basilmemories: (Scholarly pursuits.)
basilmemories ([personal profile] basilmemories) wrote2010-09-18 02:23 am


So, watching the last episode of the series subbed was magical, not going to lie. But also I have feelings on how fandom and my friends/flist is reacting to it. Spoilers for the series and whatnot.

So long story short, Ciel is a demon now. And Sebastian got screwed over, Hannah and Alois won, and Claude had a mixed ending. Yeah. That just happened. The bad guys pretty much won in the end.

One of the big things that people had an issue with was that more or less the Phantomhive household got railroaded by the other side and that it’s Ciel’s story and it’s terrible storytelling and so on. And in a way that’s true. Normally these are Very Bad things to do in a work of fiction. However in a way because I’ve read/seen the series it felt cathartic to me.

Look at the series as a whole. The story is about Ciel, his powerhouse of a demon, his clumsy-but-powerhouses of his servants, and how they steamroll over anybody that goes up against them. You get a taste of it with madam red, and it never really ends differently. Curry contest? They either join Ciel’s side or die. Circus arc? Massacre. The Sherlock Holmes arc doesn’t really hold much interest to me because I knew who was going to come out on top, (hint, it’s not the people who are up against Ciel and his gang). As much as I love the series, the biggest twist is wondering who among the antagonists are going to die and who’s going to join up with Ciel. Considering that the Circus arc was long enough that the characters got even more depth it stands out. It’s not that Ciel and his household are the main characters, it’s that there are fully-fleshed out characters who aren’t on his side… but Sebastian and Ciel run the show and railroad them.

So series 2 is an inversion of that. Sebastian and Ciel, who normally pretty much hit their obstacles like a storm once they get everything set in place, get hipchecked hard into a wall and never stop getting steamrolled. Everything from the first episode to the openings show that the antagonists are going to be difficult, they’re not going to go down easy. They might even win. That real possibility of the bad side winning kept me watching even when I felt the dire need for alcohol. On top of that previously Ciel and Sebastian have been kind of Karma Houdinis. They go in, things happen, people get killed. Ciel might feel bad or Not Be In A Good Place mentally, and the arc ends. Does Sebastian ever get taken down a notch? Nope. Yes Ciel has to deal with his actions, but it’s a private matter, in the manga he doesn’t have to answer to anybody but the queen and himself. In the second season their actions have some weight.

Another one of the comments was that Sebastian didn’t really deserve getting messed with for an entire season, and I’d like to respectfully disagree. In the series he makes a deal with Claude to throw Alois under a bus and lie to Ciel while he’s doing it, just so he can get a tastier soul. Now if anyone deserves a good bussing it’d be Alois, but he’s still deceiving Ciel nearly all of the series. Either he doesn’t tell him about the memory issue, or he falsifies a new enemy for Ciel. If this were the manga he’d completely get away with it and probably have Claude’s head on a pike as an added bonus by the end of the arc. However here not only does Ciel find out what’s going on in the end, but Alois bites back in the best way possible. In the end Ciel is screwed with a lot, but he gets immortality and a demon body out of the deal, and someone who’s forced to buttle around for him for eternity.

On the same note Alois gets the most complete revenge available. Not only does he make Claude and Sebastian feel what it’s like to truly want something they can’t have, but he gets a note of begrudging respect out of Claude and ends up with people who seem to care about him. In short, Alois wins everything. He also gets messed with, rejected, killed, rejected again, mocked, and in general had a shitty life up until he got his demonbutler. So did Ciel, mind you, but he had a few bright spots and Alois didn’t get a couple of seasons/chapters to become the powerhouse that the phantomhives became. In fact even when Alois was making people suffer they still pretty much were interested in Ciel, he never got the “convert or die” thing going for him.

While we’re at it that IS my big issue of the series. Ciel’s soul is supposed to be this shining, gossamer thing untouched by darkness? Uh, no. If we want to look at a real “competent innocent child in control of a demonic servant” then we need to look at Garcia and Roberta from black lagoon. Garcia starts out as innocent, but as the show goes on he grows little tiny shota balls of steel and sets out to rein in his rampaging servant. He retains his faith in people, but he learns that the world is a harsher place and that sometimes terrible things happen. He isn’t exactly pure by the end of things, but he’s a great deal better off then Ciel. Meanwhile Ciel started out a little broken and it’s been getting worse as the manga has gone on. He’s fine with being a little dark, it’s not that Sebastian thinks his soul is pure or anything, it’s that Ciel is interesting and he likes messing with him. To use a candymaker analogue, if Ciel is the delicious piece of nougat dipped in dark chocolate, then Garcia is the fruit candy with a bit of chocolate sprinkled on top. God I’m hungry now.

