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Black Butler: How can you best watch the gothic Victorian mystery anime?

Things get dark and gruesome pretty quick.

Black Butler featured image
Image credit: A-1 Pictures

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The Black Butler anime has had a long, strange broadcast journey. Parts of it were made before Yana Toboso’s manga had finished, resulting in a vastly different story from the original comic. Later seasons and films would eventually retcon those anime-only segments out of continuity, making it a confusing journey to watch the show.

Despite its unusual history, Black Butler remains classic anime primarily due to its rich, gorgeous animation and unique style. Set in Victorian-era London, Black Butler follows Ceil, a 12-year-old noble who forms a pact with a demon to help him track down his parents’ killers. In exchange, the demon – named Sebastian – will be allowed to consume Ceil’s soul. If you’re wondering how to get started with the Black Butler anime, our watch order is here to help.

How to watch Black Butler without filler

Black Butler Public School arc characters
Image credit: CloverWorks

Filler in anime typically refers to material that is not present in the original manga. Unfortunately, Black Butler is rife with that. Because the first two seasons were made before the manga finished running, the producers had to take the story in their own direction. That means that the anime was forced to create entirely new characters and storylines. The result is large parts of the anime being non-canon to the manga.

If you want to watch Black Butler without the filler, here is your best bet:

How to watch Black Butler in release order

Black Butler Sebastian
Image credit: A-1 Pictures

Though so much of the anime can be relegated to non-canon status, the rest of Black Butler has some really fun moments that are worth watching. If you want to explore the world a bit more, you can watch the rest of Black Butler in release order. The downside to watching these extra episodes is that from the third season – known as Book of Circus – onward, no references to any non-canon portions of the anime are made so there are some big, unanswered plot threads to deal with.

Where can you watch Black Butler?

Black Butler season 3 screenshot
Image credit: A-1 Pictures

Despite being one of the most popular anime of its time, it is surprisingly difficult to watch the Black Butler anime on streaming services. At the moment, it exists in something of a limbo – it recently left Netflix in most territories but hasn’t been added to the Crunchyroll streaming service yet. Other than the Book of the Atlantic film, you can’t stream the Black Butler anime on any major streaming service.

That is due to change, however. Crunchyroll previously said that they had acquired the rights to stream Black Butler and would be adding it to their library sometime in 2024. Until then we just need to wait and be patient.

What’s next for Black Butler?

Watch on YouTube

For the first time since 2017, we’re finally getting more Black Butler anime. On April 13, 2024, the fourth season of Black Butler will debut. Covering the Public School arc from the manga, it will continue the trend started in Book of Circus and disregard the non-canon portions of the story.

Despite not currently having most of the anime in their streaming library, these new episodes are due to stream on Crunchyroll outside of Japan. Hopefully, it is a sign that they will be adding the rest of the series shortly so we can binge it all at once.


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About the Author
Trent Cannon avatar

Trent Cannon

Contributor

Trent is a freelance writer who has been covering anime, video games, and pop culture for a decade. (He/Him)
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