Karneval – First Impressions

Karneval Title

Karneval starts off with a bang, literally. Within minutes, Gareki our opportunistic thief, blows a mansion wide open. He expected to find something of value but instead barely escapes the mansion alive and with a young boy, Nai, in tow. With the city crawling with people looking for them, Gareki took what he thought was the safe option and that was to escape the city by train. Little did he know that he would land himself in the middle of a terror plot to blow up the train. Nai’s feeling something was wrong prompted Gareki to investigate but no sooner as he took two steps, when two members of Circus, Hirato and Tsukomo, happened to drop in on them. After the misunderstanding was cleared up, the two members of Circus went and easily dispatched of the terrorists on the train and Gareki used his expertise to defuse the last bomb on the train thus saving everybody.

One will recognise Gareki’s seiyuu, Kamiya Hiroshi, from such roles as Araragi from Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari, and Penguin from Shirokuma Cafe. The voice he brings to this role is closer to the former rather than the latter. Kamiya voices him quite nicely bringing to it that certain calm cockiness. While Nai’s seiyuu, Shimono Hiro, brings his softer voice to the role. Finally, with Ono Daisuke voicing Hirato, we round out a fairly strong cast of male seiyuus.

We have a reasonable upbeat ED in the form of “REASON” by KAmiYU. The song has a similar feel to the OP of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT. While the OP, “Henai no Rondo” ┬áby Granrodeo, has a much harder edge to it. BGM was used sparsely throughout the first episode also when it was used it was used to great effect. It really did help to set the mood in the initial confrontation between Gareki and monstrous Mine.

At the end of this first episode, we are left with far more questions than answers. There have been characters introduced and organisations named but we still know very little about all parties involved. What are these two mysterious organisations? What are these monsters? What exactly is Gareki’s background? Who is Nai really and why does he have a Circus ID? While we do have a lot of unanswered questions, it does not actually stop us from enjoying the show.

The character design is generally very good over all and the attention to detail is exceptional but on occasions the quality falls to a laughably bad standard. Mine, as she was crushed by a ton of bricks, look far more comical than scary. In the end it was a rather pitiful scene. Perhaps it might been the intention to show Mine in such a pitiful state but never the less the difference was jarring.

In this first episode we are introduced to the various parties involved and a few key characters. In this world we find two mysterious parties. Circus and Kafka, opposing each other. So far we have been introduced to only a handful of characters but each one carries with them a mysterious background. So with an interesting plot, a cast of interesting characters, quality art, and strong male seiyuus, I can say there is enough in this show to keep me watching.

Some choice shots from the episode: