The gothic horror subgenre emerged in the late 1800s. In addition to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker, there were works by Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron, and the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper in our culture at the same time. These literary works and events inspired Yana Toboso, who created a baroque London setting for Black Butler, complete with intriguing characters, beautiful art and music, and just the right amount of action and comedy.
When Sebastian, a devilishly handsome butler (excuse the tasteless pun), falls in love with Earl Phantomhive, the owner of a huge toy company and the Queen’s underdog, their master-servant relationship begins to unravel. If anyone wants to argue about anything, it’s the fact that Sebastian has become so popular as the Black Butler. Although he has a stunning physical appearance, amazing abilities, a refined sense of humor, and an undying love for cats, he is in fact a demon under the control of Ciel. Ciel expects him to serve and fight for him until he exacts revenge on those who wronged him in return for his soul.
The following list is sure to please anyone who enjoys a good mystery, an entertaining relationship between a strong servant and a weaker, younger master, or just some good eye candy. The following list has something for everyone.
1. Pandora Hearts
25 Episodes in the Spring of 2009
In the midst of Oz Vessalius’ coming-of-age ceremony, the heir to the Vessalius Duke House is sent to the Abyss, where life forms known as Chains live. Unless these entities enter into contracts with humans, they will be unable to exist in the real world. There he meets Alice, a Chain who agrees to return him to the real world if he fulfills his end of the bargain. They later join Pandora’s organization, and together with its members, they try to locate Alice’s long-lost memories, uncover the mysteries of the Abyss, and see if there is a way out of this contract without anyone dying.
These two shows have a lot in common, such as arrogant and snobby protagonists who come from well-off families, live in historical London, and have a close relationship with their servants. As in the previous series, these young men enter into contracts with supernatural beings who have mysterious personalities and powerful superhuman abilities. Despite the similarities in setting and atmosphere, Kuroshitsuji is significantly darker than Pandora Hearts. There is great humor in both, as well as fanservice between master and servant on occasion, but Pandora Hearts is a bit lighter in the eyes than Kuroshitsuji’s heavily gothic elements, with a tendency to have more comic relief.
2. Nabari no Ou
26 Episodes in the Spring of 2008
Miharu is a carefree 14-year-old boy who is apathetic and quiet. The Shinrabanshou is a potent ninja technique that many ninja clans strive to obtain in order to become the ruler of Nabari. After countless attacks and kidnapping attempts, Miharu joins his group of friends who have vowed to protect him in order to survive and learns to control his power and take a step closer to becoming the ruler of Nabari.
No matter how different the style appears, Nabari no Ou will remind you of Kuroshitsuji due to the similarities in personalities between Ciel and Miharu As long as you’re into characters who are cold and emotionless, you’ll love the romance between Yoite (the younger of the two) and Miharu (the older of the two). Additionally, both plots revolve around a contractual relationship, and it’s worth noting that the character designs for Yoite and Sebastian share a similar vibe.
3. Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist
There are twelve episodes in the 2013 summer season.
William Twining is a well-to-do nobleman with a sharp mind who enjoys an enviable lifestyle. When he returns home, he discovers that his family has gone bankrupt and relocated. As he searches the house for anything of value left by his ancestor, he discovers an underground room where he summons a devil named Dantalion by accident. The next ruler of the demon world will be chosen by Dantalion, who now reveals to William that he is in charge of making that decision.
With overconfident, intelligent but ambitious and shamelessly arrogant rich little brats, you have contracts, demonic butlers and supernatural events with a gothic aura. There is also fanservice and fighting scenes from time to time. If you combine the great gothic art style with the good comedy and humor elements, this pretty much sums up both shows. It’s clear that the premise of Kuroshitsuji is more sinister than that of Makai Ouji, and one major difference between the two main protagonists is that William is more cynical than Ciel, which provides more material for the overall plot’s comedic moments.
24 Episodes in the Winter of 2010
The exchange program between Japan and Saubure, a small European country, sends Kazuya to a prestigious academy in the early twentieth century. As he wanders the library one day, Kazuya stumbles upon a botanical garden where he meets Victorique, a small blonde-haired girl with extraordinary foresight and the ability to solve even the most difficult and dangerous mysteries. They begin working on a variety of mysteries, applying their specialized knowledge to each one.
There are a lot of mysteries and crimes to be solved in both shows set in Victorian times, but there are also horror elements sprinkled throughout the stories. Despite the fact that Gosick has a sidekick and Kuroshitsuji has a ruthless butler (excuse the pun yet again), both have a menacing atmosphere and stunning art. Look no further than this anime for an experience similar to Kuroshitsuji, but with a loli tsundere instead of a hot butler!
5. Death Note
37 Episodes in the Fall of 2006
Light Yagami is the protagonist of the story, who discovers a black notebook labeled Death Note. According to the text, whoever has their name written on the book’s pages will perish. He takes it upon himself to purge the world of evil with the help of the death god Ryuk, but his actions will not go unopposed.
Death Note is well-known to anyone who has read Kuroshitsuji, but just in case, I’m writing this for the stragglers among you. Both have a dark atmosphere with mysteries and detectives as well as supernatural entities that serve as central characters in the plot, so the similarities may not be immediately apparent. It’s a different era, but Ryuk and Light have a connection that feels familiar to fans of Sebastian and Ciel. If you exclude the fanservice between Light and Ryuk, the dynamic between the two duos is very similar. You have no idea who is good and who is bad.
