Fans of Black Butler were itching and wondering when a new anime series was going to launch. The manga was far enough along to have at least three new seasons. When Book of Circus was announced, we fans rejoiced. Naturally, Funimation would be the ones licensing the series which meant we would be getting simulcast from Japan. As the title entails, it was exactly what we needed. Surpassing the first season and definitely whatever season two was, Books of Circus follows it’s manga predecessor almost verbatim. With a dark and treacherous plot, new and unique characters as well as all of our favorites, this season is not one to be trifled with.

Book of Circus takes place after the Indian Butler arc (the one with the cooking contest). We are introduced to our two main characters, Sebastian Michaelis and Earl Ciel Phantomhive, as they go about their days a usual. As in episode one of the first season, Book of Circus features a rogue businessman trying to stage a coup and assassinate the Earl. Of course, this plan proves useless as Sebastian has already taken care of the gunman, once again proving he is one hell of a butler.

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Following, Ciel and Sebastian find themselves going undercover as performers at a traveling circus by order of Queen Victoria. They are sent to find out if this circus is responsible for children going missing all throughout England. As they dig further and further, everything comes full circle as they come to realize there is a much darker and sinister ring leader behind the curtain. I must say, this is one dark, but well-developed plot that is not for those who are sensitive to controversial topics; particularly those involving children.

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I was very impressed with the voice acting; both Japanese and English alike. The years have been very kind to our main cast as I noticed they have polished their roles; particularly J. Michael Tatum as Sebastian. It seems he has put more emphasis in his role as I found myself frequently getting chills as Sebastian spoke on screen. I also found myself replaying the scene in which Sebastian seduces a new female character, Beast, into getting more information about the circus. The whole scene is hot and heavy and directed in a way I felt I was watching two live actors. Tatum and Tia Ballard, voice of Beast, play their roles superbly. I would love to show you the whole scene but you’ll have to deal with stills until you watch the episode yourself.

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On topic of new characters, there is one in particular I could not get enough of. Snake is a snake charmer in the circus and can speak with the animals he commands. This means each snake has their own unique voice ranging from incredibly raspy to light-hearted while his own voice is rather somber. The range this actor has is most impressive, but I could not actually point out who voiced him. It was to my own surprise that none other than Spike Spencer, the voice of one of my favorite characters Shinji Ikari, does indeed voice Snake. Mind you, Snake does not sound like Shinji at all. Most impressive, indeed.

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The animation is stunning, the music is beautiful, and the interactions between characters is unprecedented. Book of Circus is a near perfect season of a near perfect manga series. It does Yana Toboso’s original work justice and I for one cannot wait for the next season. Gracie and I even featured Book of Circus on one of our podcasts in 2014; we could not stop raving about it.

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