Black Butler: Book of Circus (Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus) is a 2014 television anime series based on the manga of the same name written by Yana Toboso. It was adapted by studio A-1 Pictures and directed by Noriyuki Abe. Aniplex published the series and was first broadcast in Japan on July 2014 as part of the Summer season.
“Ciel and the demon butler Sebastian are summoned by the Queen to investigate multiple reports of missing children. When their underworld contacts reveal the disappearances increase when the mysterious Noah’s Ark Circus comes to town the demonic duo must impress an enigmatic ringmaster in order to go undercover as performers-to Sebastian’s delight and Ciel’s disgust. At the core of the circus is a troupe of unique performers from Dagger the knife thrower to Beast, the beautiful tiger tamer. All are connected by someone who changed their lives, someone who raised them from the gutters of London to the heights of the big top – but at a price.”Plot Synopsis via Anime Limited, June 2017
Many years ago, there was an anime adaptation of a popular manga series called Black Butler. It was very popular and a lot of people, mainly the female audience, adored the main character Sebastian. The series even got dubbed with fake British accents and was one of Funimation’s biggest sellers. However, at the time it was given the same problem a lot of other anime also had – catching up with the source material and thus be given a ton of anime original content. Black Butler‘s first season was mostly non-canon and its second series Black Butler II was entirely non-canon which divided folks.
I own the first season and I quite enjoyed the canon episodes but I wasn’t a massive fan of the non-canon content and thus I did not bother with Black Butler II. Many years later, A-1 Pictures returns with more Black Butler and this time we had three different anime contents; a television series, an OVA series and a theatrical film. There was also a live-action Black Butler film which I actually do own but it’s not relevant to the anime or manga at all in terms of continuity. The three anime projects were all covering canon content from the manga and take place after the canon episodes from the first season.
The twist here is that all of Black Butler’s anime belongs to Aniplex, and Funimation’s rights for Black Butler and Black Butler II eventually expired and went to Aniplex of America. Interestingly only Season 1 managed to get a Blu-ray Box set from the distributor. That being said, the three anime projects; Black Butler: Book of Circus, Black Butler: Book of Murder and Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic were allowed to be released by Funimation, but I don’t expect the distributor to be able to renew the license so if you want a cheap release of those arcs I suggest getting them sooner than later.
Now why am I discussing Black Butler: Book of Circus then? Well Anime Limited managed to acquire the United Kingdom and Ireland rights from Aniplex and release the series on Blu-ray. They gave it a collector’s edition similar to Funimation’s release and it eventually sold out after being available for a few years so I figured I’ll pick it up and provide a blog post about its release.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Anime Limited’s collector’s editions are designed in a variety of ways, sometimes they can replicate what was provided in the US releases but with their own spin on it and Black Butler: Book of Circus does something like that.
The release is presented in a rigid box with a digipack packaging to house the Blu-ray discs and comes with a 40-page booklet containing additional artwork based on the series.
The artwork is free of any information or BBFC content and the info sheet covers the information and specification like previous Anime Limited releases. The collector’s edition Blu-ray had 1000 units printed for an SRP of £59.99 and as of the time this post was released is now out of print, so there may be some copies available but expect it to be much harder to find from here on.
I should note that I requested this series from Anime Limited’s 12 Days of Christmas sale as part of my Christmas 2020 haul. That being said it was available for £14.99 during its sale.
- Rigid Box with digipack packaging and clean artwork
- Info sheet for specification and BBFC description
- 40-page booklet
Distributor: Anime Limited
Released: 12th June 2017
Black Butler: Book of Circus covers episodes 1 to 10 of the series across two Blu-ray discs. The encode and authoring were done by Funimation. The audio options available for the series include Japanese with English subtitles and the Funimation English dub.
The white subtitles are locked during playback, and the regions are locked to B for Blu-ray.
|Audio||English Dolby TrueHD 2.0|
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
16:9 aspect ratio
|Discs||2 (1 BD-50, 1 BD-25)|
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Episode 4 English Dub Commentary
- Episode 10 English Dub Video Commentary
- U.S. Trailer
- Funimation Trailers
Black Butler: Book of Circus is available to order through multiple retailers across the United Kingdom. As mentioned earlier, the collector’s edition Blu-ray is now out of print but some units may still be available, and the standard edition Blu-ray is available on Amazon UK.
(Disclaimer: Amazon links are also included when available. They are affiliated so if you decide to order them, I’ll earn a small percentage if they ship which will help me with any hauls or small bills.)