Ani-view: Black Butler, Part 2

And here’s Part 2!  Okay, like a lot of the fans of the original Black Butler, I was kind of excited for Black Butler II when I found out about it.  It was going to be just as good as the first one!  Or so I had been led to believe.  The first episode begins with introducing us to the clearly disturbed, childish, Alois Trancy.  Alois is a pale comparison to the unbending and very mature, Ciel Phantomhive.  And his butler, Claude Faustus, is once again, just another copycat of Sebastian Michaelis.  Now, being that Sebastian is only one enterprising demon, hungry for human souls; it would stand to reason that there are other enterprising demons, hungry for human souls out there in the world.  But, would they really be living just a county over?  To top it off, Alois’ entire household is comprised of demon servants: the maid, Hannah; and the Three Whispering Bellboys.  That puts the newcomers at an unfair advantage over our favorite 19th Century in-service servants: Bard, Mei-rin, and Finny.

After that, the character explanation for why Alois Trancy behaves the way he does, is rather weak.  Yes, he lost his baby brother; yes, he was kidnapped by a sick old man and abused.  However, you would think that the combination of all those events would have led to a more subdued villain.  Hell!  He wasn’t even the real villain of the story!  That turned out to be Hannah!  Alois should have been so emotionally scarred by everything he went through, that he would withdraw inside a shell.  Live within a bubble, never acknowledge the real world, and not be an active part of London society.  And, another faulty fact about him, if Claude made him believe that Sebastian had been the one to take the soul of his brother, Luka, his obsession would have been with Sebastian from the start.  He wouldn’t have gone after Ciel as a smoke screen period.  Why, you ask?  Because Alois is not a smart character.  Never was.  He would have targeted Sebastian from the very beginning without really hiding his motives.  Why again?  Because he’s NOT Ciel Phantomhive, who is infinitely smarter when it comes to tricking/trapping someone.  Instead, they really made you think Alois’ beef was with Ciel.  Which it wasn’t.

I could rant a little while longer about the ineptitude for this anime to capture the creativity and magic of the first season, but, it’ll just come off like I’m whining.  Which, we all kind of did when we compared the second season to the first in our minds.  Let me just put it to you this way: I wish I could unsee the second season, and forget it existed.

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Ani-view: Black Butler, Part 1

So, the next anime I started watching was Black Butler.  My brother mentioned that he had watched one episode of this anime in a video critiquing class at his arts school, and said how the concept of a demon butler was interesting.  Needless to say, I went to Tekko one year, found the DVD, and bought it.  I was curious myself, but I wanted to watch it in English.  I know so many people say if you don’t watch it in Japanese, you can’t appreciate it fully.  Bullocks!  I appreciated it more because I didn’t have to quickly read what they were saying, then glance back up to see what they were doing.  Call me a wuss, I don’t care.  Besides, I’ve met several of the actors for the English dubbed that I really can’t watch it in Japanese.  But, I digress…

The first episode perfectly introduced each character without giving too much away of their past: the almost begrudging master, the mischievous butler, the clumsy maid, the hap-hazard gardener, the inexperienced cook, and Tanaka (that about says it all for that character).  Ciel Phantomhive is a serious young boy, who rules his mansion with an iron (but merciful) fist.  Sebastian Michaelis is his ever ready and capable butler.  He’s too perfect in every way; doing other people’s jobs for them, saving their lives, etc.  Mei-rin is the bumbling maid, who has her eyes on Sebastian; always gushing to herself how handsome he is and so on.  Finny is the gardener, who loves the outdoors, but… that’s about all he does.  He can’t actually garden because he doesn’t possess a gentle enough aptitude for it.  Bard (short for Bardroy) is the cook who wouldn’t even get hired to make microwave dinners.  He is incapable of making even a sandwich, and likes to eat things he’s told not to (by Sebastian).  And then there’s Tanaka, who just sits there, laughs lightly, and drinks tea.

The first episode shows the Phantomhive household preparing for and hosting a visitor all the way from Italy.  Every conceivable disaster occurs: the dinner falls through, the gardens are a mess, the dishware is broken, and then some.  Sebastian, using his ever quotable, “If I can’t do this much for my young master, what sort of butler would I be?” line, fixes everything without breaking a sweat.  Ciel Phantomhive is the perfect host, with his staff (almost) being the perfect servants.  At the end, it is revealed the man is a charlatan, a scammer attempting to get more money from Ciel for a failed factory.  For all his planning, he winds up with a broken leg, and in an oven.  He barely escapes, crying for his mother.  Ciel chuckles and then Sebastian puts him to bed.  Sounds normal (head shakes).  The entire series was enjoyable, but as the title says, this is only Part 1.  Obviously, they attempted to remake the magic of the first one in a second season, which… well, that’s an ani-view for another day.

