Check-in Station: Karneval ep1 (there seems to be a lot of face touching in this anime…)
Spring Season anime watching part deaux… or is it deux? Or deuce? Well there goes my attempt at being classy or cultured. The anime is Karneval. I keep hearing its josei, which I’m neutral towards. And I see a lot of mysticism (or maybe it’s technology based, I can’t tell yet), but it looked interesting in the preview so I’m gonna take a look at it before I get distracted by my more anticipated shows, like Shingeki no Kyojin, OreImo, Railgun or Majestic Prince. Yes, Majestic Prince. I’m a big fan of the character designer.
Anyway, Karneval! Let’s go!
So the show starts off with what can only be a flashback or a dream. As we see some blonde-haired kid with weird… horns? Colored hair spikes? Seriously, what the f*ck is going on with his head? Anyway, he seems to be having a nice obsessive dream about some guy named Karoku. I warn you, I’m terrible at remembering names initially, so Karoku’s name may be the only one I actually use right now, because it was repeated at least a DOZEN times. The kid with horns wakes up to find reasonably hot chick with way too much makeup on hovering over him. My first reaction of course is “ew, it’s that stuff that girls like with the young docile boys. Ew.” And I’m not sure if he was actually gonna get ravaged, because before the woman named, Mine (YAY! I remembered one!) can “taste” him, we get a series of distractions and happenstances that derail her pleasure. In short, the episode gets going, and I could not be more grateful for it!
The docile, weird kid is being held in a mansion. And the mansion is in a very busy town apparently. Two other weird characters, who I can only surmise to be important by their character design and not crap voice acting, meet on a very busy street to discuss some business. One is a very tall, lanky man with glasses and a top hat, and a very dapper way of dressing all around. The other looks to be a young girl/woman with sharp eyes. Though I’d almost say she was adorable if something didn’t give me the feeling that she was probably deadly. Probably from years of watching Japanese media and seeing that in that culture, little girls are the least safe or innocent things in existence.
In another part of town, some old man and his cute granddaughter with pink hair are being held hostage on a train by some rabble. They look rather disheveled, and the usual level of desperate for hostages that know they’re going to die. There’s some arrogance, but it’s the arrogance that comes with knowing you’re gonna die violently in some way regardless. A sort of “f*ck it” arrogance.
Back at the mansion, Mine has discovered a bracelet on the docile, weird kid that she recognizes as a sort of identification for an organization known as Circus. The mansion is then brought into an uproar as I guess someone has tripped the security. Mine runs off, I guess to see what’s going on. And as she leaves the ceiling is blown off and a dashing young thief hops down and starts scouring the place for treasure. He recognizes everything as crap, except the rather crappy looking (in my opinion) bracelet. And as the kid has made it known that he wants out of this place, the thief agrees to let him tag along so long as eventually he gets that bracelet. Just then Mine returns, probably because she heard that explosion, and… well, sh*t starts to get weird. Turns out she’s a grotesque monster. The thief and the weird kid hall their young , tight booties out of there with some help from the VERY convenient bombs the thief keeps on him. I’ve never seen a more favorable explosion in an anime in my life. The thief must have been Bomberman, or one of those guys from Red Faction: Armageddon in his previous life.
As the thief and the weirdo take off, the defeated Mine is approached by a man (?) in a black cloak. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that appears in every story ever! Video games, anime, movies, story books, a black cloak/mantle has to be the least conspicuous thing ever! Regardless, the dapper man and the sharp-eyed girl arrive soon after, but Mine is gone. Apparently the monstrosity had some info they greatly treasured.
The story then turns to the train with the hostages. The dapper man and sharp-eyed girl learn of it soon after arriving at the destroyed mansion. The thief and weirdo stowaway onto it, because apparently that monster has friends in high places. And they’ve dispatched the entirety of the town’s security force to find them. This leads to a very unfortunate set of circumstances for the terrorists on the train. The dapper man and the thief have a short and embarrassing confrontation on the train before the sharp-eyed girl and him beat up a few terrorists, get captured on purpose, free themselves easily, beat down the thugs and find out there’s a series of timed bombs on the each of the train cars (not bad for rabble) and then receive help from the thief and the weirdo. I guess the weirdo can hear/sense the electro-magnetic waves coming from an electronic device used to set off the bombs independently. The thief then also appears to have extensive knowledge on bombs and electronics. This is enough to convince the dapper man to trust them. He takes care of the electronic trigger himself (in a less than subtle way), and everyone is saved.
The episode ends the next morning as things are being cleaned up. The dapper man attempts to interview the powerful old man that was taken hostage, but he comes up with some crappy old man excuse about seeing a doctor about his heart palpitations or some mess like that. The dapper man is obviously not pleased and suspicious. And he has every right to be, since the old man meets some dashing red haired bishie in his car. They both make it very clear that the whole train incident was a set up to test the dapper man and sharp-eyed woman, who revealed themselves earlier to be part of Circus. A secret organization, that I guess deals in national security. I don’t think evil laughter was then exchanged, but it would have been appropriate, if not cheesy, for the moment.
This was a good first episode top to bottom. Things stayed interesting, and moved briskly. The creepiness was less than I expected. And the feared shota-con bait wasn’t exactly what I feared. The thief has a very familiar voice that I’ll have to look up on MAL later. But none of the characters really annoyed me except for the weirdo. He seemed more like a pet than a person, but it’s just the first episode and who knows what he could bring to the show for good or bad.
The art was very good, very clean, and at certain scenes very beautiful. And the show teased a healthy amount of violence, though I can’t tell this early how dark it may or may not be. Well, it what promises to be a very busy season I’m willing to test this series out for five episodes. Episode one of Karneval was a fun ride. I look forward to see how it builds and progresses from here.