Karneval ep5: when a situation calls for tragedy…
Well I saw this coming from a long ways off. Since we’re still early in the series, and learning more not only about the world, but the Varuga as well, I guess it only makes sense that an arc like this is here. If Gareki is gonna stay around with Circus, he’s gonna need a better to stay along aside from Nai’s cuteness. It’s clear he doesn’t really like anybody in the organization. And what better excuse is there for someone to stick around than vengeance?
Last episode had ended with the reveal that Tsubame had not been the one going around turning into a monster and killing people. It was actually her twin brother Yotaka. So that should lead anyone to probably believe that they have one of those mental connections only twins have in most media. While she’s wandering the streets lamenting, her brother is engaged in combat with Yogi. Even as a Varuga, Yotaka’s still kinda cute with his little black wings and his vortex ability.
As for the actual main characters, Gareki gives Nai a speech about how he can’t just abandon his “family”, even though he’s abandoned them once already (illustrated by a moody flashback). Gareki gives Nai his coat to make him less conspicuous (because, you know Nai just looks like a victim), and runs off to help out in the battle. Going through town Nai finds Tsubame in the street being confronted by some creepy bishounen. He rescues her – that’s right, Nai rescues somebody else, if temporarily. And the episode culminates with everyone meeting in one spot as Yogi is knocked out by a fully transformed Yotaka.
The creepy bishounen explains to everyone that he’s the man that Gareki’s friend had been receiving the medicine from so long ago. But he also says he’s not the one who killed her either. Yotaka had been suspicious of the medicine they were being given and started to eat Tsubame’s share to protect her. That’s why she only partially freaks out at night, whatever poison he’d been feeding them, she didn’t get the proper dose. You apparently can’t overdose either, because that means Yotaka had been receiving a double dose for awhile. Though isn’t as important as the fact that Yotaka still barely holds onto to his consciousness and humanity. The bishounen tries to correct that though by commanding him to kill everyone. He tries to deny it, but feels himself losing control, begging Gareki to kill him. As Yotaka struggles to remove his grip on Tsubame’s throat, he’s impaled by a cane and disintegrates.
This wasn’t a bad episode, though as I said, it was predictable. Strangely enough, it’s usually women I see in media getting power, and then not being able to handle it and begging to be killed. This time it’s just a guy that looks like a girl. The evil bishounen from this episode makes me wonder how many of the other bad guys in this show are full fledged Varuga. And the twin’s predicament makes me wonder just what it is that makes them into these monsters, since they they can some how be administered in the form of powder or pills. And this should definitely be enough to convince Gareki to join Circus, though I’m not quite sure what their training or even qualifications would entail.
Also, two things have been nagging me. Why is it that when we Tsubaki in these flashbacks, she has these amazing clothes on, but her siblings and Gareki are basically wearing sacks? And speaking of clothing, why does Gareki wear that ridiculous shirt? It only covers one shoulder, and I don’t get a George of the Jungle vibe from him either. It’d make more sense if he didn’t wear a top at all under that coat. The only thing that I’ve seen that’s worse is probably Dante’s “nipple belt” outfit from Devil May Cry 3.
Through five episodes I’ve found this show to be tolerable, though not spectacular. The animation is nice, though I’m not a big fan of the character designs, I like the style of the show. They all have nice style and the late 1800’s/turn-of-the-century style that seems to pop up here I find very nice. The animation too is decent, and is partly what convinced me to give this show a shot. That and the fact that Hiroshi Kamiya is also a key voice talent for this show, though I don’t particularly like the character he voices.
And here we go with the characters, they’re not the strongest, most engaging group. And I think the show would be better off for it, if they were. Gareki and Nai are the main problem. Gareki is so aloof, yet mainly powerless through these episodes that I find him to be a character that is incapable of holding my interest. Some people may say that his ability to use bombs makes him anything but powerless, but I disagree. This show so far has only dealt with monsters, and he’s yet to do anything successful aside from stave off the first monster in the show with them. If anything, he reminds me more of those annoying and overconfident females I see in too many anime. The ones that have the guts to rush into a fight, but don’t have the talent, strength or knowledge to do anything besides be a hostage or a victim before the end of a battle. He’s not nearly as bad as Cecily from Sacred Blacksmith, but he certainly isn’t good either.
Then there’s Nai, who isn’t nearly as bad as I first thought. He’s a combo of the village idiot and the village innocent (if such a thing exists). And he’s the usual key to everything in the storyline, a task often given to females. I enjoy the role reversal here, though he is still quite feminine. At first I viewed him as a liability and an idiot. A loathsome character who was made too weak and innocent to live in this world, just so chicks could enjoy some borderline shouta-con bait. And I may be right, but the show does give itself a cop out by saying that he’s half cutest mythical beast ever, half boy. I do have some fear for the fan fiction that even now could be being written about him. Plus some assertiveness is coming out of him. Though together with Gareki, they make one ineffective team of hostages and targets.
The supporting members of Circus aren’t that memorable yet, either. The junior members that seem to be around the most aren’t engaging personalities either. Tsukumo kinda lacks a personality altogether short of being someone that wants to be competent and accepted. Yogi in most other anime would be terribly annoying, and many of the characters in this show see him just that way. But he is competent at his job, caring and gives some decent advice when the time is right. Their superior, Hirato is a dapper man, who is very professional when it comes to his job. That said, his personality isn’t a stand out either.
I’m looking forward to seeing if this show can push itself a little bit harder to be darker (though a character did just die this episode), or have more expressive characters somehow. Gareki as a main just doesn’t do it for me. This fifth episode probably does conclude some sort of introduction to the show. So one of the two mains (and it won’t be Nai) needs to do more than be babysat by Circus operatives and do something to take the fight to their enemies.
All in all, I plan to finish this show to the end. There’s enough potential and some creativity that leads me to think that someone will enjoy this for more than the bishounen. And I might be that someone.