Karneval is a very strange series. It is basically sci-fi I think, and although on first impressions it comes across as being very fluffy and trivial, once you get into it there is actually a very good (and quite dark) story-line.
It tells the story of Gareki, a young pick-pocket who feels he is left with nothing and steals to earn his way in the world. When Gareki breaks into a mansion house, he comes across a young boy, named Nai, who is being held captive by Mine, the lady of the house.
Nai wears a bracelet, identified as Mine as a “Circus I.D.”, belonging to a friend of his, Karoku, who is missing and for whom Nai has been searching ever since his disappearance. Feeling some measure of responsibility, Gareki frees Nai, on the understanding that when they have the opportunity to okay it with Karoku, the bracelet will be his.
Mine turns out to be really rather scary and decidedly not human. As the two youngsters find themselves pursued by enemies unknown from the manor house, Gareki takes Nai under his wing and helps him to escape by jumping onto a train.
It just so happens that on board this train are two operatives of “Circus”, the Supreme National Defense Agency, (Captain Hirato and Tsukuma) who are attempting to regain control of the train, which has been hijacked. Nai uses his keen sense of hearing to locate the transmitter controlling the explosive device and Gareki uses his knowledge to disarm it.
Having escaped from the security forces, the two boys decide to remain together and hide in an abandoned warehouse. However, while Circus are holding a public event, Nai is spotted by agents of Kafka and Circus realize that the youngsters from the train are in danger and decide to help them.
Enter Yogi, dressed as his alter-ego Nyanperona, who rescues Gareki and Nai and takes them aboard Airship 2, soon to become their new home.
What follows is a voyage of discovery for all concerned, with startling revelations about both Nai and Gareki, their places in the grand scheme of things and the on-going battle between Circus and the mysterious Kafka organisation.
This really is a good story and I do hope that they make a second season (although nothing appears to be in the pipeline). It’s main problem is that it suffers from a severe overdose of sentimentalism. It is almost nauseatingly cute, usually for no apparent reason whatsoever, and although it is nice when characters are not afraid to show that they care for each other, it can very easily be taken too far.
Karneval is a good watch, but is probably more suitable for female audiences, I expect that most males of the species will find this all entirely too twinkly.
“Life always boils it down to one of three choices, enemy, obstacle, or easy mark.”
Karneval is available to buy now on DVD and Blu-ray.