And on that note, it’s been real!

“Come & Tell Their Story Again”

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am working on a new novel.  The last novel I wrote was completed my last year of high school, but obviously, editing needed to be done.  I’ve worked on only minor projects since then.  The first three novels I wrote took up a lot of my time; that’s not chump change, that’s precious seconds, minutes, hours of my time devoted to something.  I knew that the next novel I did had to mean something, not just to me this time, but to other people.

A few months ago, my brother played me a song (I may have mentioned it) called “The Last Stand” by the Swiss rock band, Sabaton.  It is a song about the 189 Papal Swiss Guards defending the retreat of Pope Clement VII in the 1527 Sack of Rome.  42 soldiers survived only because they went with the pope.  The other 147 were all killed, but not before butchering close to a thousand enemy troops.  Their brave leader was wounded, and begged to see his wife before he died.  His men got him to the house where she was staying, but mercenaries followed them.  His wife tried to protect him, but she was injured while his enemies hacked him to pieces before her eyes.  I was moved when I looked up the whole history behind the event; what little we know.  Documents were destroyed by the German and Spanish soldiers, and many relics taken.  It was an utterly devastating event, that took the lives of thousands of Roman Catholic citizens.

Since I decided to do this, I have tried to find what little books I can about those Swiss Guard specifically.  Not much.  I had a doozy of a time trying to discover all their names.  Luckily, I knew a cardinal, and sent him a letter, asking for help.  He gave me viable leads, and I will use them to get the names of all the guards, as I would like to list them at the end of the book.  I think it would be some justice to them to recognize what they did.  They were brave men, who stood their ground against an overwhelming force.  We remember Thermopylae because of what 300 men did.  We recall the 194 rescued men of the Lost Battalion and their desperate attempts to get home.  Why can’t we remember 189 men who fought and died on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica?  I want to bring that back and tell a little known story about true honor and courage.   Bravery is not men fighting a fight they know they can win.  Bravery is fighting a fight you are certain to lose, but you do it anyway.  Why?  Because if you are fighting for a cause you believe in, then it’s the right thing to do.

And on that note, it’s been real!

The Talk… No! Not That Talk!

The talk happened!  With the coworker who messed with me… it happened last Thursday evening when I went in to the office.  I asked her to step into the chart room for a private chat.  In there, she asked about my personal leave, and I told her it had been cut short.  She asked if I had been the one to ask for shorter time off.  As if!

I told her, “No, I didn’t.  They denied me my leave because we didn’t have coverage.”

“Well, they had the other girl.”

“But, they didn’t have you.”  She seemed befuddled by that and I told her my leave was denied because she was out of the office, and they wanted me to stick around for three extra weeks and cover for her.  She was surprised.  Nobody had told her anything the entire two weeks I was gone from the office.  Not a peep!  She told me that she had informed our manager of her extended leave in March of this year.  I made a face and she insisted that she had.  Except, when I was scouting out my school and had basically found out when my program started (around that exact same time of year), and told my manager, she did not say a thing about her being gone.  Not once did it pop up in the many conversations we had about my departure from the office from full-time to part-time.

I had some pretty exact dates that I gave to my manager.  And not once did she say, “Oh!  The other girl is leaving from June 21st to August 21st.”  And, that is something you tell another person very early on.  I didn’t tell her that I didn’t believe her, and I plan to check up on that fact with my manager when she gets back from vacation.  I informed her that her very, Very, VERY long trip cut my time off short.  I said that I never took off longer than a little over a week EVER in the entire three years I worked at the office.  She already had me beat within the first year of her employment.

I said I was working in the back now as an assistant, and was only at the desk on Mondays.  I had school and my other job, and was not going to be involved with what she was doing that much.  She seemed fine and apologized to me for what her vacation had done to my leave.  I ‘accepted’ the apology, but mostly because I wanted the conversation to be over, so I could get back to the operatories.

I still don’t trust her as as far as I could throw her, and I want to find out from my manager if she really did inform her that far in advance; or if she was simply just prepared that far in advance.  I am not covering her ass, and I told her to not ask too much of the other girl because she has a one-year-old boy, who needs her attention.  Basically, I gave her a light warning.  Well, in two weeks, I’ll ask my manager and find out the truth.  Until then, I’m assuming she bullshitted her way through half our conversation.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Quizzes, Tests, & Life

Now, this is only my second week of school, but since it’s an accelerated program, there is a test or a quiz, or both every two days, and sometimes every day.  Our teacher has been good about going over all our tests and studying each question and answer thoroughly before she hands them to us.  We go over the homework together and all complain equally about how the book frequently doesn’t have half of what’s on the paper.  All of us, except one.