But I’m fine with people having a issue with the second series. If for the manga and the first series it’s been mostly the magical adventures of Butler and Phantomhive, then darn it, that’s what people expected out of the second series. Yeah you can say “dude the series trolled everyone for the entire show”, but people were expecting a battle where Ciel won and then they all sit down and had foodporny deserts. Or he got his soul munched, or something. What I’m having problem with is the sheer amount of table flipping going on with my friends. I honestly feel bad, like I’m one of those “bad fanbrats” who doesn’t get how I should hate the ending and if I do then I don’t have taste. It’s not just my flist, I’ve had full-blown conversations with some of my friends over gchat about how they hate the ending and that they’re judging me for liking it.

Moreover it makes me feel very uncomfortable playing in any games where there’s a manga/2nd season anime split. There’s no less then three characters I’d love to play, however I feel a bit like it would be difficult for the rest of the cast. I’m not saying “I feel unwanted” because the kuroshitsuji cast I know are wonderful people that always make you feel welcome if you bring up an issue. If I got in I would feel like they’d try to accommodate me and be just as nice as they always are. They’re my friends for a damn good reason. However it would be “difficult”. I’d always feel like I was stepping on their toes or tagging them when they aren’t fond of how the series went. That’s why I was glad that Alois wanted Ciel as a means to an end (-with benefits) and that eventually he found a way to resolve things with Sebastian. I didn’t want every tag to be “the latest adventures of how Alois tries to fuck X over”. I didn’t want to be the pain in the ass to the cast. Apping into the game when the cast wants the rivalry and shenanigans to occur is awesome, apping into the game when people have a genuine dislike for some things makes me feel horrible and like a douche.

So after all this I’m vaguely glad that life intervened and I never finished my app. If I had got in and read up on things it would have been amazingly awkward, this way I got interrupted by forcible socialization with my friends, a little more work, reading plenty of books, I got art done and figured out a new shading method that makes me feel proud of myself. Nope I don’t play a new character in the internet, but I avoided some stress and a stressful voting. And that’s not too bad at all.
unicorn: a unicorn skull. (Default)

[personal profile] unicorn 2010-09-18 07:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Personally, I'm pretty sure I know whose app is up in cfuvote right now, and I look forward to playing with their Alois! What bothered me about the end of the series is that it fucked Sebastian and Ciel's relationship up, pure and simple. I feel like Sebastian's decision to make the deal with Claude was hugely ooc for his manga self, which I obviously had opinions on! But I was willing to roll with that for the sake of the story.

For me, Black Butler isn't a story about Ciel getting consequences for his actions in the sense of being owned or feeling bad! It's a Dr. Faustus story - he made a contract with a demon so that no one would get in his way. The consequence inherent in that is his own damnation, and how he handles that drives the story forwards; it wouldn't be heartbreaking if repentance wasn't usually an option in these things. At the core of that is his relationship with Sebastian, who represents both his weakness and his GOING TO HELL. (Sebastian is a fully realized character in his own right, but that's his role in the Faustus play.)

...and they screwed that relationship over! I seriously can't figure out why they would do that. It's the heart of the Black Butler story.

I'm glad you didn't app too, if you'd have felt uncomfortable playing with us! But I also know that at least 3/4ths of the cast loved the anime-original characters and only had issues with the way the anime finale played out between Ciel and Sebastian at the end, so... um?! /o\

unicorn: a unicorn skull. (Default)

[personal profile] unicorn 2010-09-19 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
Part of the reason why we thought the second season was lolariously bad was because stuff like Sebastian making a deal with Claude happened, I think! Because it is OOC. Though I can totally see manga!Ciel shooting someone, honestly.

We disagree vehemently on the undercurrent of wrongness not being there in the manga, then! I mean, vehemently. Part of the reason I play Sebastian the way I do is because I see him as an entirely terrible creature with no regrets. I think Sebastian loves Ciel in his way, but I've also told people "all of Sebastian's genuine emotions increase the mean amount of evil in the universe by a measurable amount," and I think I'm thoroughly backed up by the text there. I do like Alois's storyline too, though!

I really wish the Trancy household could've been at center stage, yeah. I think Ciel and Sebastian are both capable of total ruthlessness, but that's not what I saw in their anime storyline. I saw a lot of stupidity, inconsistency, and badly-covered plot contrivance.

