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Black Butler: Public School Arc
Episode 7

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Black Butler: Public School Arc ?
Community score: 4.2


I wasn't a huge fan of the previous cricket episode, but despite still not understanding how the game works (is it like baseball crossed with croquet?), I found this one much more enjoyable. In part, that's because all of the devious plots come out. While lacing someone's pie with Victorian-era laxatives was relatively tame, this episode shows off the myriad contingency plans Sapphire Owl House came up with to ensure their best shot at victory—and they're an interesting mix of anime classics with actual intelligent forethought.

The former is, of course, Sebastian's plan to put underdressed ladies directly in the strikers' line of sight. He's not wrong that boys sequestered in an all-male environment might be more susceptible to the sight of female limbs (although Victorian porn was a thing, even at classy boys' schools) but he doesn't appear to take into consideration that everyone present at the match would be equally scandalized and distracted; these women aren't even as covered as a woman in her underwear, which typically went to just below the knee. (So did bathing costumes, if you're curious.) It's more shocking that it took a few missed balls to get someone to take the ladies away than that the trick worked, and honestly, we didn't need Maurice's revenge tacked on to it because of the sheer impropriety of the entire situation. Still, it was entertaining and I like that you could tell that the women weren't wearing any supportive undergarments.

Interestingly, the more devious plans appear to have come from the human mind of Ciel rather than his contracted demon, though. Using Sapphire Owl House's skills against their rivals makes a lot of sense, and clearly, the power of math and physics is greater than that of athletic prowess. But it's that final tactic that's striking, in perhaps more than one sense of the word. Bluewer's unconventional bowling technique does work to throw the first few strikers off guard but what it's setting up is Ciel's bid to use his own body as a distraction. No, I don't mean he puts on a skimpy Chinese dress (although that would have worked, too)—the entire segment of the episode does a beautiful job of showing how everything is in service of getting a bat very, very close to Ciel's head as the striker tries to follow the ball. Did the bat naturally hit Ciel in the head? Or did Ciel put his head in the bat's way to ensure maximum bloodshed? I tend towards the second, if only because it shows how far Ciel is willing to go to get to meet the Head Master.

But it's also in line with the sort of machinations we've seen in this series: it's Ciel using his physical appearance to manipulate others' perceptions. Maurice was the great practitioner of this art but Ciel's been playing a similar game since he landed at Weston. Ciel has played up his adorable appearance and youth to get close to the major players at school, and now he's relying on those memories to make him look pitiable in the eyes of all of the spectators. His hands are covered in blisters and bruises, as no nobleman's hands should ever be, and his clothing is spotted with dirt and blood, indicating how hard he's been working. When he's hit in the head with the bat, he lets out a yowl of pain loud enough for everyone to hear and blood immediately begins to stream from just above his hairline. Is it real blood? That could go either way, but it at least looks real enough to freeze all of the Green Lion House players, including their leader, who is panicked at the thought of having injured a younger boy. Even if Ciel wasn't injured, it's a brutal tactic that plays on the emotions of everyone involved to secure a win at all costs.

It's a good thing, too. As Sebastian realizes, finding the Head Master is no easy feat, and the implication at the end is that like our beloved butler, the Head Master may also be too good to be human. And if Weston is being run by an inhuman entity, it's all the more imperative that Ciel finds those missing boys… unless it's already too late.


Black Butler: Public School Arc is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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