Black Butler: Public School Arc – Episode 1 Recap & Review

His Butler, at School

In Episode 1 of Black Butler: Public School Arc, the Queen’s 12-year-old watchdog and his demon butler are on a mission to uncover the reason behind mysterious disappearances of students in an elite public school.

The queen cannot directly participate in the investigation since public schools in Black Butler’s Victorian world are independent institutions protected from government inference. The student of Queen’s particular interest is the Queen’s cousin, Duke Clemens’ son, Derrick. And so, our clever investigator Ciel embarks on his first day of school at Weston College, an elite boys’ boarding school situated in the bank of river Thames, and…steps on the forbidden lawn. 

The school works in tandem with traditions and hierarchy, where regular students are barred from crossing the lawn. Only prefects can do so. A fellow classmate, McMillan explains this to Ciel later, after we meet the four prefects of the school: Edgar Redmond of Scarlet Fox House for students of exceptionally noble birth; Lawrence Bluewer of Sapphire Owl House for those who excel in academics; Herman Greenhil of Green Lion House for those who excel in martial arts and sports; and Gregory Violet of Violet Wolf House for artistically gifted. The punishments for not following the rules lead to the students earning a “Y”, for every “Y” a student is required to cover 100 Latin hexameters. 

After learning this, Ciel is peacefully reading in the classmate when an upperclassman named Clayton calls out to the class. Ciel reacts to the call last and earns himself a punishment of cleaning the prefect’s shows. Tradition, they say. We find Ciel has entered the Sapphire Owl House, where according to tradition, his classmates hurl him up in the air as a form of an initiation ceremony, much to Ciel’s dismay. Finally, Sebastian enters as the house master Michaelis. Michaelis informs Ciel that he’s wanted in the headmaster’s house.

However, the headmaster is not present but the vice principal. It’s revealed that the headmaster only connects with the prefects much to Ciel’s dismay who wanted to meet with him regarding Derrick’s case. It is also the headmaster who has supreme authority, like a monarch, in Weston’s affairs.  

At breakfast the next day, Ciel learns from McMillan that it’s tradition for each boy to serve a senior boy, much like a butler. They are called Drudges. He also learns that Clayton serves Lawrence Bluewer, the prefect. The prefect’s drudges hold higher position and are even invited for tea parties hosted by the principal.

Here, Ciel asks about Derrick, providing information that he changed houses from Scarlet Fox to Violet Wolf House, only to receive hostility from his housemates. McMillan explains that the houses are hostile towards each other, due to inter-house competitions, and one is not supposed to inquire about the member from another house. 

As the breakfast comes to an end, Ciel is told to clean the dining hall by the time he’s allotted his senior to serve. Ciel passes on the duties over to Sebastian and leaves for Violet Wolf House, to inquire about Derrick. However, upon reaching there, he’s chased away from the house by members. Ciel returns to find Clayton impressed as the dining hall is shining, thanks to Sebastian. Ciel takes advantage of this and changes his demeanour to match the bubbly and cheerful airs of McMillan in order to get close to Clayton. Through Clayton, he aspires to become closer to the prefects to investigate Derrick’s case. 

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of Black Butler: Public School Arc has begun interestingly. Black Butler is back with its fantastical mysteries and this one isn’t any less. After a long hiatus, it’s back with another demonic showdown! The Black Butler manga has become one of the best-selling manga as of March 2024, and the anime is definitely going to mirror the manga’s popularity. 

This chapter has everything that one could ask for – gothic Victorian public school, dark academia vibes and a curious mystery of disappearing students with Ciel in the likeness of Sherlock along with his infernal Watson. Moreover, Weston College is a microcosm of the Victorian England with it’s obsession over traditions and hierarchy,  a hindrance in Ciel’s investigation.  How is he going to infiltrate the houses? There seem to be hidden secrets involved, will Ciel be successful? There are many questions but for now, let’s meet in the next episode! 


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