Sebastian Michaelis: Matsushita Yuuya (松下優也)
Ciel Phantomhive: Nishii Yukito (西井幸人)
Eric Slingby: Saeki Taisuke (佐伯太輔)
Alan Humpfries: Matsumoto Shin’ya (松本慎也)
Grell Sutcliff: Uehara Takuya (植原卓也)
William T. Spears: Nagaoka Takuya (永岡卓也)
Ronald Knox: Yousuke Crawford (ヨウスケ・クロフォード)
Baldroy: Iwasaki Dai (岩﨑 大)
Finnian: Minami Shouta (南 翔太)
Mey-Rin: Igari Atsuko (猪狩敦子)
Undertaker: Izumi Shuuhei (和泉宗兵)
Viscount Druitt: Fujita Ray (藤田 玲)
Fred Abberline: Ise Naohiro (伊勢直弘)
Sharpe Hanks: Aoki Shigeto (青木隆敏)
Full Title: ミュージカル黒執事 -The Most Beautiful DEATH in The World- 千の魂と堕ちた死神
Transliterated: Musical Kuroshitsuji -The Most Beautiful DEATH in The World- Sen no Tamashii to Ochita Shinigami
Translated: Musical Kuroshitsuji -The Most Beautiful DEATH in The World- One Thousand Souls and a Fallen Shinigami
For obvious reasons, it will be referred to as ‘Kuromyu’ from now on.
WARNING: Spoilers for Musical Kuroshitsuji 2. Also assumes that you’ll be buying the DVD regardless of reviews, so favours description over the usual things found in reviews.
It was easy to tell who was going to see Kuromyu amongst those milling around Akasaka on a bright spring morning. They wore entirely black, many of them in Victorian-style capes and lacy dresses. Without a doubt, the best-dressed audience I’ve seen.
The musical starts without fanfare. The lights don’t go out or dim. I was sitting at the back reading a manga (“Number” by Tsubaki Kaori-sensei. Varies between awesome and awkward…) and when I looked up there were people on stage. No warning. Nothing. This scene continues as a silent human chess game with each team dressed entirely in either black or white.
I was lucky my manga wasn’t sufficiently engrossing, because soon a cloth-covered cage was wheeled into the centre of the stage and the whole theatre went pitch black. Ciel intones “God? There’s no God here.” So begins the musical; Ciel is in the cage in the centre and Sebastian appears above him, wearing a cape. This was funnier than it had any right to be.
The first song belongs to Sebastian and rightfully so. In the previous musical, they started with ordinary dialogue (rather than the dramatic monologue used here) and the three servants had the first song. It made for a strange start.
I was torn over one of the next scenes. It begins in the world of shinigami, with some of them clocking off work having taken the night shift and some arriving for the morning. All of the shinigami (Eric Slingby, Alan Humpfries, William T. Spears and Ronald Knox, plus extras) are there, except for Grell. William calls her out, referring to her as ‘he’. Grell appears stage left, announcing that’s she’s a ‘she’, not a ‘he’.
This temporarily ruined my image of William (‘temporarily’, because a few seconds later I decided a musical was hardly canon.). I saw him as a guy who plays by the rules and is constantly aware of his hourly rate. Now he’s a “human” resources nightmare and an arsehole. Ah, Kuromyu. You make it canon that a character is definitely transgender (which anyone reading the manga would know) and then you make it clear that she doesn’t deserve any respect within that canon.
This is also anime!Grell. I thought Takuya’s performance was spot-on in the previous musical, but now there’s too much of everything that was good before. Like Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. It didn’t help that the first performance I saw was being filmed for the DVD, so everyone was even more over-the-top than usual.
The next sequence is a kind of eighties industrial dance about the Shinigami Haken. If it were a person, I’d hit it. It was awesome. They briefly reprised it for the curtain call too. Alan and Eric are properly introduced next and assigned to each other as partners in a case concerning a serial killer. They are long-time friends. Best friends. Really, really close friends, okay?
