Go to a large anime convention, and you’ll be sure to spot elegantly-dressed cosplayers with long red wigs, the occasional few sporting chainsaws. Cosplaying as Grell, a grim reaper, they hail from Kuroshitsuji, or Black Butler, an anime that has been extremely popular as of late.
There are currently 2 seasons of Black Butler. It has also has had a musical adaptation. Originally a manga, this series follows a boy named Ciel Phantomhive, who, in order to avenge his parent’s deaths, has turned to supernatural assistance – namely, one Sebastian Michaelis. A demonic butler, Sebastian forms a contract with Ciel agreeing to aid him in all of his tasks. The stipulation for his service, however, is quite severe. Once Ciel’s tasks have all been completed, he must allow Sebastian to kill him and consume his soul.
The Phantomhive noble family is renowned for two things – its success in running a company in the toy industry, and serving the Queen, earning them the nickname of the Queen’s “Watchdog”. A long time ago, Ciel’s parents were murdered and their mansion was burned down. As the sole remaining survivor of the Phantomhive family, Ciel must now continue to serve the Queen as the Watchdog.
The story follows Ciel’s quest for revenge and his determination to faithfully serve the Queen. On the way, he encounters many supernatural beings, including grim reapers, demon hounds, and more. With the aid of Sebastian, he manages to succeed, but he can’t forget that once he completes his quest, he is bound by his Faustian contract to be killed by the very butler who protects his life.
As an anime, Black Butler has received very mixed reviews – garnering strong support and scathing criticism from both ends. Still, Black Butler’s beautiful and elegant 19th century clothing provides a wonderful inspiration for great cosplay, and I know I’ve snapped a picture of plenty an awesome Ciel Phantomhive at conventions.