Karneval is an anime adapted from a manga of the same name by Mikanagi Touya. The anime is directed by Suganuma Eiji, produced by Bandai Visual and is 13 episodes in length. Karneval started broadcast in Japan on April 4, 2013 and ended on June 27, 2013.
Like Magi, I first came across this anime on MyAnimeList as for one of my anime recommendations before broadcast. It seemed like an interesting story, so I gave it a go with the manga and it is now one of my favorites.
I was really excited for this anime, but my hopes were kind of shot after it being announced that it would be 13 episodes. This told me right away that the chances of it being an original end/cliffhanger end were quite high and the chances of a season 2 would be slim. I didn’t let this discourage me, as anime, even without properly following the original material, can still be good and held at high standards. Did Karneval live up to the manga? Well…
“Nai searches for someone important to him, with only an abandoned bracelet as a clue. Gareki steals and pick-pockets to get by from day to day. The two meet in a strange mansion where they are set-up, and soon become wanted criminals by military security operatives. When Nai and Gareki find themselves desperate in a hopeless predicament, they encounter none other than the country’s most powerful defense organization—”Circus”!!” (Source: One Manga)
Pretty common set-up. A naive, childish boy and a more intelligent, mature young man. Typical set-up for shoujo anime these days. The story is interesting though, I haven’t really seen much anime with circus or carnival elements applied within it, so it was quite something. The setting is that of a futuristic, steampunk era. Again, something I haven’t seem much. It has it’s uniqueness, but it’s not perfect. While some elements seem like rare occurrences in most anime of it’s genre, there are more similarities to other anime as well. When it comes down to it, you either like or you don’t. Even though I don’t like comparing anime to manga material, I will say that it even though it wasn’t long enough to adapt the majority of it, the series was adapted truthfully and the ending left room for the possibility for a second season (that ending… o-o). So for now, they are probably just seeing how sells go, so we might see a season 2 in the future, but who knows.
For it’s shoujo genre, we do have some typical types of characters. For example, it seems to be common where in shoujo/josei anime, there is one girl who is a main character (but feels more like a support character), and a few main male characters. But of course, the story revolves around two of the main male characters the most. Also, plenty of bishounen, as it is a must for any shoujo anime. While I do love the characters, sadly, none of them really have personalities, back stories, or anything really that sets them apart from other shoujo anime characters. I did give points, however, for them being lovable enough to the point where you can pick out your favorite(s) from the bunch.
Naive and childish. Nai searches for Karoku with the help of Gareki and Circus. Becomes very attached to Gareki. At first, you will most likely dislike Nai, and you’ll label him an idiot. Be patient, there is a perfectly good reason he acts so helpless, naive, and childish.
An intelligent and hostile young man who is a skilled gunman and an expert with bombs. Gareki views people as one of three things; enemy, prey, or scum. He at first sees Nai as prey, merely after the Circus bracelet.
A light-hearted and carefree guy. Yogi is very childish for a grown man, but is like an older brother figure. He tends to treat Gareki like a little kid, which annoys the hell out of him.
Tsukumo is a very nonchalant and apathetic young girl. She speaks in a calm and quiet manner and is skilled in acrobatics, which proves useful when fighting.
Art & Animation
The art is gorgeous! Everything is so bright and colorful when need be, or it’s toned down for anything depressing or serious. I just loved watching the carnival scenes, everything was just beautiful and well executed. The animation isn’t as good, but it isn’t bad. I wouldn’t say that it’s smooth, but not too rough, and I don’t see much of a difference from the beginning to end. It isn’t really anything to write home about, average.
The music tends to draw you in. I can’t help but say that the music suits Karneval really well, I don’t know how to describe, it just does. We have music that sounds straight from a carnival or parade, some may sound eerie, light-hearted, amusing; but that all defines the anime, Karneval. The original soundtrack certainly deserves a spot in your anime collection. The voice actors have also done a commendable job; amazing performances, especially from the ever so famous and talented Hiro Shimono, Kamiya Hiroshi, Ono Daisuke, etc. The opening and ending themes are very catchy. I feel in love with both at the very moment I heard them, and I remember impatiently waiting for the release of the singles (especially REASON by KAmiYU). The music is certainly the strong point of the anime.
Despite some slight shortcomings, I REALLY enjoyed watching Karneval, and I am sad that it is over. Of course, there is still the ongoing manga, but who doesn’t like to see their favorite manga(s) animated? Not only that, but I wasn’t pissed off because I was watching something that was actually truthful to the original. After the few cringes I had from watching Magi, this was refreshing. I hope for a season 2 in the near future, and I hope that ain’t no pipe dream.
Karneval was adapted really well. It was true to the manga, had gorgeous art and stunning visuals, lovely and lively music, and its pacing was nicely done as well. Unless we have a season 2, I can be sure fans of the original will be more satisfied than they are now, especially since the ending was a cliffhanger ending. Either way, it was a nice watch and I looked forward to it every week. So did it live up to the manga? Yes… yes it did.
My whole conclusion: Karneval is my favorite of the season of Spring 2013!
Anime Rating: 8
Very good. Everything was portrayed nicely, but it gives off a feeling of something missing. Its considered entertaining and one can get enjoyment from watching it.