Skipping ahead a little, Ciel and Sebastian go to see Undertaker. There’s more fanservice than there ever was in the manga, but it’s less out of place when people are already bursting into song. This concept is nicely illustrated in this scene, when Undertaker says he’s not interested in laughing anymore, he wants to love. Since this is the jumping off point for an enka song and dance routine, I can’t complain. I don’t know if anyone reading this is familiar with enka, but today it’s linked with a romantic image of Showa Era Japan and songs about first love and drinking sake. It’s like the Hollywood golden age in terms of iconic figures and old-time sex symbols. So that’s the background to Sebastian’s song. It’s an act of pure fanservice, which is completely appropriate here.
Ciel doesn’t appear much in this scene or any others really, but it’s nice that his kindergarten let him out early so he could take part.
In the next scene, I can only assume Sebastian and Grell slept together. It’s morning and Grell emerges dramatically from her bedroom panting that she had a hot night of passion while Sebastian seems unconvinced he slept with her. The second time I saw it, the build-up was even more suggestive… there were ropes (but Sebastian still seemed unimpressed in the morning). At breakfast, Sebastian announces Eric is the killer. Eric attacks and Grell hands Sebastian her Deathscythe. Eric escapes.
Viscount Druitt’s big song is next. He’s kidnapped two women and wants them to behave like pretty birds for him. They comply… in a fantasy sequence in which he sings a rock anthem and they chirrup, temporarily freed from their restraints. It was in bad taste, but I laughed. Eric shows up and Druitt realises he’s the real killer.
The first half concludes with Ciel ordering Sebastian to kill Eric.
The second half is a cross-dressing epic featuring Ciel’s much-loved pink and white dress. The reason? Druitt has organised a party to which only women and children are invited. Men are allowed only if accompanied by a woman. Sebastian teases Ciel and says that if he insists he’s not a kid, he’s going to have to go dressed as a woman. That’s… an original excuse. Grell will accompany Alan, which I thought was a nice touch, but then Alan appears in a dress too. Sebastian says it suits him better and Grell gets jealous.
Moving ahead a couple of scenes again, Alan and Eric are reunited. Eric reveals that he is trying to collect one thousand souls because it will cure Alan’s illness. They talk about flower keywords and the word assigned to the flower ‘erica’ is ‘loneliness’. They put down their shinigami glasses and leave together. Alan will not be able to see Eric’s sins anymore and says they are still partners.
It doesn’t end well for the two best friends. Eric has only one soul left to collect, so he attempts to kill Ciel. I’m sure you can guess who he kills instead.
Cue the cinematic record, with Eric and Alan reliving their past as very good friends. Eric is distraught and Sebastian kills him. With that, snow (and glitter) falls down, each flake a soul Eric collected.
The final song is ‘Hallucination’, sung as Ciel sleeps. It’s not so much a Kuroshitsuji song as a Matsushita Yuuya song. The final speech is by Sebastian, which goes something like this:
“I have little interest in collecting one thousand souls. I want only one. That would be yours, bocchan. According to our contract. After all… I’m a devil of a butler.”
Really? Let’s rephrase it: “I have no interest in amassing one thousand sandwiches, I just want one… this delicious cheese and ham one. For the next fifty years, I will wait solely for this sandwich.”
Curtain call one: Sebastian picked up Ciel in his arms and carried him off, so William picked up Ronald too.
Curtain call two: Sebastian lifted Ciel onto his back. William and Ronald copied it, with William adjusting his glasses magnificently as he rode Ronald out. I like William’s actor very much indeed.
Overall, I loved this musical, but I had some serious (albeit brief) problems with it. It seems to be moving further towards the anime version than the last musical and I hope that trend won’t continue. There were some memorable songs, particularly the Shinigami Haken one and the main theme. If you want a more blow-by-blow account from Spacecat, click here (you’ll have to scroll). Or you can read my list of the top ten anime musicals