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Episode Review: Black Butler: Book of Circus


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Stark700



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
Posts: 11743
Location: Earth
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:02 pm Reply with quote
Besides a few aspects of fillerish moments, I find the season to be fairly enjoyable. I think most of it comes from the fact that it remains faithful to the manga for the most significant parts. Not only that but it does a decent job at balancing the comedy and the serious moments.

The latest episodes got pretty dark too. Shame this is only 10 episodes though...but I definitely enjoy this show so far. Can't wait to see Book of Murder too.
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britata348



Joined: 25 Mar 2011
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:01 pm Reply with quote
great review Smile On point for most of it!!

I did notice though, that you used the pronoun "he" for Grell, even though the Grell identifies and calls herself "she" and the manga-ka has confirmed that Grell is a trans woman. Might be something to be more conscious of.
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SailorTralfamadore



Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 497
Location: Keep Austin Weeb
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:16 pm Reply with quote
britata348 wrote:
I did notice though, that you used the pronoun "he" for Grell, even though the Grell identifies and calls herself "she" and the manga-ka has confirmed that Grell is a trans woman. Might be something to be more conscious of.


I haven't read the manga, I'll admit, but I was under the impression that Grell did not have a canonical gender: http://grellsgender.co.vu/ And Grell seemed to be referred to as male in the English dub that I watched for the first season, so that was the impression I was given.

I try to be careful about trans characters and pronouns, especially since I've spent so much time writing for the LGBT media. But Grell isn't really a character that I think is particularly important here. If Grell is a trans woman, she is a pretty bad stereotype of one: after all, the main part of why Grell wants to be female is to be able to bear children. Just about every trans woman I've ever talked to finds that a really offensive and harmful idea of what it is to be trans. Anime has plenty of more respectful portrayals of trans people, including trans women (e.g. Peppo from Gankutsuou, Isabella from Paradise Kiss). By contrast, the way Grell came off to me was more like that common media stock character of the flamboyant, cross-dressing, man-crazy queen, that as an LGBT person I don't find a very progressive portrayal of us. Fun! But not accurate or progressive.

But that's just my take. I'm cis, so I'll try to be more sensitive to what trans people have to say on this in the future.
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KENZICHI



Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 1077
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:22 pm Reply with quote
SailorTralfamadore wrote:
britata348 wrote:
I did notice though, that you used the pronoun "he" for Grell, even though the Grell identifies and calls herself "she" and the manga-ka has confirmed that Grell is a trans woman. Might be something to be more conscious of.


I haven't read the manga, I'll admit, but I was under the impression that Grell did not have a canonical gender: http://grellsgender.co.vu/ And Grell seemed to be referred to as male in the English dub that I watched for the first season, so that was the impression I was given.

I try to be careful about trans characters and pronouns, especially since I've spent so much time writing for the LGBT media. But Grell isn't really a character that I think is particularly important here. If Grell is a trans woman, she is a pretty bad stereotype of one: after all, the main part of why Grell wants to be female is to be able to bear children. Just about every trans woman I've ever talked to finds that a really offensive and harmful idea of what it is to be trans. Anime has plenty of more respectful portrayals of trans people, including trans women (e.g. Peppo from Gankutsuou, Isabella from Paradise Kiss). By contrast, the way Grell came off to me was more like that common media stock character of the flamboyant, cross-dressing, man-crazy queen, that as an LGBT person I don't find a very progressive portrayal of us. Fun! But not accurate or progressive.

But that's just my take. I'm cis, so I'll try to be more sensitive to what trans people have to say on this in the future.


Isn't BB dubbed by Funi? Because they did the same thing with Chrona in Soul Eater. English has no gender neutral pronoun like in Japanese so they decided to use 'he' instead of 'she' because it was the best choice. I'm sure it was the same for Grell.
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SailorTralfamadore



Joined: 25 Feb 2014
Posts: 497
Location: Keep Austin Weeb
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:14 pm Reply with quote
Actually, in looking at the Tumblr I linked above a little closer, and the sources they provide, it doesn't seem to me like the Black Butler mangaka ever "confirmed" that Grell was a trans woman per se. In addition, I'm not sure if maybe this is a translation error because I know Japanese deals with pronouns a little differently than we do (I don't speak Japanese), but they say:

Quote:
Yana Toboso...continues to use a male/neutral pronoun for Grell and the statement about desiring a sex change was written in Grell’s voice and could be attributable to either onee-kotoba or the media misportrayal as gay men and trans women being one and the same


So to me the proof seems to be on the side of Grell using male pronouns, and along with the fact that that's what, iirc, the dub uses as well as the way most of the fandom conceives of Grell, that's what I'm going to use for now. Along with what I previously noted about how Grell seems to line up more with media stereotypes of flamboyant gay men than anything approaching a respectful portrayal of trans women.
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Tallis Latif



Joined: 30 Aug 2014
Posts: 36
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:53 pm Reply with quote
Pretty sure the standard is just to go with whatever they identify as, but that's besides my point.

I'm a guy who started with the manga long before the anime started. That's why I had detest for the anime's original run from the first episode. I felt that way because they added a lot of stuff that felt like it went against the spirit of the manga. They had a freaking hot spring in England and had the adorable queen from the manga become that.

As for Book of Circus, I wouldn't even call it a new season. It's an adaptation of the third big arc of the manga after the curry competition. The continuity was so messed up by the first two seasons that to do Book of Circus they had to either start over or reintroduce everything throughout the season, which they chose the later. I feel they intended to make it possible to understand what's going on without needing to watch the first two seasons or at least make the continuity differences clear to those who did.

