THE PREVIEW CLIPS ARE OUT! Yay! But they aren't available in my country! Boo! But I saw them anyway! Hooray!
(Forum thread with all the links: here - many thanks to Spoonbit for bringing it to our attention!)
So, Black Butler II! I hate this anime, I really do. It's endlessly fascinating to watch it turn into the complete trainwreck that it did. What, so Alois gets a happy ending and Ciel just gets frozen in time by becoming a demon? Claude, you are a supreme bastard, you know that? Ughhh.
Although it had most of the characters from the previous season having major yet really annoying personality changes, a REALLY stupid retcon of the first serie's ending, and two of the most unlikeable characters I have ever witnessed in an anime, I... still enjoyed the second season for some odd reason. Maybe it was because Alois and Claude's intentions were never really that clear until the plot really got kicked in the backside around episode 4 or 5, and it just kept getting darker and creepier from there on in.
Anyway! Let's talk about the dub.
The dub, from those four posted clips, seems really good thus far. I actually quite like the English dub of the first season (and for everyone crying out that the accents are fake as hell, I'm English and I think they did a rather good job of it) and I was quite excited to listen to Luci Christian as Alois and Jason Douglas as Claude. Oh, and J. Michael Tatum as Sebastian, and Brina Palencia as Ciel. Four clips have been uploaded so far, so let's check them out!
Clip 1 is the first part of episode 1, during which Alois proves to be a nasty little brat. Unpopping his buttons as Claude is doing them up, giggling like a maniac on his bed, and poking his maid's eye out. Luci Christian is awesome here. Seriously. She fits Alois really well, though my only critique so far would be that she sounds a wee bit feminine. Also, I don't really mind his line changes so much during the scene where he eats dinner with Sebastian.
Claude is the quiet but stern butler of the Trancy household, and Jason Douglas plays him perfectly as well. In fact, damn near matching the voice I had created in my head for Claude. Kind of spooky, really.
Hannah is another new character, played by Caitlin Glass, and... wow. I was really shocked at how good her British accent was! I mean, wow. Not much else to say, really.
Clip 2 was Sebastian grabbing the box of tea that somehow houses Ciel's ring and really bothered me from the very beginning. If Ciel's soul is stored in a ring... then Sebastian just could have left the trunk containing his shell in the woods or something, rather than bring him directly to his arch-nemesis. I don't know anymore. But still, it's well-dubbed and worthy of attention just for the reveal and the fact that Sebastian gets away from his enemies by sliding down the bannister on a tea cart and then jumping on a massive chandelier.
Clips 3 and 4 feature the Alice in Wonderland OVA. Clip 3 is of Sebastian (as the Rabbit), Ciel (as Alice), Lizzie (as the ridiculously squeaky dormouse) and Paula (as the amply-proportioned Dodo). And I was pretty excited to watch it, let me tell you. I love how Lizzie's voice just got squeakier and squeakier. And Clip 4 was... one of the more boring parts of the OVA, if I'm honest. Okay, it's kind of funny that Ciel has to wear that pink and black and white dress that he wore when trying to investigate Viscount Druitt's involvement in the Jack the Ripper murders, but otherwise... no.
Viscount Druitt is the Mock Turtle here, and he proceeds to dance with Ciel for two or three minutes whilst waxing lyrical about love and what have you. Todd Haberkorn voices him, and I have no problem with him, because at least he doesn't sound like Todd Haberkorn in the way that you can instantly pick out the fact that he voices both Watanuki in xxxHolic and Death the Kid in Soul Eater here. I suppose I'm just bitter in that we didn't get to hear Ronald's voice.
Ah well, a good dub so far, looking forward to more developments. Black Butler II is released by Funimation in April, and... Manga UK will probably follow suit six months later. Such is life!