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A fifteen-year-old boy named Gareki, who gets by on stealing from rich people's mansions, one day comes across a strange young lad named Nai. Nai had been searching for somebody important to him with only an abandoned, blood-covered bracelet as a clue, but wound up being captured by a cruel, abnormal woman because of his otherworldly naivety.
The two are set-up within the freakish mansion wherein Nai is held captive and where the rest of Gareki's crew is slaughtered, and soon become wanted criminals sought out by military security operatives. Just as Nai and Gareki find themselves in a desperate predicament, they encounter none other than the Second Ship of the nation's most powerful defense organization, Circus, with its deceptive captain Hirato, its fighters, the cheerful Yogi and dedicated Tsukumo, and its odd black mechanical sheep.
As they learn more of Nai's peculiar past and its relation to Kafuka, a dark and hidden organization involved in illegal genetic research that vehemently opposes the government, the two continue to meet allies, friends and enemies alike through Circus, and eventually become wrapped up in the defense organization's mysterious affairs.
A fantasy manga series by Mikanagi Touya, which originally started serialization in the manga magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum and was published by Ichijinsha in early 2008. There are currently more than 10 volumes out, with several Drama CDs released in Japan. An upcoming anime production has recently been announced in the manga and on the series' website.
A character sheet is under construction.
Karneval provides examples of:
- Art Evolution - Rather subtle, considering how distinctive the manga-ka's art style already is, but it's particularly noticeable with Nai throughout the chapters, where in contrast to the first, his face looks much younger and more "innocent." Gareki and Yogi's character designs are also refined as well.
- Attempted Rape - Disturbingly enough this happens to Nai in the very first chapter, at the hands of the much older Valga woman, Mine.
- Author Appeal - Characters often appear in torn clothing and bandages on the covers.
- Badass in a Nice Suit / Sharp-Dressed Man - Most male members of Circus, particularly Hirato.
- Bare Your Midriff - Eva, and occasionally Gareki.
- Big Brother Instinct - Yotaka becomes jealous of his twin sister Tsubame's friendship with Gareki because he "wants Tsubame all to himself."
- Big Brother Mentor - Yogi (and even Hirato) can later be seen acting as this to Nai, Gareki and others. Gareki's more than likely to deny this (or any attachment to the crew of the Second Ship, really).
- Bio Augmentation: What Kafka do and they have no qualms about testing their research on humans. In many cases, the victims aren't even aware they're being part of an ugly experiment.
- Bishonen - Most of the guys introduced.
- Body Horror - The Varuga
- Brainwashed and Crazy - What happens to Yotaka when he is turned into a Varuga...
- Cane Fu - Hirato's weapon of choice, with the special attack "Vakuum."
- Celibate Hero - In chapter 12, Yogi mentions how cool Gareki can be when Gareki easily shoots down a bracelet in a booth that Yogi had been trying to get, and how he probably has several girlfriends. It seems to be implied otherwise.
- Of course two seconds later, a girl Gareki had known since childhood literally jumps on him, causing Yogi to exclaim in disbelief, "GIRLFRIEND A!?" Which both deny, the girl more vehemently, as she is apparently determined to marry a "plump, gentle-eyed person!" The direct opposite of Gareki, as Yogi puts it.
- Chivalrous Pervert - Dr. Akari knows that he's a handsome bastard that women want (yet whom the nurses hilariously deny), but seemingly hasn't exercised the "pervert" portion as far as the viewer is concerned.
- Hirato might be worse, as is shown in a humorous extra.
- Clothing Damage - Goes along with Bandage Babe on the manga tankoubon covers -- though only men have thus far being shown in this fashion. Tsukumo was featured on the volume 6 cover while in rather revealing (but undamaged) clothes.
- Cool Big Sis - Eva seems to be one to some extent, although the guys are pretty scared of her.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive - Karoku's boss.
- Deadpan Snarker - Gareki, Hirato, and Tsukumo when a certain someone is irritating them (read: Yogi).
- Does Not Like Men - Eva thinks they suck.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita - Kiichi
- Even the Girls Want Her - Specifically Eva to Tsukumo, as Tsukumo is the resident bishoujo.
