Random Curiosity



OP2 Sequence

OP2: 「偏愛の輪舞曲」 (Henai no Rondo) by GRANRODEO

「フォーチュンキャット」 (Fōchun Kyatto)
“Fortune Cat”

If you like your bishounen varied, your plot nigh impossible to unravel, and your curiosity piqued, then KARNEVAL is the series for you.

Whereas Hataraku is a series that showcases the power of great execution, KARNEVAL is a series that works its premise to maximum effect. The intrigue here lies in the big picture, in the overarching questions of what is going on and why, and in the curious stylistic flair that suffuses it all. This isn’t a series that wants to be made sense of; it’s an anime that plans to toy with its viewers by teasing secrets out in every bit as whimsical a manner as the title suggests.

In keeping with this tendency, there are far more questions than answers to be had in this second episode, and there’s quite a bit more world building than there is character development. Circus is revealed to be a sort of fantastical intelligence agency passing off as an actual circus (not the easiest way to keep from attracting attention to oneself, I’d presume, though there’s something to be said about hiding a tree in the forest), and it has an enemy organization: the group behind the creatures who have been after Nai from the very beginning. Regardless, it’s not yet clear why Circus exists or why they’re fighting this opposing organization, but whatever the goals, the reality is that Nai (and Gareki by association) are now too deeply involved in the fight to get out unscathed.

To their rescue, however, comes another addition to the bishounen party: Yogi (Miyano Mamoru), another member of Circus and the resident mascot Nyanperona, is nothing if not perky (and easy to pick on as a result), but he’s also more than meets the eye. He and Tsukumo seem to be the muscle behind Circus’ operations, and this time it seems they’ve been assigned to watch over Nai and Gareki. It’s a little soon to speculate just what it is that Circus is planning to do with the two boys, but Hirato at least doesn’t seem to want to keep them (completely) in the dark about their situation, targeted as they are. While Nai seems to be a special case, possibly due to his as of yet unknown connections with the mysterious Karoku (Hoshi Souichirou), Gareki and his thieving skills might just turn out to be an asset to the organization, at least in Hirato’s eyes.

The one thing I’m rather disappointed about so far is the lack of characterization. It’s not completely fair to say that these characters are flat, because they’re not, but they’re not nearly as well rounded as they could be either. We don’t know a whole lot about Nai, for example, who continues to act as lost and wide-eyed as a wild animal in the city, and I’m starting to wonder if that isn’t a lot more indicative of his nature than it seems at first glance. Why wouldn’t he know what blood is, for one thing, and just where did he come from? At the moment he just seems to fill in for the shouta stereotype (though with a pretty inappropriate voice actor, which I have to admit is amusing to listen to), and he’s much more a mystery than he is someone to relate to. This is true of most of the characters so far, but is this a result of adaptation, of the dizzyingly complex premise, or simply of a lack of development?

Perhaps the case is that, as with it’s plot, KARNEVAL is simply not willing to hand out answers in any form. After all, sometimes the best mysteries are those that make sense only in retrospect, and mystery and intrigue are certainly aspects that this series excels at.



April 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm
  • April 13, 2013 at 4:20 pmSakana-chan

    Can’t wait for the next episode >.< CIRCUS TIME

  • April 13, 2013 at 4:21 pmRei

    This show would be 10 times better without Nai. Just Gareki as the main protagonist would suffice.

  • April 13, 2013 at 4:29 pmTre

    I don’t like the comparisons some have made between Nai and Shiro from K.

    By the second episode of K Shiro had been shown to be a fairly competent individual, while Nai is anything but, and shows no signs of ever being able to do anything on his own. I sure do hope he is eventually given more depth than this (or at least a whole ton of reasoning for why he’s so naive).

    • April 13, 2013 at 6:29 pmyum

      There’ll be an explanation about Nai. Looking at how anime is progressing maybe even in the next episode (or 4 at least, I say).

  • April 13, 2013 at 4:34 pmZen

    Whereas Hataraku is a series that showcases the power of great execution, KARNEVAL is a series that works its premise to maximum effect.