I... wasn't watching the show as an extension of the manga, but the characters that they turned Ciel and Sebastian into were not characters I enjoyed, and the whole thing as a package ended up being bad storytelling centered around people I didn't like very much who we were repeatedly told were the characters I so enjoyed. I was in that chatlog, and I feel totally justified in feeling the way I do about it. Not to say that anyone shouldn't enjoy the anime or the anime only characters - because I certainly enjoyed the anime only characters! I'll love playing with them if the rest app into camp! But it wasn't Black Butler for me.
unicorn: a unicorn skull. (Default)

[personal profile] unicorn 2010-09-19 04:47 am (UTC)(link)
THIS MAY JUST BE BECAUSE I'VE POSTED TWICE IN TWO DAYS but I can't figure out when you're talking about the manga and when you're talking about the anime here! So I don't know how much I agree with you. XD;

I mostly meant plot contrivance in the way of - in order to get the anime into the shape they wanted, ie CIEL GETS ALOIS'D etc, the characters had to act in ways they wouldn't - Sebastian making a deal with Claude, for example. That kind of contrivance is way less acceptable to me than OH ROCKS FALL THE CHARACTERS REACT IN AN IC WAY. And sure, I'd love to discuss the anime with you! Your opinions on it definitely have merit!

What honestly upsets me, though, is that you didn't go "hey gaiz I honestly liked some of this" and talk to us about it! You also didn't bother to ask us if apping Kuro II would step on any toes or not! You assumed we were hating on the series in all its elements and then later went "oh, well, I'm sure glad I didn't app if that's how you guys are going to be ^^" in a separate journal entry, POST APP NIGHT. I'd be lying if I didn't say I had feelings about that.
unicorn: a unicorn skull. (Default)

[personal profile] unicorn 2010-09-19 05:15 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for that.
harukami: (Default)

[personal profile] harukami 2010-09-18 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)

I enjoyed the anime until the last episode, at which point I was just frustrated, disappointed, and let down. The characters have no resemblence to those of the manga any more; their motivations, driving reasons, etc, are gone. Their major emotions have been altered. They are basically now just wearing a shallow core of apparent personality. And because, yeah, a show apparently about the main character of the manga, who is characterized by a driving need to make worse and worse decisions to justify his previous ones and who is being slowly driven mad by his own action, and who represents a failing faith in humanity which he knows he's a part of, and thus in himself? Was instead characterized by the main character, since around episode 3, not making any single decisions.

The end of the show disappointed me.

That said, I liked Alois. I never mentioned it to you because I didn't want to discourage you or anyone else from apping, but I had been interested in apping Alois somewhere myself before I realized how popular he was and how many people would want to. I like Claude too. I've known up front that since we play from the manga they won't recognize him, but that doesn't mean he couldn't creep all over them, and that is what I like best about Alois.

I'd like to make it clear that my problems with the anime? Are how they handled the source material by basically a) making the characters who came from the manga react OOCly and b) centring around a protagonist (protagonists) who end up completely unable to take action. I would have loved, as I've said many times, a show entirely about Alois. When they decided to troll us all and be NO IT IS ABOUT CIEL AND SEBASTIAN? Well played, Kuroshitsuji! Now make it about Ciel and Sebastian -- what? No? They're just going to be props for the story to act on? All the way through to the end? That did not make for a happy Haru.

The things you say about Sebastian not deserving it and doing so because of his actions? I agree, in context with the anime, and this is part of my problem with it -- in an interview, the anime writer outright said the part of Sebastian she most wanted to stick to was that "Sebastian never lies". And then she based the entire plot around Sebastian lying. This, among so many other little things, is why at the end I just threw my hands up. There's no consistency between what they say they're presenting of the characters, what they ACT like they're presenting of the characters, and what they do present. Sebastian accepting to remain Ciel's slave forever at the end is based entirely on his sense of the butler's aesthetics ("After all, I am still a butler to the core") but he has abandoned his butler's aesthetics repeatedly throughout the anime and the anime never acknowledges the times he does this. It's to the point that what they are showing and telling aren't in alignment at all and that drives me fucking INSANE and has throughout much of it.

Frankly I think the original anime scenario writer really doesn't understand Ciel and Sebastian's characterizations, and this is a building thing that left me outraged by the final episode.

