Impression – Karneval, Episode 04

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Score 4 – “Flightless Wings”

Last week, it looked like Gareki was hentai monster food. However, he’s saved by the jewel-wielding Iva (CV: Youko Honna), another member of Circus and an eccentric woman who has a certain preference for cute things, particularly Tsukumo. The team discovers a cave containing a mysterious book and then we treated with a glimpse of Karoku’s current whereabouts. Apparently he’s in the care of Erisyuka and her CEO father from the first episode. The plan is to have the two marry, but she dislikes the idea because of Karoku’s stoic demeanor. Her ideal romance involves something more, well, romantic rather than something arranged.

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After investigating the Niji Forest, the team of Gareki, Nai, and Yogi decide to check out Gareki’s old hometown. He recalls his terrible experience as he was being shipped somewhere, when he was bullied by the other children and starved. However, this actually turns out to be a good thing because the food being served contained drugs for an experiment. After ship wrecks, a woman named Tsubaki finds and cares for Gareki. He has reservations about a man she’s seeing and warns her not to get involved with him anymore. Things lead to the worse as she ends up dead (which is what we saw in a previous episode).

In present time, the gang encounters two people that Gareki recognizes from his childhood: a girl who claims to be into chubby guys and a not-so-friendly guy. In the dead of night, they discover a fresh body with strange markings on it, and it turns out that the guy happens to be even more unfriendly than previously thought, possibly possessing some Varuga blood. A lot of things are happening in this show at once, but I think it all leads into the experiments that are being done on people. Nai is supposedly the product between Niji and human and could be some sort of sought-after prototype, while the Varuga are demonic spin-offs.

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The relationship between Nai and Gareki feels a bit forced and unnatural at times, but I think it’s mostly because of Nai’s animal-like behavior, which causes him to act like a lost child most of the time. Though, I’m not sure if that aspect makes things more or less awkward for me. Also, we get a hint of his relationship with Karoku, as he mentions that he’s hesitant to touch “the light.” As we recall, Nai is compared to a pure light. We’ll see how far these shounen-ai overtones go in future installments.

B.W.

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