    The one thing I’m rather disappointed about so far is the lack of characterization. It’s not completely fair to say that these characters are flat, because they’re not, but they’re not nearly as well rounded as they could be either.

    That is the core of the characterization problem, is it not? Like you said Hataraku focuses on execution, and the characters are central to its storytelling approach. Whereas this show focuses on its premise- and where the crazy, unique setting is the primary focus, characterization can often take a back seat to world-building- leading to an approach where the author bets most or all of his hand on his world being interesting, investing most of his time into it while settling for character development that is merely serviceable. His characters are a platform for his world rather than the world being a platform for his characters. Different approaches to storytelling- neither inherently better or worse, both can work just as well depending on the circumstances…

    • April 13, 2013 at 4:43 pmKairi

      Exactly, which, as you’ll remember, was one of my central arguments in my editorial on protagonists. I understand that it’s rare to have a series where both characterization and world building are balanced, but it’s always nice, to me at least, to see characters fleshed out enough to resonance with. Empathetic links are a good way to draw viewers in, and though this series does that with its world and intrigue, it’s easy to tell that the lack of development irks a little more than it would had it been a bit less stereotypical. But you can’t have your cake and eat it, and not all the characters are as hard to take in as Nai, though I suspect he’s not naive as he is for no reason.

      • April 13, 2013 at 6:23 pmZen

        …it’s rare to have a series where both characterization and world building are balanced…

        The rare mark of exceptional narrative excellence, an all-rounded tale that neglects neither its characters nor its world, both intricately and lovingly chiseled into a high-quality product. Shows with complex, interesting worlds inhabited by well-developed, sympathetic characters. Not very common due to constraints of time, costs and ability- but whoever manages to pull it off sits at the cusp of transcendence…

        it’s easy to tell that the lack of development irks a little more than it would had it been a bit less stereotypical.

        Stereotypes can be a crutch for writers. It is entirely acceptable for a writer to decide that he wants to spend most of his time on world-building and to cut back on character development, going for merely serviceable characters. This usually works out fine, the stories that result from such a move tend to be decent at the very least, if not good (Ignoring the fact that the writer is forgoing most any chance at achieving true transcendence) but things go to sh*t when he decides to cut back on character development labor even more and relies on tired stereotypes for easy personality/backstory building.

        Relatively weak character development is fine as long as there is a sufficiently interesting setting to make up for it- or at least it’s fine to a point. And that point is when characterization quality declines to a degree where the characters simply cease to be interesting- it is difficult to define with exactness what this actually means because many things can cause characters to become uninteresting, but stereotypes are the very embodiment of dullness. They are simplistic, over-used, over-familiar and consequently boring.

        Character-building with cookie-cutter stereotypes without even attempting to add on any interesting new twists is a nigh surefire way to get your story an F grade in the character development field. And unfortunately, you don’t pass the writer’s competency test (In my books) unless you at least attain a passing grade of a D- in both world-building and characterization. In other words, you could have an A+ for would-building but if you have an F in characterization, then your story (to me) fails overall basic QC. (Letter grades used for illustrative purposes only; not to be taken literally…XP)

  • April 13, 2013 at 4:42 pmNatsu

    This show looks like its one of those gay shoes that females are suppose to like because of the cute main characters

    • April 13, 2013 at 4:42 pmNatsu

      ^thumbs up to everyone who caught the grammar error

    • April 16, 2013 at 1:24 pmagr0n

      K had the same animation type as this, I enjoyed that immensely and I’m a straight dude.

      • April 18, 2013 at 9:05 amFrakyo

        I drop K because was boring, I drop Karneval too.

  • April 13, 2013 at 5:01 pmanon

    Well, at least they got the name right – it does feel like a carnival.

  • April 13, 2013 at 5:16 pmSDFSDG

    So anyone wonder how she was able to kick that large rock so easily while onyl wearing those shoes without hurting herself?

    • April 13, 2013 at 5:20 pmKairi

      How does anyone do anything awesome in anime ever?

      • April 13, 2013 at 6:31 pmyum

        They work for mysterious organization?

