These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Black Butler
Arc Fatigue: The arcs of the manga keep getting longer, the Circus arc being decent enough in length. The Campania arc was longer, the Weston College one was worse because it also included a Tournament Arc in the middle of it. And the current Werewolf arc seems to really overstay its welcome.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Happens a lot with Ciel; some people think he actually cares about others, and other people think he does not care at all about others or even hates them. Part of this is due to his extremely different personalities in the two canons (manga Ciel and anime Ciel have a lot of differences). This also happens with a few other characters, but to a lesser degree.
There are some people who genuinely believe that Sebastian is losing himself to his butler persona and becoming more human and less cruel.
Finny's backstory includes him being locked in a stone room and experimented on for an undetermined amount of time. The amount of times he complains about this? ZERO. This may be because he has come to terms with the fact that it's all in the past now, and can't hurt him any longer. Why do you think he fights so hard to be the very best gardener he can be for the Phantomhive family? He will do anything to keep experiencing the glorious outdoors he was denied for so many years.
Every character with a Dark and Troubled Past is subjected to this except for Ciel. Ciel's other servants are a mild example, as well as Madam Red were it not for the fact that her past drove her to become a serial killer and the circus kids.
Grell as well, to some. She's a MtF transsexual and everyone in the series is rude towards her (including using male pronouns constantly). She doesn't seem to care at all, though. Though you have to wonder if she'll ever give up on her "true love", Sebastian (who repeatedly and often violently turns down her affections).
Base Breaker: Maurice Cole, and his storyline in the manga. On one side it's seen as a humorous little break from the story, especially because the previous arc was action-packed. People on this side tend to believe Maurice is an interesting, good looking character that you're meant to Love to Hate, who's unique and complex in his own right. On the other hand, people view his storyline as a complete waste of time that provided absolutely nothing to an already slow plot, view the whole "unmasking the beautiful, popular student as a hideous, make-up wearing bully" as trite, overdone Wish Fulfillment, consider the character a Complete Monster for what seemed like the orchestration of an Attempted Rape, and would prefer to ignore his entire existence.
Episode seven of season 2 seems to have caused this for Ciel. Fans are divided between those who approve of his murder of Alois, like him better for it, and feel it was perfectly in line with his character and those who feel he went past the Moral Event Horizon and either actively dislike him or can't decide how they feel.
Is Elizabeth's reveal as a Badass a good character saving moment or descent into Mary Sue-dom? People are either welcoming of the Character Development to downright ecstatic (to the point of Memetic Mutation, see below). However there are also SEVERAL tl;dr paragraphs on how stupid/personality-less/ Lizzie is. Lizzie herself has had flak for this from the beginning, though, with people either viewing her as a Shallow Love Interest who's annoying and has no redeeming qualities, or fans of her who think she's cute, provides refreshing comedy, and is necessary to Ciel's character. Of course, it does seem as though a lot of her detractors are Seba/Ciel shippers...
Sebastian and Ciel, the main characters, are also both notorious base breakers now, particularly for those who are reading the manga and have gone through nearly 100 chapters of little to no character development.
Broken Base: Team Phantomhive and Team Trancy. The manga lovers and anime lovers.
The Weston High Arc. The already dwindling fanbase seemed to have lost a sizable chunk with this arc, with people proclaiming that Toboso Jumped the Shark after the Circus Arc/Campania Arc (usually the former) and that this arc was predictable, boring, and incredibly awkward, what with the Attempted Rapethat's never spoken of again and the unnecessaryAlpha Bitch storyline that some deemed was pulled right out of a 90's high school TV drama...the manga has yet to recover from this ordeal.
The length and arc-based nature of the manga has become a problem as well. Some fans love it and want more, others find it more tiresome than Naruto and want the plot to develop already, etc.
The complex moral ambiguity- or lack thereof- is a little too complex for some readers, who dropped the entire series after Ciel murders a group of innocent children who he was supposed to rescue from the man who kidnapped and tortured them. Some fans think this makes the series even darker and more interesting, some fans prefer protagonists who aren't as willing to commit atrocities.