Manga, anime, film, and television adaptations of Death Note character Light Yagami
13 Episodes Aired in the Fall of 2001
In order to eradicate the threat of vampires roaming the earth, Hellsing was formed. Alucard, a vampire, is the organization’s best agent and reports directly to Integra Hellsing, the group’s leader. Until he takes pity on a young girl named Seras and accepts her as a new member of the organization, no one has any idea who this mysterious figure is fighting the dark arts.
As compared to Kuroshitsuji, Hellsing is more violent and serious. Alucard and Sebastian share a lot in common due to their amazing fighting skills and supernatural abilities, making them very similar characters. As Alucard is far older than Kuroshitsuji, one could compare him to Sebastian’s father. Integra and Ciel have similar personalities in that they both come from hardworking families and are unyielding in their pursuit of their goals no matter what it takes. Hellsing, on the other hand, has a darker, bloodier tone, but regardless of the differences in tone, if you enjoy one, you’ll enjoy the other as well.
103 Episodes aired during the 2006-2007 season
An akuma is a soul that has been resurrected by Millenium Earl using sadness and despair. Those who belong to the Black Order have vowed to purify the akuma’s souls and gather the ephemeral substance known as ‘innocence.’ There is an exorcist named Allen Walker who has been sent in to fight against the Millennium Earl. Allen has an innocent-looking arm and a cursed eye that can see the suffering souls within Akuma.
Kuroshitsuji’s focus is on uncovering the truth behind Ciel’s tragic past, whereas D. Gray-man is on the lookout for a way to thwart a global conspiracy that threatens to end the world as we know it. Despite their differences, these shows are strikingly similar due to the Victorian era, action and comedy, demons, and other supernatural elements. Their dark tones and lack of lighthearted humor are similar, but D.Gray-man is able to get more character and plot development because of the show’s longer episodes.
8. Inu x Boku Secret Service
12 Episodes in the Winter of 2012
A well-known and wealthy family has raised Ririchiyo Shirakiin. After being shielded her entire life, she decides to venture out on her own and moves into Maison de Ayakashi, a high-security apartment building that houses a strange population of people who are half-human and half-youkai. Her new residence also stipulates that she must have a bodyguard with her at all times. Soushi Miketsukami, her new companion, is handsome and quiet, but he can also be creepy and overly dependent on her. It appears as though she’ll have a difficult road ahead of her.
Ririchiyo is a terrible communicator with a venomous tongue she can’t control. What about the character Ciel comes to mind when you think of this? They’re both about a demon who serves a child from a wealthy family, but Inu x Boku SS features a romantic relationship between the servant and the master, whereas in Ririchiyo, the servant is a youkai. Despite the fact that they both deal with supernatural events and contracts to achieve ‘greater goals,’ Inu x Boku SS is more lighthearted and humorous than Kuroshitsuji (which is perhaps a little bit darker).
9. Darker Than Black
25 Episodes in the Spring of 2007
While on various missions to bring the Contractors under control and learn more about the “Hell’s Gate,” a Chinese contractor codenamed “Hei,” a member of the Foreign Affairs Public Security, is featured in the narrative.
I’m not sure why these shows remind me of one another to this day. I think it’s because Hei and Sebastian have a lot in common. Although the shows are set in different time periods and have different charismatic male leads with supernatural powers, you’ll enjoy both shows for their character designs and exciting action sequences. One could argue that both series are thematically preoccupied with figuring out what it means to be human and deciding between good and evil.
Season 1: Spring 2005
12-year-old Red Ritsuka has lost both his memories and the love of his mother. His only ally and protector, his brother, was brutally assassinated. Agatsuma Soubi approaches him on his first day of school, claiming to have known his late brother. As it turns out, Agatsuma and his brother used to be a fighting couple, and now that his brother is dead, Agatsuma has inherited Ritsuga. Together, they look for answers about what happened to his brother before he was killed.
Loveless is a shounen-ai title, so those who aren’t into those kinds of themes should probably avoid it altogether. Despite the fact that Kuroshitsuji isn’t shounen-ai, the romance between Ciel and Sebastian will have you thinking of Ritsuka and Soubi’s relationship. Aside from their divergent stories, the protagonists in both films seem to share some traits. As they have lost their families and are searching for answers or vengeance, Ciel and Ritsuka are the same age, stubborn, tough, and determined. Also, Soubi and Sebastian have a lot in common: they’re cool under pressure, loyal, obedient, and incredibly strong. Soubi and Sebastian are exactly the same, save for the fact that Sebastian is a butler with a darker disposition. Because of their shared trauma, the two main characters in these stories form an unbreakable bond, and while Loveless attempts to show an ambiguous take on what it means to be loved, Kuroshitsujias does an excellent job of showing the true nature of humanity.
11. Because he is one hell of a butler.
I made a concerted effort not to use too many butler references when writing about Sebastian, but it was impossible to resist. In spite of the fact that Kuroshitsuji has been on television for a long time, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the show. This anime is unbeatable because of the chemistry between the two leads, Sebastian’s sexiness, the incredible atmosphere, and the great quotes from the cast. As a result, if you’re anything like me, you’ll love everything on this list. If you have any additional suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.