Basically, here's my position on this. You might not like that the manga is characterized by Ciel and Sebastian always coming out on top outwardly while Ciel is being slowly dragged downward spiritually and Sebastian finds that hilar. And that is totally your perogative and cool. But if the manga is characterized by this, making a series all about them being passive mcpassivepants who never once come out on top over anyone for more than a brief second is doing it wrong. The whole thing struck me as reactive fanfic, willing also to make them ooc to help their 'thesis' along, rather than, like, an anime series about the same characters.

tl;dr: doin' it wrong. Hell, the whole thing about Ciel's pure soul was something that made me laugh hysterically because the whole thing in the manga is really about Sebastian corrupting Ciel's soul to best fit his tastes, really. He's building up anticipation and making himself hungry and enabling Ciel to be the agent of his own downfall and that is the best thing ever to Sebastian. Getting his 'revenge' isn't supposed to be a big thing by nature, it's just a representative thing of Ciel, and instead it was made into this weird "a soul that has got its revenge is super pure now" which is like... the opposite of the revenge message that's being developed in the manga, which is "maybe you can come out on top of all your enemies every step of the way, but you're ruining yourself in the process." It's about becoming the worst type of human being -- that's what Ciel's breakdown at the end of the Circus arc means, with his "I'm human, I'm human".

I liked Alois's storyline, and Claude's storyline. I liked them a lot and I would have watched an entire series about it. But they didn't make an entire series about it, unfortunately, they mixed in elements that I feel they fucked up badly. So I get the "But I’m fine with people having a issue with the second series. If for the manga and the first series it’s been mostly the magical adventures of Butler and Phantomhive, then darn it, that’s what people expected out of the second series" totally, yeah,e xactly.

But I hope you also see WHERE I'm coming from? I liked the second series AS A WHOLE. But they never recovered from their fuckup of storytelling and characterization and managing to actually represent the series' elements accurately. They never brought things together. The ending was unsatisfying to me. Even the original side -- I was happy for Alois that he could smile at the end, happy for the concept. But it came down to the show/tell for me and the whole thing with Claude accepting him a touch, I couldn't 'buy. What they showed me was Alois screwed over by Claude so thoroughly that I didn't buy Claude's abrupt deathbed turnaround when they gave it, what, one line of dialogue to "tell" us it. I was happy that Alois got Hannah in the end, fuck yes, but this weird eternal foursome thing she had undercut those elements for me instead of supporting it. MY FEELINGS ARE SO MIXED HONEY. I wanted to like this series so much and I enjoyed so many elements in it but at the end I was just left feeling like they sewed it together haphazardly and didn't write it well.

You can totally love it wholeheartedly if you want. THAT IS FINE. I love many things wholeheartedly that other people dislike partially, completely, only a little -- whatever, in varying degrees. And that is cool. And I don't disrespect you at all in that. I would never say you shouldn't like it, or to look down on you for doing so. I would never be upset at you apping any character from it -- fuck, the anime-only characters were AWESOME. It was how they handled mixing the anime-only characters with a plot revolving around a badly-handled manga-original characters that left me cold.

But yeah, we're excited about the possibility of characters coming from the anime. I've defended the characters around the internet/in gchat myself! They are awesome. I would never want to make you uncomfortable, and you would not end up being any kind of "pain in the ass". Haha Zazzle actually GOT OUT OF BED because she saw an Alois app was up, you know? And I know you say you know we won't react that way but it's our dislike of the series that'd make you uncomfortable. I want you to understand that I love the characters, but I am extremely disappointed with the storytelling in the anime for a whole variety of reasons, between "not getting" it, bad establishment of showing us what was happening and telling us other things were happening, a plot that had a number of holes and reliance on behavior ooc to the characters as described/originally established (first season did this too, haha). I ENJOYED IT IN A VARIETY OF WAYS A LOT and would probably watch individual eps again. We watched ep 1 5 times when it came out and rewatched the first eight or so eps twice recently. But the end of it just left me cold. I'm used to enjoying it in a HAHA THIS IS SO CRAZY WAY. Ciel being melded with Alois? OKAY THAT IS INSANE BUT PASS THE POPCORN I WANT MORE OF THIS GIMME. ...but none of the last ep worked for me on that side either. The last ep didn't have a lot of 'fun' to it? It was the quirky side of the anime that I'd been enjoying a lot. BUT YEAH NO IT. Please do not judge my disliking of the ending as disliking elements of the series, or that it'd cause any trouble in play at any point on MY side. I tableflipped over a long run of the first season too, but the last half of the last ep to that one was AWESOME and characterized by AWESOME MOMENTS. This one had a lot of sitting around and talking. BUTLER DUEL was the most exciting part.

Arrgh I'm rambling but here's what it comes down to: The execution of the concepts failed for me. I loved the concepts and I loved the new characters. And, well

Apping into the game when the cast wants the rivalry and shenanigans to occur is awesome, apping into the game when people have a genuine dislike for some things makes me feel horrible and like a douche.