The first time I saw this woman, I thought, “Wow!  She’s already pissed and the class hasn’t even started yet!”  Then I realized she just suffered from ‘resting b*tch face’.  She’s not mean or anything, she just looks annoyed about something all the time.  And apparently, she has a reason to be.  While I was sitting in the computer lab at lunch, taking a test/survey online, my teacher sat next to me.  She told me that she had a discussion with some of the senior faculty and staff about how anti-social and irritated my fellow classmate has been.  We’ve offered to go over the same homeworks together, but she doesn’t join us.  She then asks us questions about that homework after we’ve all finished and turned it in.  Which is slightly annoying.

When class was over and done and she had packed up and left, my teacher told all of us that she did not do well on the three tests we took today.  Apparently, the rest of us all got in the A range of grading, except for her, and she was not happy about it.  But, she doesn’t study with us, and we don’t know if she even studies at home.  Now, there have been times where I forget to study, and I’m cramming it in right before the paper is put on my desk.  But I’ve still got A’s, and that’s what my teacher and the school are looking for.  It was kind of sad, but she is disconnected from the rest of us and chooses to be that way.  My teacher said she felt bad, but she didn’t want us to feel obligated to bring her into our circle anymore if she didn’t want to be there.  When our modules start getting harder, it will feel like that one saying: “You don’t have to out run the bear; you just have to out run the other guy.”  She will become that ‘other guy’ to us, but it’s her own fault.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Because I Don’t

Remember when I said that I was going to have that talk with that stupid girl who pissed me off when I went into work on Tuesday night?  Well… that talk didn’t happen (yet).  The reason being was by the time I got there, my doctor had started a procedure and I didn’t want to miss anything.  I put my gloves, safety glasses, and mask on, and went right back to his operatory.  She was sitting at her side of the desk when I arrived, but I didn’t have the time to acknowledge her existence.

I came up to the front desk a little later to check to see if the next patient had arrived.  That was when I said hi to my former trainee, but ignored her.  I didn’t really have the time to talk her/was too happy to ruin my evening by talking to her.  After she left, I asked my trainee if she commented on my ignoring her.  She said that the stupid woman had asked if I was mad at her.  Really?  You haven’t been told yet?

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that none of the girls have told her how she screwed up my plans and how pissed I was by that.  I am very surprised the tongues have not been wagging at the lunch table or in the chart room.  I guess everyone figured I wanted to be the one to burst her happy/naive bubble.  I wonder if she’ll try to corner me tonight when I come in?  Possibly.  She’ll ask if there is a problem between us, and I’ll have to explain in simple terms that… yes… there is in fact a problem.  I’ll interrogate her, ask her if anybody did whisper anything while I was gone, and if not, I’ll just shine the lamp in her face and do it myself.  If she gets upset by my honesty, then she can cry me a river and build a bridge over it.  Because the water isn’t under mine yet.

And on that note, it’s been real!

I’ve Got It Good

So, my first day back to school started out a little crazy because I had forgotten that I had a quiz… or two… plus a chapter test to take after Labor Day.  Needless to say, I was freaking out on the inside, but calmly asking (like everybody else) to go over the material before we took it.  My teacher (the sweetheart that she is), agreed and went over everything in detail.  When we finished and she handed us the quiz, I could feel my heart beating rather wildly.  However, despite my trepidation, I completed the quiz in record time and turned it in.  After a few minutes, she returned it to me with 100% grade!  Yay for me!  I was so pleased.  Now, let’s start going over the material for the second quiz…

The second quiz was re-studied, taken, and once more, returned with a perfect grade.  Well, the breathing was definitely getting easier, but there was still the chapter test to take and put under my belt.  The studying for that took a little longer, and most assuredly had me more concerned.  However, it was once again not needed.  The morning went swimmingly with THREE important papers tagged and bagged with good grades.

After that, the director of the school took me aside and gave me some pretty good news.  Sort of like the icing on the cake.  Since I had already gone to a vocational school for the class that I am currently taking while I was in high school, some of my credits transferred over.  He told me he would send those to the financial woman, she would do the deduction, and I would owe less to the school for my program.  I was psyched!  I technically don’t even have to come in to go over the things we’re currently doing in class, but I will still so that I can get a refresher.  But at least, from here on out, I don’t have to worry about studying so hard for everything.  Sure, I still want to kick *ss in the grades department, but I’m not being graded for my work, because the school is saying it has already been done.  Which is nice for me.  I’ll just focus a little more on the nitty gritties at the office when I work there after school.

All in all, my holiday was ‘meh’, but the first day back to school was ‘great’!  I am very pleased with myself and hope to continue my good luck streak for rest of the year.  Although, knock on wood, don’t tempt the Fates!

And on that note, it’s been real!