Angela Blanc/Ash Landers in the latter half in the first season, while they to present themselves as well-intentioned, it's very obvious that both are extremely perverse, Angela being a dominatrix going after everything that can move including a transforming dog, fusing Ciel's parent's together as an abomination they'd later use to try and murder him, toss their loyal doll minion like trash and faithfully turning little girls into dolls, trying kill the cultists who had been loyal to them once they served their purpose, manipulating the queen into planning a world war, only to leave her to die and sacrificing the population of London to create a barrier bridge against demons and empowering themselves. No wonder Sebastian calls them fallen.
Lord Trancy from episode 8 of season 2. He has a bunch of boys captured and made into his sex slaves right up until he dies of old age. He even gets rid of those that are "broken", calls the boys "dolls", and beats them. He's the reason why Jim Macken/Alois Trancy (the Sole Survivor among those poor boys) is...the way he is.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Some things may appear rather squicky to the reader, but less so when they consider the time period. Back then, it was quite understandable to see even young teens drinking wine or similar. First Cousin Marriages were also quite common back then, especially when it comes to the line of nobles.
Die for Our Ship: When it comes to pairing up Ciel, you either go with Sebastian or Elizabeth.
Sebasitian and Ciel are sometimes downright glorified in fanon for their dastardly deeds, and people seem to have forget the crap that Druitt pulled upon first appearance (though it's probably because he's become nothing much more than comic relief by this point). We can also add Undertaker and Claude to the list.
Madame Red often goes through this treatment. While she has a rather sad backstory, most fans tend to ignore her rather brutal murders as Jack the Ripper and view her in an oddly positive light.
Grell. Many people seem to forget and forgive that she was one half of Jack the Ripper, and that she murdered Madam Red.
Grell. Her popularity is hugely disproportionate to her screentime in the manga.
Ronald Knox can now be this.
Undertaker as well.
The seaweed in the Hamlet OAV is an in-universe example.
Cosplaying as Madame Red can catch a ton of eyes in public, so it's very off-putting when one watches the anime to see that the humorous, cheerful, strong-willed, attractive and motherly aunt is revealed to be one of the villains and dies within that same episode very early.
How some fans are treating Kuroshitsuji II due to its writing problems.
Many fans, particularly those who are big on yaoi and pairings, seem to treat Grell as a male, although this is possibly more due to the fact that Grell's status as male-to-female is only confirmed by Word of God.
Other fans consider the entire anime to be discontinuity.
Foe Yay: Grell attempts to have this with Sebastian in her first appearance in the anime and only (so far) appearance in the manga. Sebastian appears torn between being sick or requesting a restraining order.
Also between Sebastian and Angela/Ash.
And, as of Season 2, Alois Trancy to Ciel. Ciel is not entirely sure how to react to the former. Episode 6 of Season 2 shows enough between Claude and Sebastian to match up with the two.
Freud Was Right: Not as prominent in the manga, but the anime version of Ciel's subconscious definitely had some choice words for Vincent.
Growing the Beard: The manga was very episodic until the circus arc, in which the story drastically improves
Harsher in Hindsight: In episode 9, Finny mentions the fact he accidentally killed his pet bird when he was younger. It becomes even harsher when we realise the bird was probably his only friend when he was used as a guinea-pig.
In the Japanese version of the kidnapping arc, the mafia boss has a line where he threatens to sell Ciel to a brothel. Guess what Cielís Dark and Troubled Past included? Being sold into slavery. Same thing applies when the Viscount Von Druitt tries to auction off Ciel and he even mentions that some of the prospective buyers are interested in occult sacrifice.
Het is Ew: A large portion of the fanbase. Unsurprising, considering all the Ho Yay in the series. This is part of why some of the fanbase refuse to believe that Grell is a transwoman.
I Knew It: A vocal minority of fans spent much time attempting to reassure the rest of the fandom that A-1 were trolling the fanbase and that Ciel and Sebastian would return in full capacity, despite the announcement of the new master and butler. Guess what happened when episode 1 aired?
Some fans were guessing that Alois was cross-dressing to meet Ciel after a preview for episode five. They were right.
In the murder mystery arc in the manga, a lot of people speculated that Sebastian was not really dead; they were right. Some others also speculated that a snake would be used to commit one or more of the murders; they were also right.