I'll go ahead and say I love Book of Circus. It's faithful even when it adds things. The animation is atrocious at times as the review said, but the artistic direction they had with the episode titles and the OP makes me happy enough to forgive them. Though I'm likely too easy to please as long as they follow the source material.
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Brizent



Joined: 01 Sep 2014
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:04 am Reply with quote
This season has been pretty good, I liked the first season when I watched it last year and this is definately a decent continution of it. Didn't watch the 2nd since everyone bashed and for some bizarre reason it didn't even follow the manga which at the time I was considering reading.

The only problem i have with it is that until the last 2 episodes the episodes were weirdly slow on plot development considering the season is only 10 episodes, also the first episodes I feel was misused yea they were easing into it but notinh much happened, it was alright but unecceassty for a continuation of a previous that you would only be watching if you were a fan

Also I love watching the servants fight so the secon half of 8 was the best part of series for me
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1080
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:32 pm Reply with quote
A agree with this point by point, especially about the music and animation quality and the story this season. The highlight to me so far has been when they kidnapped the little girl. That scene was beautifully done. (I still haven't watched the last two episodes though.)
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Tallis Latif



Joined: 30 Aug 2014
Posts: 36
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:16 pm Reply with quote
From the first two season, the only episodes that take place in this same timeline are 1-6 and 13-15 of the first season. Though the curry arc is still kinda off. That's why the word continuation is an odd choice to me. Maybe only watch those episodes before Book of Circus to avoid confusion.
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1080
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:55 pm Reply with quote
Episode 9

I didn't see Ciel's burning of the children at the end as him preserving his revenge. I saw it as him cremating them because they were dead already. I think he identified with them.

This season has become something terrifying, and I found little humor or camp in the episode, aside from Grell who is nothing but. They made us care about these characters and coldly killed them point blank in front of us. No one in this anime is good, matching Ciel's philosophy, but most of them aren't entirely bad, and I felt terrible for all of them, for their lives and pain.

But this Sebastian, he is evil, like the manga. Ciel is like the manga as well. Season 1's were too kind. Season 2 is best ignored. This season, though, is a nightmare. The tale might be Faustian, but I see no hope of saving Ciel. He is damned.
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DmonHiro





PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:53 pm Reply with quote
Wait... people actually CARED about the circus crew? They were horrible people. Absolutely HORRIBLE people. Only the snake charmer deserved any sympathy, all the others are burning in anime hell as we speak. They had NO redeeming qualities. As Ciel said, it's perfectly fine to sacrifice others, but IMO, don't expect any sympathy if you go that route.
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Thespacemaster



Joined: 03 Mar 2012
Posts: 857
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:01 pm Reply with quote
DmonHiro wrote:
Wait... people actually CARED about the circus crew? They were horrible people. Absolutely HORRIBLE people. Only the snake charmer deserved any sympathy, all the others are burning in anime hell as we speak. They had NO redeeming qualities. As Ciel said, it's perfectly fine to sacrifice others, but IMO, don't expect any sympathy if you go that route.


Apparently you are quick to judge, look yes they were bad people and yes what they did was unforgivable, but you have to understand they did not choose that path, faith was simply to cruel and they were forced into that path, true u could argue they could have escaped from it but there were other things holding them back, so in a sense this is more of a tragedy than true villainy
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DmonHiro





PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:48 pm Reply with quote
Wrong. They may have been forced to walk down that path, but they sure as heck were not forced to keep to it. Their stupid excuse that they were doing it to save others is just that: an excuse. They never even checked to see what was happening at said "factory". You could argue that they all had psychological problems (and some of they did), but there's not much of an excuse for doing something you know is wrong, and could change. How many children did they kidnap and had killed? Dozens, I believe. And for what? For the perverted (literally) pleasure of their savoir. TBH, I'd sooner forgive him then the circus crew. He was clearly insane. He did not realize what he was doing was evil. Heck, I'm not sure he realized anything much at all, since when Ciel was about to shoot him, he yelled at Joker not to harm Ciel. When Ciel was visibly upset that those children died, the count seem honestly shocked and sad that Ciel did not enjoy the show. On the other hand, Joker and the other knew they were doing evil, and kept doing it anyway. I don't care about their horrible past, since I do not believe in the "forced onto evil" motivation.
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Tallis Latif



Joined: 30 Aug 2014
Posts: 36
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:46 pm Reply with quote
No such thing as wrong for opinions, just facts. They likely never could have known about the workhouse because they were so busy "defending" it. At the end of the day, even though they knew what they were doing was wrong, they had good intentions behind committing them. Their added justification could have been that the ones they were protecting were societal outcasts similar to themselves who were never given a fair chance. Society never allowed them happiness, so they may have seen it as fair to take it for themselves

Personally, I really liked all the circus members. On the everyday side of Black Butler's world, they were like a caring family. It was that same positive trait that motivated their evil in the underworld. Their lives were a fleeting beauty as they graced the circus stage. It's sad to see the magic disappear, a tragedy that such wonders had to be built on such ugly sins.
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1080
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:57 pm Reply with quote
^^ They were human, and were shown as human. Yes, they did unforgivable things, but the monsters they became were created by those who treated them as they did and as such they deserved pity. So yes, I cared about them. I wished they could rise above what they'd become. I wished they hadn't been used by someone so cruel and led to believe that the evil they did was okay in his service. I wished they'd live in our time, when they wouldn't have been so abused.

They did bad things, but I understood their decisions every step of the way and I hurt for them even as I wanted to stop them from hurting others.
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