- Eye Scream - One chapter had a Varuga that went around collecting people's eyes (i.e. ripping them out of people's heads). He tries to do the same to Nai, but the latter is saved by a sheep.
- Fan Service - Of both male (see above) and female variety, though Eva wears particularly revealing clothes.
- Fashionable Asymmetry - One of Gareki's skin tight black shirts is an obvious offender underneath the red jacket, as can be viewed in chapter 12.
- Foreshadowing - Some of it occurs very early on, for people to come later.
- Funbag Airbag - How Nai first meets Eva.
- Gratuitous German
- Green Thumb - Yogi's weapons are two thorn-like épées. Prominent and partially combined with Scarf of Asskicking in chapter 19, whereupon the Badass split personality of Yogi saves Gareki from the split personality's own attack this way.
- Group Hug: A touching one between Yogi, Gareki and Nai. Considering Gareki's feelings towards open affection, however, he looks annoyed.
- Hot Amazon - Eva. She instead of Yogi carries Gareki when he's injured in Chapter 11, to hilarious effect.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight - Though not as forthright as most examples, Gareki manages to bring the stabler Yogi back in chapter 19.
- Invocation: Each Circus member has to come up with a personal dramatic line which they'll use in combat. Yogi made the mistake of leaving it up to Hirato...
- Jerkass - Gareki can be one, Akari can also, and Hirato can especially be one, but...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Gareki obviously has a weak spot for Nai's innocence (though it won't spare the poor kid getting bonked in the head), Hirato seems to effectively hide how much he cares for his crew and how often he makes certain of Nai (and Gareki)'s safety, and Akari is harshly vocal about Hirato's apparent callousness toward his crew and the people essentially under his care.
- The Lancer - Yogi to Hirato, Gareki to Nai. However, Gareki seems to share the main character role with Nai, as a good deal of narrative focus goes into Gareki's thoughts and circumstances.
- Manipulative Bastard - Hirato, although he seems to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Karoku definitely, though we're unsure of his intentions at this point. He hasn't been nice, though.
- Mercy Kill - Circus see it as their duty to kill the Varuga both to protect humans and put the Varuga out of their misery.
- Mood Whiplash - "I've killed someone..."
- Mr. Fanservice - Although most of the male cast could qualify to the point of having a Cast Full of Pretty Boys, Gareki is especially seen in cut up or revealing outfits that should not look as hot as they do when he's wearing them.
- Nebulous Evil Organization - Kafuka
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The creation of Nai, a unique Niji-human hybrid. There is a notebook left behind but it's badly damaged and furthermore, written in codes.
- Parental Abandonment - Gareki's parents sold him to a slave trader when he was eight years old.
- Parental Substitute - Tsubaki for Gareki, and her younger siblings Yotaka and Tsubame. Most likely Karoku for Nai as well, before he became an apparent Aloof Big Brother and worse by the start of the story.
- It turns out Akari is one, too...
- Power Crystal - Eva fights with these.
- Power Trio: Trios are important in Karneval -- the main trio has Nai as Id, Yogi as Ego, and Gareki as Superego. In Circus, the Second Ship has Yogi as Id, Tsukumo as Ego, and Hirato as Superego, while in the First Ship, Kiichi is Id, Tsukitachi is Ego, and Jiki is Superego (although the latter two cases can switch), and the adults in charge are Tsukitachi as Id, Hirato as Ego and Akari as Superego.
- Psycho Serum - Taken by people who become Valga, sometimes unwittingly and other times not.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter - Nai in animal form.
- What say you of the black sheep, or of the bunny from chapter 15?
- Shotacon - The monster woman Mine tries to rape Nai in the first chapter...
- Swiss Army Superpower: The technology of Circus allows their ID bracelets and hats of the commanders to do all kinds of cool things.
- Third Person Person - Kiichi
- Traitor Shot: Several, some discreet--Valga are sometimes hard to distinguish from normal civilians, especially in the process of turning, and there are plenty of agents secretly working for the black market or are involved in conspiracies...
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair - Kiichi has blue hair, Tsukitachi has bright red hair and Eva's is jade green.