「カーニヴァル」 (Kānibaru)

Eh? Wait, what? There’s a second season, right?

Despite all the fanfare last episode, I didn’t feel like this episode was much of a finale at all. There was a lot more of that “final battle” vibe going on in episode 12 compared to the actual end, and to be honest I feel somewhat cheated here. I’m not sure if a second season is slated for this series (though I’ve heard that the Blu-Rays are selling very nicely), but for a first season I’m kind of confused as to what this was all about. All this time we’ve been led to believe that reaching Karoku would be the climax of the plot; that meeting him would clarify everything (or at least something) about Nai and Khafka, but in reality we get no answers at all. In fact, we get more mysteries than ever. After all, the Karoku Nai meets isn’t the Karoku we’ve come to believe he is; instead, he’s some sort of imposter, though we never find out who he is or what his purpose is in harming the real Karoku. And since the real Karoku is unconscious until the very end, we never hear anything of the real story from his end either.

If there’s any resolution at all to be had, it’s in Gareki, however. This whole season, Gareki has been something of an add-on to the Circus retinue; a free-loader without much skill to be of any use, a fact that he himself has often lamented. It’s only now, at the very end, that he finally does something about it and decides to leave the Second Ship for the sake of going to school and gaining a certification to become a true Circus member. It’s rather shocking to me, really, that such a departure would occur at the very end; it gives Gareki the resolution he’s been lacking all along, true, but it feels like a placeholder, a bookmark, in the story, which I’m sure is supposed to be the point. I’m assuming this either means the studio already has a second season in the works, or that we’re supposed to go and read the manga now, but in any case, the separation only adds to the questions. For what reason was Gareki on a Khafka research ship in the first place, and why is this a reason for Circus to be so interested in him?

In any case, I’m somewhat bummed out at the lack of answers; even if this is the prelude to something greater, it feels wrong to leave all the mysteries completely unsolved. I can’t even tell if this is an anime original cliffhanger or one derived from the manga, but regardless, I really do wish some little thing was solved, if only to make things easier to place in perspective later.

Note: I sincerely apologize for the late post; I’ve been having a good share of technical difficulties lately.

End Card

Final Impressions

KARNEVAL is a series that’s much more difficult for me to talk about than a series like Hataraku Maou-sama!; I’ve mentioned this before, but where the latter is a work of great execution, the former is a work that revels in its own curious and fabulous world-building. The series is never willing to address its plot if it isn’t directly related to some atmospheric wonder or fun aside, and even when things get dark, this isn’t the type of show to ignore any dramatic advantages it is liable to take. I get the feeling that KARNEVAL doesn’t always take itself seriously, and that it does it as flamboyantly as possible, but that’s never really a bad thing. This is a show that loves flair and drama, the way a real carnival or circus might, and it places that exotic and whimsical atmosphere as its priority no matter what sort of story it tries to tell. Without that style, I don’t think the series would do as well as it does; there’s too much mystery and not enough answers, though that’s only in the perspective of a non-manga reader. However, because I don’t follow the manga, I find it a lot more difficult to invest myself in a series that doesn’t really try to let me get at the bigger picture. Since I can’t be fully certain that this end merits a second season, I have to take it as a standalone work, and that makes this finale and the general pacing of the show feel a lot less wise than, say, a more concise plot over the last few episodes may have been. Nonetheless, barring the less than satisfying finale, I’m still more than a little sad to see the series go. Perhaps it’s all the adorable animals getting under my skin, or the melancholy truth that there will be no more random tea parties to liven up my week, but though I’m aware there’s probably a good deal of adaptation decay at work here, I think I’ll really miss KARNEVAL and it’s zany, strange ways very soon.


  1. was a decent adaptation but bit rushed
    they made my baby nai bit more mature than is in the manga in my opinion
    material for second exist
    kinda ended near ch 30-35 not sure

  2. It’s strange because I wanted to like the anime, but I couldn’t. I give Karneval a fair score only because Yogi was pretty funny to have in the show. I thought there was no way ppl who didn’t read the manga would understand what the anime was about because in the manga I couldn’t digest some parts like the purpose of the varuga. There was just too many things to recount for the author to give a solid story, but I remembered the character interactions was the best part for me when I read the manga, and at least the anime satisfied that part. Their goodbye with Nai, Tsukumo, and Yogi to Gareki was pretty cute and funny to watch. When the anime settled on the light matters then that was when I enjoyed the series. I have to say the plot didn’t interest me that much because I’m still wrapping my head what the events from the varuga, nai’s existence, and karuko’s involvement play with the enemy organization (forgot the name) that Circus is trying to stop. I wanted the animators to get past this revelation that there was more things going on with Karoku, but we stop when Gareki goes to academy instead. There is a possibility that Karneval can get a second season, and it should.

    I also wasn’t impressed with the art. There are budget reasons, but I loved the manga’s art style. It was beautiful . Even in some parts like Yogi’s fight before he went insane, I was disappointed how low the budget the fight was. If there’s a second season coming up then I suggest waiting until that airs and marathon the entire series or just read the manga.

    Thanks for blogging the series Kairi. Good luck on your future posts on Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami Hen and Servant x Service.

    1. I enjoyed the less plotty bits myself. For me Karneval was about those quirky weird things that happened, whether it was tea parties in the Niji Forest or Tsukumo dressing as a mermaid or whatever. I thought the anime’s art was pretty nice, but I haven’t read the manga and can’t compare.

      Thanks BNV, I hope I did it some justice. I will do my best!

  3. I agree with the add-on of more questions and mysteries the anime brought out near the end. But the confusion did not stop me from enjoying what Karneval is – a unique, light-hearted show opened to creative action that can surprise you from time to time. And all of that is differently illustrated in the characters. I hope for another season of it just to see more of Karneval’s stylish animation work. Oh and the music is good too.

    random viewer
  4. Well, the anime is actually rather faithful to the manga except for the placement/switching of certain scenes to make the anime flow better. It adapted six volumes of the manga plus the 1st chapter of volume 7. The anime kinda cram parts of volume 6 and the beginning of volume 7 into the final episode with Gareki leaving Circus 2nd ship. In the manga, this leads to the beginning of a new arc/journey and also, learning more of Karoku’s character. The last episode does seemed like a tease for a another season down the line though I don’t think it’ll be so soon, if they are planning one. At this stage, the source material may not really be enough for another season. There are 11 released volumes of the manga so far. That said, I really enjoy watching the show. Wacky Yogi is so much fun to watch. I gonna miss the colourful cast of characters.

  5. gotta love a show that is undeniably true to itself. Karneval was over the top and fun till the very end and that’s why I liked it , I agree the mysteries and questions keep piling up but it was still an enjoyable ride

  6. I’ll miss the anime but the story continues. This anime is derived from a manga series of the same name. I loved how good a job they did transforming it into an anime and I hope they create a second season.

  7. Thank you for blogging this series! It was always great to come back here and read your thoughts about the series ^^

    I actually liked those last two episodes a lot but it’s really a shame, that it ends now when the real story only just begins. So I really do hope they’ll make a second season sometime because even though I had some issues with the adaption (mostly with its pacing and the fact that they left out some minor details that would’ve made some of the events a bit more plausible), overall I really liked the anime and I think they especially did a great job at bringing the whole “carnival” flair to live and make it really enjoyable with all its chaotic whimsicalness.

  8. If anyone wants a second season help out by buying the first season of Karneval cause they are planning on doing a second season but there has to be a good amount of copies being bought out for season 1 and then they will do a second season


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