Karneval – 02

Karneval - 02-6 Karneval - 02-11 Karneval - 02-21

That was definitely better, but I’m still on the fence with Karneval.

What I see with this series is a huge plot, some potentially interesting characters, and a lot of question marks.  There’s no doubt that Karneval is hugely stylized, and the performances are a match for that.  Apart from Shimono Hiro’s unintentionally comic casting as Nai, the rest of the mostly big-name cast is perfectly fine – they’re being asked for camp rather than realism here, and delivering.  As much as anything I’m reminded of Pandora Hearts or D.Gray-man after two episodes, but I don’t know if this series is going to be around long enough to develop the kind of charm those did.

What’s clarified in episode two is that Circus is quite literally a circus, in addition to being a crime-fighting organization – they put on shows to entertain the locals to draw attention away from their true purpose, and sell merchandise to help pay the bills.  There’s a counter-organization, abjectly evil where Circus is ambiguous, and they’re more than a little interested in Nai.  In fact they try and abduct him when he disregards Gareki’s orders to stay hidden, and it’s only the intervention of Mamoru Miyano’s Yogi – one of Hirato’s subordinates – that prevents that from happening.  When Circus takes Nai and Gareki into protective custody Yogi and Tsukomo are assigned to be their babysitters.

The other major mystery element in the story appears to be Karoku (Hoshi Souchiro), Nai’s missing “friend” who later communicates with him telepathically.  The bracelet he’s given Nai is indeed a Circus ID, but an old one – and Hirato denies that anyone by that name has ever worked for the organization.  As for that other group, they’re using some sort of mutant called “Varugas” – like the woman from the premiere, Mine – as their foot soldiers.  And they’re apparently interested in Nai because he either is or has inside him something called “red seeds”.

Well – that’s mostly mumbo-jumbo for now, though I’ve heard much less interesting scenarios for anime.  The question is whether the atmosphere and characters will be interesting enough to carry Karneval, and for now I have to say I just don’t know.  I certainly enjoyed the second ep more than the first, which I didn’t dislike, so there’s hope – but everyone so far still plays a little too much like a route from an otome game.  All I can say for now is that Karneval definitely meets the threshold for the three-episode rule to apply – beyond that, it’s hard to say.

Karneval - 02-5 Karneval - 02-7 Karneval - 02-8
Karneval - 02-9 Karneval - 02-10 Karneval - 02-12
Karneval - 02-13 Karneval - 02-14 Karneval - 02-15
Karneval - 02-16 Karneval - 02-17 Karneval - 02-18
Karneval - 02-19 Karneval - 02-20 Karneval - 02-22


  1. R

    Yes, this shaped out much better than the premier. There are really a lot of bishounens here, but I like the feel of a conspiracy. Got to love Miyano Mamoru — Yogi isn't a difficult character for him, but I still think that he did a great job for creating a fun, lively, and child-like Yogi.

  2. i

    It's not just Hiro Shimono's casting, which is annoying for all the wrong reasons (Mihashi is annoying for the right ones) but even Hiroshi Kamya sounds out of place as Gareki. He sounds too out of place for me.

    Also Nai is incredibly weak as a character and is in no way a match for Allen Walker. In fact he seems like Mihashi from Oofuri. Only ever saying a few words at a time, utterly useless for the most part and quite stupid. But in Mihashi'c case that was part of building him up as a character and he had a relevent backstory revealed early on to keep people from hating him. Nai just seems retarded (no offense) and badly portrayed.

    I've often felt that all of Manglobe's works are just hommages to popular niche mangas to make money off its fan alone and as a result they let the writing be weak and loose since the fans who are aware of what happens will consider it unimportant compared to seeing their favourite manga animated.

    Yogi was the only improvement for me but Miyano Mamoru deserves credit for that not the mangaka or Manglobe.

    I don't see it going anywhere interesting for someone who hasn't read the manga so I'm out.

    Also GE on the surface Karneval has similarities with D. Gray Man but I think the shounen series is far better told with far better characters. Karneval seems to exist entirely for BL shippers to me.

  3. K

    I don't want to spoil anything but there is a reason Nai acts that way.

    As I keep saying these are the same voices as the drama CD which the manga-ka was a fan of.

  4. Yeah, I know the mangaka likes the voices. In the case of Hirohiro, the mangaka is straight trippin.

  5. i

    So this is like Bakuman? When was the contest?

  6. j

    The circus idea reminds me of Daughter of 20 faces haha

  7. K

    @Enzo, I am not really disputing with you over the quality of Nai's voice (I am not really a fan either) but it is what it is. And it's not just the manga-ka but the drama CDs with the same cast were popular among fans.

    @Ishruns: Don't get the Bakuman ref since I never watched the series/read the manga.

    I also think it is unfair to say this series only exists for BL fans when there is no BL in the actual series.

  8. I can certainly agree with your last point, since the constant stream of frantic and irate BL complaints about any series featuring multiple male leads is one of the more annoying aspects of anime fandom these days. Karneval certainly isn't free of some suggestive elements on that score (the way countless anime tease yuri without ever actually having any) but people really need to get over this Pavlovian hysteria. If it bothers them, they don't need to watch.

  9. G

    "but people really need to get over this Pavlovian hysteria"
    LOL..that made me laugh. I remember people freaking out over Zetsuen no Tempest when it first aired because it had dual male leads. I guess especially after No.6, a series from a prominent studio that's legit BL (which is pretty rare), people became even more unnecessarily hypervigilant.

  10. Pretty weak legit BL, considering there's no sex whatsoever (unless you count one kiss) and an implied hetero relationship between the MC and the female lead, and I think the definition of yaoi is that it largely focuses on the actual romantic relationship and sex.

    Still – compared to this series I suppose it's a regular hentai.

Leave a Comment