One person on this site's WMG page predicted that if Ciel gave up on revenge, he'd be breaking the contract, and Sebastian would be free to devour his soul.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks: The second season, after it was revealed that Ciel and Sebastian will return. A few fans would have liked it to be independent from the original duo.
Jerkass Dissonance: Most fans seem to completely ignore Grell's ruthless and sadistic streak and tend to portray her as something completely different.
Jerkass Woobie: Ciel can be seen as this, since he doesn't mind killing or hurting anyone who gets in the way of his plans, but at the same time, he is portrayed very sympathetically, usually because of his horrible past.
Alois. He has a horrible past, and as a result, the only person he depends on for happiness is Claude, who openly admits that he honestly does not care about Alois at all, and just stays by his side so that he can use him to obtain Ciel's soul, despite the fact that most of the horrible things Alois does to people is mainly just because he wants Claude to pay attention to and care for him. "Hey... you look like you're seeing maggots squirming in a dung heap..." God knows what he's going to do now that Claude doesn't even pretend to care about him any more. And in episode 8, Claude says "A soul such as that...is certainly unfit to sustain me," referring to the fact that Alois actually feels love for him and Claude finds that disgusting.
At the end of season II, even Sebastian can count as this. That look on his face when he realized that he'd have to serve Ciel for all eternity and will never be able to eat his soul was absolutely disheartening for some fans.
Alois: Although he spends most of the series as The Chessmaster mostly because of his immature mannerisms, he graduates to this level when he makes a contract with Hanna detailing that she gets Sebastian and Claude to fight for the ownership for Ciel's soul. And the winner... will be screwed over when they find out that Ciel's soul can't be consumed because Ciel has become a demon.
Marty Stu: Sebatian could be considered this, but it's justified since he is a demon. Ciel sometimes wishes Sebastian would fail at something, purely for the humor of it. Though the justification is for naught in the second anime, where all of the other demons are quite flawed. Except for Sebastian.
Most cosplays of Ciel are of that pink dress he wore as "Robin".
Alois' outfit has more or less reached this status by now.
Memetic Sex God: Sure, everyone loves to get touchy-feely on Ciel, who has had his own Stalker with a Crush since he was seven years old, but if you are in-universe and don't have a thing for Sebastian, you don't have a pulse. Or Abberline. Anime-wise, even the dog and an angel want Sebastian.
Everybody wants Undertaker to bury them. Everybody.
Misaimed Fandom: There are a lot of people in the fandom who ship Sebastian and Ciel and want them to live Happily Ever After. This is despite how Word of God has emphasized that Sebastian is a demon who only wants to eat Ciel and that Ciel does not trust him. Still, with all the Ho Yay going on between those two, it's hard to blame the fans.
Some people took the infamous scene in which Ciel vomits and Sebastian lovingly cradles his head while smirking as a sign of love and affection on Sebastian's part and still rejoice in it to this day despite how utterly devastated Ciel was at that time. Because of all of the Fanservice piled onto this series, a lot of fans tend to not realize how pivotal some scenes really are simply because of the sexy factor.
Moe: A lot of characters, in both male and female varieties.
Moral Event Horizon: As of episode 8 of the second season, Claude has crossed it, for many people.
A minority of fans believe that Ciel crossed it when he ordered Sebastian to burn down a building full of children, and then ordered him to kill Doll.
Baron Kelvin dismembering children's body parts for the purpose of being beautiful like Ciel.
Narm: The line from episode 15 "This is not your fault. She is possessed by the evil spice" is impossible to take seriously even in context. The same is true for much of the episode.
No Yay: Baron Kelvin's unhealthy obsession with Ciel.
The sex scene between Sebastian and Beast may be considered this, since most people would prefer him withCiel. There's Serious No Yay for some non-shippers as well, due to the stilted and unfeeling nature of the scene. Same goes for the similar scene in the anime between Sebastian and the nun.
And the strongly implied sex scene between Alois/Jim and his "father" the Earl Trancy.
Everything about the late Earl Trancy and his "doll" collection.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: A lot of fans didn't like Elizabeth for being a Satellite Love Interest. Then it turns out that she was Little Miss Badass all along.... Only to be thrown right back in; she's still the most hated character, & after the manga revealed that their relationship implied first-cousin-incest, they saw her character as all the more pointless, especially when Ciel is not expected to live long enough to marry her.
