The History of the Toxic Fandom: Black Butler

Fandoms can get toxic. That is a fact of life, but not every fandom is toxic in the same way. So, in this series, I have decided to research some of the most notoriously toxic fandoms to discover just where things went wrong, and maybe, how things can get better in the future.

Today, I’ve decided to examine the fandom for the wildly popular and my personally reviled anime, “Black Butler,” the story of a Victorian English boy who sold his soul to a demon.

Unlike the others, I can understand some of the hatred for this anime’s fandom, mostly when it comes to the shipping, but to make sure I understood, I looked again to the Rpg Monger for some insight.

It turns out that many controversies have plagued this fandom since its inception in 2006.

One of the biggest surrounds Grell, the queer and fabulous grim reaper I mentioned in my other article. The character is male, but his author wrote in a character Q&A that he desires to be a trans-woman. This has caused controversy in the fandom as fans argue over what pronouns to use for Grell and bash anyone they think is not using the correct pronouns.

But according to the Rpg Monger, while this disagreement has grown into an all-out war that has been fought on Tumblr and on Black Butler’s wiki pages for the past five years, a bigger problem comes from the fujoshis, female fans who love male homoerotic relationships, who ship Ciel and Sebastian.

Ciel is 13 years old. Sebastian is a demon who has been around since the beginning. Need I say more?

Unfortunately for this fandom, that is not an outlier. The Rpg Monger says that many ships within this fandom are pedophilic in nature. To make matters worse, whenever people point that out, the shippers tear them apart. They even go so far as to tear apart Lizzie, Ciel’s betrothed, because she gets in the way of that ship.

Sadly, the fujoshis went another step further. The Rpg Monger says that when the creator wrote a certain plot twist she was attacked with death threats from these very shippers.

Speaking of fangirls, Sebastian has plenty of them, and while there are plenty of normal fangirls, there are others who think of Sebastian as their boyfriend and will attack anyone who draws him with one of their OC’s.

Fortunately, not all the fandom is this crazy, there are many wonderful people whose devotion to this show has inspired some wonderful things, like recreations of baking recipes. Just like with any fandom, you just have to take the good with the bad.

On another note, as someone who has been there herself, if you find yourself struggling with deep obsessions, it might be a good idea to cut back and do some self-reflecting. Trust me. It’ll be good for you and for the community you love.

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