We totally want the rivalry and shenanigans to occur. Those were the parts I can guarantee we genuinely loved. I genuinely loved a lot of this series, hon, which is why the ending bugged me so much. So many of the rivalry and shenanigans were genuine, both shown and told. But along the way it started to slip more and more apart in those areas for me.

Anyway. That's it. Please understand what I'm saying here! Which is that I am frustrated with elements of it but liked the series enough to watch it to the end because those elements aside, it was a lot of fun. Only then, the ending was rife with those elements that frustrated me to nearly an exception of anything else :/
harukami: (Kuu-chan is not into this buttfuckery)

[personal profile] harukami 2010-09-18 07:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh god sorry about that icon, I forgot it was my default and I didn't click the log-in ticky until after I'd posted ;;

[personal profile] harukami 2010-09-19 04:06 am (UTC)(link)
A friend in the Kuro cast? I thought the only two other members of the cast weren't watching the anime. I'm sorry to hear it, though.

I was watching it for all of them! But that meant I wanted to see all of them come off well. You may notice that all the tableflipping at the end was about Ciel and Sebastian and their treatment int he series -- because that's the part that bothered us. The rest was more or less fine and in keeping with the rest. The rest was enjoyable mocking, or didn't GET any mocking because we were busy watching it instead.

We did mock the characters the entire time. We thought they were hilarious though. It was loving mocking on our part! I'm sorry fi it came off otherwise to outsiders? But Zazzle and I watched the whole thing BECAUSE we were enjoying it and loved the characters -- we stop watching series we don't enjoy very, very quickly. Which is part of why the ending was such a disappointment to us.

Ciel mentioned why she wasn't betaing, I believe, in the beta post? Because she wanted to be fair and partial during the voting. For me, it was a similar reason -- of the three people who I KNEW were apping, all three of you were people I LIKED VERY MUCH and I didn't want to feel torn between it or cause any hard feelings. Which looks like a failed goal. :( Also because I've been super busy at work and cutting back on my betang, and with rare exceptions only do betas when friends ask me these days. Please, in the future, if you're worried about it, go ahead and ask us! One of the Alois appers did and we worked out some details that worked okay for all of us with her plans and it was hunky-dory. We are always happy to talk instead of -- well, if you are going to have problems with us, again, please talk to us instead of assuming. :( BEcause assumptions do lead to misunderstandings like these. We LOVE Alois. We love Claude too, that jackass spider. And if you want to app anyone else, AWESOME.

(idly and somewhat ot but my favourite characters were the triplets. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE, TRIPLETS, I LOVED YOU!!!)
harukami: (y halo thar)

[personal profile] harukami 2010-09-19 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
OH I AM RELIEVED TO HEAR THAT even though that still sucks :(

I just wanted a satisfying ending that worked for ALL of the protagonists of the series. And what really scrambled my egg is I got the impression the series THOUGHT this is what that was? like they were TELLING us look this is awesome rite and showing us soemthing that DID NOT WORK and also did not make really any plot sense (how did Ciel become a demon!? Has that ever been implied to be possible or is it random Greek Fire? HOw could Hannah break SOMEONE ELSE'S contract anyway and yet have it intact at the end? etc etc) and I was just like b-but. BUT!!! I know the log bothered you, but throughout it we basically lisetd the stuff WITH Alois and Claude as the only awesome stuff and Hannah as badass if problematic and just -- we were let down by the fact the last half focussed on something that just. Did not work for us.

Yeah she meant that as an IC joke and did mean the excited too :( And yeah! I talked with you about that and I remember it, but I meant about betaing or further thoughts and concerns and stuff.AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.

(Claude is hilarious. Claude hit peak Claude at DEAL WITH IT and then god teeth brushing and tatting lace and THIS SOUL IS GOOD I was laughing FOREVER. and the triplets with their posters.)

[personal profile] harukami 2010-09-19 04:55 am (UTC)(link)
YES THAT WAS IT EXACTLY I hope that explains it better. Too many things added up so when the end of the series was like BASED ON ONE I had to flip some empty tables with empty teacups on them.

Zazzle hates, like, nothing. This is 100% truth. I have never seen her actually dislike anything. AND SHE IS ALSO VERY APPROACHABLE so if in the future one of her jokes seems off toyou, feel free to ask her, because she will never, ever be upset by it. Promise.

(I WILL MAKE ONE FOR YOU tomorrow though, I am doing a sabra game right now haha.)
sherlockian: (Default)

[personal profile] sherlockian 2010-09-18 07:52 pm (UTC)(link)
This almost makes me want to watch the series. Except for the fact that every time I tried to read the manga I got hideously bored and annoyed by all the characters.