Distributor: Madman (Australia)
Release Date: 20/08/2014
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English subtitles
Number of Discs: 2
Runtime: 325.0 mins
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen Full Height Anamorphic
Author: John Mathews
Karneval is one of the most unique amines that I have seen in quite a long time. The premise focuses on a organisation group called 'circus' who essentially work as a security force to protect the public from evil. They are the background characters for the bigger picture. It starts off with is being introduced to a young boy named Nai, who gets captured by an evil woman. Gareki a catburglar breaks in the house and crosses paths with this woman. She turns out to be sometype of creature and Gareki frees young Nai and they become friends. Nai has a special bracelet which appears to be of interest to this group of creatures. The first episode sets up the entire series very well, with a train robbery immediately idenitying the villians and good guys in this world. Circus come to the rescue to the train robbery, but did the hostage really want to be saved?
As the series progresses we learn the Gai is not really what he appears to be on the outside, thus explaining his innocent qualities. The circus oragainsation take both Nai and Gareki under their wing and decide they will become valuable allies in defeating this evil orgainsation that is lurking in society. The Circus orgainsation really shines through its use of characters; there are two ships that the circus organisation run. Hiratois the Second Ship's Captain and is very mysterious, when he is onscreen in his top hat and suit, there is a level of intrigue. Upon taking Gareki and Nai on board his ship, he entrusts them to Yogi and Tsukumo.
Yogi is a comical and anxious character while Tsukumo a beutiful girl that has a high level of style. The are so many unique characters in this series that it is nearly impossible to name all of them (Iva,Jiki, Arkira). As the story progresses we learn more about these indivduals, where for example it goes back to Gareki's past; where a lady Tsubaki took him in and added him in to her family of four, including her younger twin siblings, Tsubame and Yotaka, and grandfather.
We learn a connection between Gareki's past and an the evil creatures, who are part of an orgainsation called Kafka. This motivates Garkei to help circus. The group go on missions to the snow and even an island filled with interesting and mystical creatures; the universive of Karneval is very creative and highly original. Visually the series looks stunning, it has a unique very early 20th century vibe. The circus orgainsation puts on a show for the public with parades and fireworks, this is where the rich colours and visually shine for the series.
There is also a large amount of deep underlying political themes, focusing on corruption of high social classes, asking the questions of who are the true monsters. The series is also very funny, very a strong sense of humour in comical situations. Despite it's fantasy look, it can get very dark in parts, shifiting very quickly in tone. Overall this is one of the most unique Anime series of the year, very well paced, if you're in the mood for something very visually and narrativly different, don't hestiate to check out Karnivel.