KARNEVAL – 07, 08
「「マーメイドの溜息」と三人の騎士」 (Māmeido no Tameki to Sannin no Kishi)
“The Mermaid’s Sigh and the Three Knights”
You know, I think I’m finding as I get older that I quite love the absurd. That’s not to say I don’t like a good bit of nice, cold, hard logic, but when it comes to entertainment, I come to be entertained. It’s not always about how much sense something makes, or how realistically something is portrayed; sometimes those things are great (especially when it comes to characters), but there are times when you just need style and ridiculousness over a concrete narrative. Though this is usually my little spiel for Valvrave, this week I’m applying it to KARNEVAL as well. There’s just really nothing this series does best than flair, and it does it with pride to boot. Meandering though the plot remains (I’m still not exactly sure what the greater purpose is between now and the inevitable Circus v. Khafka showdown), you have to hand it to this series for being crazy, and though it takes some getting used to, it’s definitely fun to get through once you’ve gone and joined the Circus.
That being said, we’re given a breather this episode after the incredibly depressing (and purple) events of the last few episodes, and Yogi even explicitly mentions that the whole idea is to cheer Gareki up after losing Yotake. We’re given frilly parades and flamboyant cosplay, a less than happy Nyanperona, a malfunctioning rabbit, mermaids and jerks in military outfits, the return of Iva-neesan’s badassery, and a cute animal to top it all off. It’s exactly the sort of episode that only an anime as crazy as this could pull-off, and I have to say I found it rather more fun than I was expecting. Yogi in particular is keeping things going for me comedy wise (Miyano Mamoru is great in most roles, really) and he’s no less amusing in the Nyanperona suit than out of it. Watching Tsukumo’s little escape-trick gone wrong was also pretty interesting (for someone who was drowning she sure looked calm in there for the most part), and in general it was over-the-top flair of the signature KARNEVAL style. And if you’re not here for the craziness (and probably the bishies of both genders), why are you here at all?
Full-length images: 17.
「白銀の匣」 (Shirogane no Kushige)
Interestingly enough, Yogi seems to be coming in as a true protagonist for me the more I watch this series. Gareki and Nai are fine, but they don’t quite seem to emote to the level that Yogi does (due to their circumstances and personalities), and beyond that Yogi is really the one carrying most of the weight in terms of keeping his charges out of harms way and getting things done.
The fun and games are over once the members of the Second Ship are sent off to investigate a mansion which was previously owned by Khafka in order to search for traces of Varuga experimentation. Instead, the group finds a “warm snowman” named Yukkin, a gift from Hirato (suspicious already), and two Varuga waiting to ambush them after successfully clearing the mansion of evidence. There’s some more cuteness thrown in by Yukkin (and its interactions with the group), Nai (in his rare envisioned Niji form), and the group dynamic in general (those coats look so fuzzy and warm), but this time the series is ready to get back in business. While Tsukumo and Nai take refuge after Nai attempts to protect her, Gareki and Yogi take to battle. There’s some interesting dynamics here as Gareki acts the tsundere and refuses to call Yogi his friend, something which the warmhearted blonde takes very seriously. It’s moments like these that I find especially compelling about Yogi; though this type of misunderstanding is hardly rare in anime, it’s interesting to watch Yogi’s narration about the whole experience. It isn’t so much that he’s upset by Gareki’s insinuation about their being friends, but that he’s been pushing himself on Nai and Gareki as such without there being a confirmed relationship.
However, Yogi doesn’t have much time to dwell on it all; when his signature facial bandage is peeled away, he seems to undergo a transformation. Whatever he is, Varuga or otherwise, he’s certainly not friendly (“I want to hear you all laugh until it sounds like you’re screaming!”) and it’ll be interesting how this reveal about his character will affect Gareki especially. If he’s a repressed Varuga, why go around killing victims instead of keeping them in check like Circus does Yogi? Of course, this could be an entirely different matter, though I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.