "game over" as Sebastian worded it, and he transforms into his demon self to kill Azzurro.
Ciel and Sebastian return to the manor where the other servants greet them warmly. They worry about his ripped clothing and the injuries on Ciel. The butler asks for forgiveness from Ciel for his behavior; he finds himself culpable since today's supper preparations have been left entirely unfinished.
The next day, Baldroy reads the newspaper and realizes that the Italian trading organization, Ferro Co., was met with an unidentified attacker which resulted in a high number of casualties. The survivors are positive that it was a "monster" or "demon" who attacked them. Baldroy tells Finnian and Mey-Rin that a rumor states the Ferro would commit horrible things for money so this could have been an act of revenge by a "ghost."
Sebastian then enters and confiscates the newspaper, urging them to work. He reads the newspaper and is amused by the contents. Afterward, he sets off to serve Ciel.
Main article: Chapter 4
In the morning, Sebastian prepares his duties as a butler. He delivers the day's work itinerary; he places Mey-Rin in charge of the linens, Finnian to prune the trees in the garden, and Baldroy to prepare lunch (Tanaka is allowed to just drink tea). After the servants are dealt with, he wakes his master, Ciel Phantomhive.
Sometime later, Ciel is described as a twelve years old boy who governs a grand domain. He is also the president of the toymaker, Funtom Corporation, and through talented and relatively sly business, he has simultaneously created sister Funtom Corporations.
Ciel informs Sebastian that the kids from Count Barton's orphanage have been invited to his manor. Sebastian promises that the best hospitality would be provided for the expected orphans; however, on the inside, he remarks that Ciel is very carelessly rude to suddenly impose errands on him.
While attending to his various duties, Sebastian is constantly distracted and bothered by the blunders of the other Phantomhive servants. When he can no longer put up with the stress, he seeks out a cat for comfort. In the end, Sebastian finally manages to prepare the food; however, the chocolate statue he has made is missing a head, as pointed out by Finnian. When accused, the Phantomhive servants deny being responsible for the crime, and the blame is shifted to Tanaka.
While Baldroy, Finnian, and Mey-Rin are searching for Tanaka, Sebastian goes to a sleeping Ciel and momentarily discovers that he has stolen the chocolate head. He reprimands Ciel, and inwardly comments that, despite the hardships, being a butler is not a bad way of life.
Main article: Chapter 5