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REVIEW: Black Butler DVD Season 1 Part 2

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Joined: 06 Oct 2008
Posts: 1178
Location: Atlanta, GA
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:33 am Reply with quote
Just try to imagine Ciel and Sebastian's slyly homoerotic relationship without the master-servant dynamics of Victorian society.

Precisely! Ah, institutionalized sexual repression... A veritable pressure cooker for subtext. Wink
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Joined: 16 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:23 am Reply with quote
Not entirely relevant to the review, but speaking of Kuroshitsuji, someone explain to me why the ad for season 1 "part 2" on the main page has the events of season 2 shown as screen caps? I see Alois and Claude, and last I checked, they weren't in the original series explicitly.
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Joined: 03 Jul 2004
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Location: San Diego, CA
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:07 am Reply with quote
The three-episode curry cook-off is pure filler silliness, of the kind that is frankly beneath Butler. (It even has a moral. The horror!)

It's not filler. It's in the manga, introducing Prince Soma & his "butler" Agni. (Final page Chapter 14 which is the last chapter of Volume 3). THis is where the pattern becomes noticable-the master/butler motif we saw with Madam Red & Grell.
While this runs in a shonen magazine, it's basically shojo so there is a lot of detail to things that may be of interest to females such as types of tea served with a particular sweet on a specific service/china. Prince Soma is a chance for the author to dispense a certain amount of the history & politics of India as it pertained to England in the Victorian Era. (Actually reminded me of those strange India segments in Niea Under 7). There's also the contrast of the very young Ciel forced to become an adult vs the older, but very immature Prince Soma.
And since Angela (& Ashe & Pluto) is original to the anime, it didn't play out the same as the manga. In the manga, the Queen's appearance was yet another excuse for a brief history lesson.
Like many filler arcs in anime, this one also seems to borrow from the manga as Ashe seems to be one of the Queen's butlers (John in the Curry segment).
And the child-ghost one-off that follows isn't much better.

Original to the anime.
The series' first half had its fluff too, but mostly for the purpose of introducing Ciel and his associates. These episodes serve no such function.

I was surprised in the anime that Sebastian collected the staff when the impression I got from the manga was that it was Ciel who asked them all to be his servants, just as he hires Prince Soma to watch over his summer house in London.
Oh, & trust me, the Queen is in no way silent in the Curry contest. (Nor is she particularly dignified)
But apart from the Queen none of the grains is particularly essential. And even worse, they don't provide the kind of darkness that haunted even the goofiest of previous episodes.

Lau's little kitty wasn't dark enough? At least we find out what she's for.
The episode features, amongst other atrocities, a strong suggestion of predatory pederasty and a bawdy scene in which Sebastian uses his boudoir skills to interrogate a nun.

Except the the original scene is from the Noah's Ark Circus segment where Spears refuses to allow Sebastian to pursue his usual means of gathering information so he seduces one of the circus performers. (Not sure he actually has sex...He remains in shirt, vest, tie & gloves. He awakens Ciel not wearing his gloves which he tells Ciel he soiled & discarded) I was a bit put off at the idea of Ciel hearing (in the anime). He was asleep in a different tent & seemingly unaware of Sebastian's intelligence-gathering method.
The arc then proceeds to delve further than ever into the grotesque facts of Ciel's parents' murder, in the process giving us our first glimpse of the divine, which naturally turns out to be even more disturbing than the demonic.

Too bad it's not actually been revealed as such in the manga. We still have precious little info on Ciel's parents in the manga.
The chain leading from that backwoods cult to the apocalyptic end-game in Ciel's revenge is a bit disjointed, thanks to the series' structure, and plenty contrived, thanks to Yana Toboso's credulity-stretching coincidences.

Too bad this isn't in the manga. You'll have to blame the anime team for the credulity-stretching. The manga has over 50 chapters (the anime seems to have diverged for the last time around Chapter 23 & the Curry contest)
angels whose obsession with order is more lethal than any evil,

Nothing of that persuasion has yet appeared in the manga. I believe that's one of the things that bugs me about this particular angel-it lives up the the usual narrow-visioned dispenser of punishment we see to often in anime (which often seems to paint demons in a much more favorable light than God. Whether this is thanks to Devilman or the whole Christian missionary thing-loved how it was portrayed in Gokudo-I have yet to figure out. Basically it seems angels don't want anyone to have any fun.)
As ever, whether Black Butler burns you to ashes in the flames of your own nerd-passion or merely diverts you for another five hours depends heavily on whether Sebastian and Ciel provide the spark to set you ablaze. The fantasy of a perfect man—intelligent, attentive, strong, protective, good at cooking—who is simultaneously subservient to and ravenous for a young boy (his soul, you perverts!) is one that will appeal mainly to a very specific slice of fandom.

It's not yaoi.
My interest is that it's the boy/girl & his/her pet demon like InuYasha or Zenki. Like Zenki, Sebastian has more than his share of attitude without running toi the brashness of a certain dog demon. In a way, it's in the same vein as Gigantor's boy & his robot--a young human in control of a being of mass destruction.
Myself, I'm not in it. As much as I enjoy the series' dark ambiance and cheeky meddling with morality, it'll never be more than a passing pleasure to me. But regardless of whether it consumes or just entertains you, Black Butler is still a bloody good time

I'm about 2 eps from the end & the whole bit with Lau is wrong. So is what they did with Undertaker. Thank heaven Lau's still in the manga. Sebastian failing to carry out his duties also deeply upset me. No. The whole boy & his demon thing means the demon does his thing. It's like the Terminator(first movie) not being a juggernaut. It's what it does.
Finished it today.
Read the manga. It really is better.

Sebastian is a demon. The human form he inhabits is not his true form. spoiler[Specifically I find it interesting he can restore his coat sleeve, but not a severed limb?
There is no way Sebastian would abandon Ciel. If Ciel's desire for vengeance should ever waiver, would that not simply mean Ciel's soul would be forfeit?]

All I can say is it totally goes for that Angels are rotten we see so often in anime.
Oh yeah. Only an anime could turn the elderly Queen Victoria as we see properly portrayed (ok, maybe a tad overly distraught over her hubby's demise) in the manga as an old woman into a spoiler[bishojo-or does that count as a loli?]
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