「幻ピクニック」 (Maboroshi Pikunikku)
“Phantom Picnic”

That is one adorable little stuffed animal.

It’s rather amusing to me how the more I watch this, the more ridiculous it seems to get. Yet despite the preposterous nature of it all, the whimsical atmosphere is somewhat infectious, and the mystery is no less compelling for it. The characters are still my least favorite part of KARNEVAL, but there’s a few steps gained in the right direction this week, which is always a plus. Plot-wise, however, things are as busy as always, and not at all ready to make sense yet.

Gareki and Nai’s relationship seems to have upped the ante on several levels, and Nai’s already gotten attached enough that when Karoku speaks to him in a dream and warns him to let Gareki go before it’s too late, Nai pulls a classic shoujo heroine stunt and literally pushes his friend away for the sake of keeping him safe. To be honest, this whole little drama feels rather forced, but it does make more sense once Nai’s true nature is revealed. As I’d thought previously, those tufts of hair do look an awful lot like animal ears, and for good reason; Nai is a human/animal hybrid, thought to be created by this mysterious Karoku from a rabbit-like species known as Niji. His bizarre behavior up til now suddenly makes all that much more sense, though why he was created or made to leave the Niji Forest is still as great a mystery as his identity has been all this time. This does, however, change the dynamic between Gareki and Nai somewhat. While Gareki previously looked on Nai as some sort naive child that needed help, he now looks exactly like a pet to him (though there may just be more to this than a simple attachment to a fluffy little animal, in my humble opinion), and he’s somewhat pleased to think that Karoku has picked a fight with him. It all points to the fact that despite his tough guy facade, Gareki considers Nai as more than just some random obstacle, and he’s willing to stick around with him and Circus to find out more.

As to Circus itself, we’re introduced to several more of it’s members this week. The somewhat intimidating doctor Akari (Hirakawa Daisuke) is first on the lineup, though we also get a quick look at Kiichi (Kitamura Eri) and Jiki (Nakamura Yuuichi), both of whom remain as much a stylish mystery as everyone else. It’s still not completely clear what it is that Circus is really after, but they’re certainly interested in Nai’s origins and in Karoku’s role in all of this, which seems to be linked to this mysterious antagonist organization we were told about last week.

It seems that for every mystery we delve into, we’re handed yet another handful of questions. Though we now have an explanation for Nai’s character, we still know next to nothing about almost everyone else except Gareki (who seems to have quite the traumatic past) and the intrigue of this strange and boisterous world remains shrouded in shadows. Just why do Circus and the anti-organization exist in the first place? Why would Karoku create Nai, and what is his purpose in doing so? How exactly did Gareki find himself in the right place at the right time and end up wrapped up in everything? Just what the holy Triforce is going on?

I don’t have any answers, but I do know one thing: this is definitely a weirdly interesting little anime we’ve got our hands on here.

N.B. – I sincerely apologize for the earlier issue, it was oversight and unprofessional on my part. I’ll try to be less careless in the future.

Full-length images: 12, 28.




    1. You are not alone! I played it back three times because it was hilarious for one, seeing him picture nai as the animal and then the blush!! So adorable!! This show is definitely one giant jigsaw puzzle. I’m really excited to see how the pieces all fit together and of course for some more gareki blushing action.

  1. This show is so weird, I have never felt so confused after 3 episodes in a show- but it’s fun and definitely feels like something worth watching. So Nai is an animal/human hybrid? You’re right Kairi, it does explain quite a bit- he’s more likable now because of it. Also, Gareki imagining Nai as a niji was hilarious, it’s funny how I can buy the character in rabbit form but now when he’s human… Also, did not know Eri Kitamura and Yuuichi Nakamura were in this! My interest in this show has gone up significantly.

    1. How did I miss the resemblance between Nai and Niji? That explains a lot…awww.
      And I could see how embarrassed Gareki would be if I were in his shoes. {He’s not a friend, but a pet now?) LOL

      random viewer
  2. Allot happened this episode.

    I’m curious as to why Gareki was nabbed? Were the bugs a defense for Nai’s last home and if not why nab Gareki instead of one of the Circus guys?

    I wonder what’s up with Yogi’s bandage is it hiding a secret or what?

    We saw those 2 new character’s other than the doc, and I wonder what they have been up too cause they were on the same ship with Nai, but he and Gareki never met them.

    I hate how people are calling this Yaoi… I would blush like Gareki did if I found out my friend was actually I cute fluffy animal :p

  3. From this episode I think that Karoku is a neutral third party (those kind of crazy motherfucker scientists or something like that) and he created Nai (so he is a genius).
    The bad guys are probably after his research or using stuff for their own plans or something like that.
    In the meanwhile I think that at the end of the episode that attack was all played out to get Gareki probably by Karoku mastermind in order to meet him after learning that Nai is with him.
    By this I will assume that Karoku can somehow communicate / order around those black things.


  4. I agree that Karneval has its issues, but also its charm. Even if their characterization is weak, I’m getting oddly attached to Gareki thanks to this episode (i.e. in how he reacted to Nai’s perceived “send off” and the revelation thereafter, plus that adorable blush at realizing he’d been getting worked up over an animal), but Nai is even edging in too, with his severe naivete and innocence finally explained in some capacity.

    I’m a bit sad Nai’s front-view crying face isn’t among the screencaps, but I’ll live. XD

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