Ship Sinking: Done in episode 7 of the second season in regards to the Ciel/Alois and Claude/Alois ships when Ciel stabs Alois in the stomach and tries to stab him in the head but is stopped by Claude (though he struggles with Claude and Sebastian in an attempt to get back to Alois's side so he can kill him) and when Claude proceeds to completely ignore Alois's pleas for help after getting a taste of Ciel's blood. And in episode 8 Alois practically confesses his love for Claude who smiles and holds his face tenderly before crushing his skull.
Though, the Claude/Alois ship seems to be at least partially restored in episode 12.
The anime showed Grell getting a crush on Undertaker in the anime. Shortly after, they met in the manga & developed an instant dislike for eachother after Undertaker scratched Grell's face.
Stoic Woobie: Ciel. Overlaps with Jerkass Woobie. Despite the things he has been put through, he usually doesn't complain about them and always tries to keep moving forward. Though, there was one time in chapter 34 where he appeared to snap.
Lord Kelvin, Grell, and Ciel's tailor aside, it should be mentioned that the writers sometimes seem to go out of their way to add as much Ho Yay as possible between Sebastian and Ciel, especially in the anime. Unfortunate Implications, much?
Finding out that Lizzy is the daughter of Ceil's aunt.
The moment between Beast (manga or the Nun (anime) & Sebastian evokes "Het is Eww" with many fans. Alternatively, it's creepy because he's manipulating them so well- the manga even has nondiegetic lines about how demons seduce people into darkness by playing with their weaknesses.
Alois and Claude are heavily implied to have a sexual relationship. Alois /Jim has a rather squicktastic way of relating to the men in his life.
Claude kissing Ciel /Alois's foot. Even Ciel /Alois was creeped out.
Every single scene involving the Earl Trancy in season 2. "Another doll broke?"
Baron Kelvin too.
There are also way too many loving pans of Ciel's prepubescent body for some readers' comfort. Particularly in chapter 62, dearLORD...
In the anime, there's one scene where Ciel is taking a bath. He stands up to read something Sebastian handed him, and the camera pans down for no reason. The scene changes before anything explicit can be shown, but still.
The heavily implied "Parental Incest" Alois endured. It turns out the man really wasn't his father, but it's still extremely gross.
Angela Blanc is heavily implied to have slept with a HellHound. The fact that it was in human form at the time does not make this any less gross. This is one of the first signs they are not the innocent, harmless person they pretend to be.
Flashbacks to Ciel's Dark and Troubled Past are never fun, and they're clearly supposed to be horrifying. In the anime the flashbacks are worse because in them Ciel is always naked (even when making the contract with Sebastian he's only covered with a blanket). It gets worse- when one (anime-only) character who happens to be an angel calls Ciel "unclean" we get a flashback to him naked, being held by several people in a kneeling/bent over position, and then Ciel reacts to the accusation with shock and horror.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Finny. Grell as well, in both butler and reaper form. Alois is also fairly common, and Ciel for some, as well.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The series has Seinen or Josei written all over it, but is published in a Shonen magazine. It includes violence and gore, murder, child abuse, sex, a few instances of heavily implied attempted rape (and in the anime, rape), pedophilia, and questionable dialogue. If you're looking for more lighthearted stories about them living in the mansion and solving basic mysteries, like the first part of the first season, you are in the wrong place.
The Woobie: Hannah could be considered this, due to Alois's treatment of her. Subverted when she is revealed to be a demon, and could easily fight back if she wanted to. It's implied she actually enjoys the attention.
Margaret Turner, the potential Jerkass Woobie. Sure, she's nuts, but seeing her put down so much, makes you wonder if she had a good reason. There's no real justifiable reason for brutally killing innocent newlywed women.
Madame Red fits this trope to a T at first; her horrific deeds as Jack the Ripper kind of nullify her Woobie status. At the very least, they push her into Jerkass Woobie territory.
Soma, to some.
Almost all of the circus performers.
Even Lizzie to some.
Whether or not Ciel qualifies as a Jerkass Woobie is a HUGE topic of debate. And of flame wars.