The first character the audience encounters is Nai, a boy who is longing to see a man named Karoku; Nai claims the two of them lived together in a forest near the town of Karasuna. He says that one day, Karoku left and never came back. Nai is on a quest to look for Karoku, and he wears a special bracelet that he says belonged to Karoku. Unfortunately, Nai is rather naive, and believes that anyone who claims will help him will actually help him.
Nai is being held captive in a mansion belonging to a woman named Mine. During the first episode, a thief named Gareki breaks into the mansion to commit a robbery and comes across Nai. Gareki makes a deal with Nai, and the two try to escape. However, they are pursued by Mine, who ends up mutating into a monster and trying to capture them.
After making their escape, Nai and Gareki end up on a train where a hostage situation is taking place. Two unusual individuals make an appearance: Hirato and Tsukumo. They are both from a powerful defense organization called Circus. Together, the four of them are able to defuse the hostage situation and help the captives escape. However, at the end of the first episode, it's clear that not everything is as it seems, and that there will be mysteries to untangle over the course of the series.
To me, the best aspect of Karneval is the animation. The backgrounds are lush and visually appealing to the eye, and the character designs and movements complement the backgrounds. Content-wise, about the only real issue was when Mine mutated from a human to a monster; there were some sections of this sequence that looked a little on the "grotesque" side.
Story-wise, Karneval isn't bad, but there just wasn't quite enough to grab my interest and make me feel like I have to see the next episode as soon as it becomes available as a simulcast. I think this was due, in large part, to the fact that the first episode had to spend time establishing the characters and the premise, but was also having to keep some information shrouded in secrecy in order to have some mysteries to figure out over the course of the series. This is a series I might be willing to watch more of if it ever gets a North American home video release.
If you're already familiar with the story through exposure to the manga, then you might be able to have a better appreciation for Karneval when watching the first episode.
With the concept of the series, as well as some of the visuals that I saw in the first episode, I would personally recommend Karneval to anime viewers who are 15 or 16 years of age and older.
|Karneval||12||2013||Eiji Suganuma||Manglobe||FUNimation Entertainment|