  • April 13, 2013 at 5:23 pmEmD


  • April 13, 2013 at 5:49 pmrandom viewer

  • April 13, 2013 at 6:19 pmBlackStealth1989

    I dunno I agree with some of these comments.. Nai is a little too Yaoi.. I got nothing personal against it. But I’de rather not waste 25 minutes watching a “pretty” and “helpless” main character. -Subjective of course….

    • April 14, 2013 at 9:39 amFairlee

      He’s got his reasons, for being clueless at everything actually :D

  • April 13, 2013 at 6:24 pmberrish17

    Yogi, Miyano Mamoru-sama <3 <3

    I love this anime's theme, Circus =D Totally different from the ugly circus you see in reality.lol

  • April 13, 2013 at 6:24 pmkatsudon

    Anyone else expecting the “Galactic Pretty Boy” transformation sequence from Yogi when he was introduced? Still not sure what’s going on, but the show definitely has a lot of promise. Hope Nai gets less useless as it goes on though, that’s for sure.

    • April 13, 2013 at 6:34 pmKairi

      Dashing Entrance, Ginga Bishounen!

      No, but it would fit, hahaha. I’m definitely curious and interested as to what’s going on. Nai isn’t doing much for me, but honestly the characters in general aren’t too fleshed out yet. Hopefully that changes soon.

      • April 13, 2013 at 9:40 pmkatsudon

        I think the other thing Kairi, is that I cannot take Hiro Shimono seriously in this role. He just doesn’t seem like the best fit for it, you know? But then again, I might just be so used to seeing him in comedic roles that it’s so weird to not see him overreacting or throwing tsukomis… (not sure if I spelled that right, but you get the idea!)

      • April 13, 2013 at 10:20 pmKairi

        I can’t take him seriously either, haha. :3


    • April 14, 2013 at 1:35 pmGlassShadow

      Lmao, I was thinking the EXACT same thing. xDDD Oh goodness. The preposterousness of it all.

  • April 13, 2013 at 6:40 pmJello

    I’m not sure what would be the most civil way to express how annoying Nai is. What unimaginative designer’s notebook did he crawl out of? Doesn’t help that his voice acting is very bland.

    I don’t mind if he was JUST a character, but he ends up also being the driving force of the episode’s plot through coincidence and stupidity.

    In its 13-episode context…I don’t think they made the best choice to center the story around a character like Nai.

    • April 13, 2013 at 6:54 pmKairi

      Sadly, I could point you to far worse characters, but Nai isn’t exactly enthralling to watch either way. Though, his voice acting, in my opinion, is unintentionally amusing because it’s so hard to take seriously.

      It’s important to remember that this is an adaptation, so the studio only gets so much leeway.

  • April 14, 2013 at 2:52 ambaseone

    Luckily this show have beautiful girls to stick with, without it this show will be just a stone on a road.

  • April 14, 2013 at 6:19 amMeldoy

    The colors and animation are absolutely beautiful, that’s what I like most about this show.

  • April 14, 2013 at 5:42 pmRyuuzaki21

    gays everywhere -_-”

  • April 15, 2013 at 11:55 amkanade

    I was about to give it a 3-episode-rule but after skimming through this episode, I just don’t think its my cup of tea.

    Too pretty and “gayish” for my taste.

  • April 15, 2013 at 7:36 pmhoiut

    It it just me or is something about the artwork and designs for this series reminiscent of Pandora Hearts? Maybe I know too little of this genre to make similarity judgments between two specific examples…

    But really, something about the clothing, the eyes, the black rabbit (with scribbly eyes)… Break, Vincent, and Oz seem to have found their counterparts design-wise. The characters themselves are nothing alike, but something about the design style rings true to me. I dunno.

  • April 16, 2013 at 1:49 pmagr0n

    I can’t believe people are dissing this show because of the characters’ looks, I mean that’s just stupid…

    It was funny how Hide and Seek saved Nai.

  • August 16, 2013 at 3:19 amArukiella

    Nai does look like Shiro. My friend was no and no when I told her that. Like I don’t have the right to think that. I wish people would stop imposing their opinions on others, like my friend does. It’s really annoying. I can think for myself, thank you.