Karnevel Vol.1 by Touya Mikanagi: review

Karneval, Vol. 1 (Karneval, #1)Karnevel Vol.1 by Touya Mikanagi
Series: Karneval #1
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Shounen, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Synopsis: When innocent country boy Nai sets foot into the sordid cutthroat realm of the city, he might as well have painted a target on his own back. Kidnappers, murderers and desperados abound, waiting to take advantage of a boy guileless enough to believe blood is merely “red water”. When he is framed for a murder, it is the bandit Gareki who bails him out. Being a shrewd and sharp-eyed thief, however, Gareki’s motives are less than pure. Nai is looking for a friend who has disappeared and left behind something particularly intriguing – an I.D bracelet from the organisation named “Circus”, the country’s supreme defense agency. While Gareki has his sights set firmly on the bracelet, “Circus” in turn, has shifted its eye onto the duo as well…

My Thoughts:

For a first volume, this volume was pretty great. Yes, it was a bit hard to follow, but it promises that the it’s the beginning of a series that has much potential. And to be honest, I am kind of in love with the title.

Right from the start the reader is thrown into the story. Information is shown little by little. This can cause some confusion–heck, even I had some question marks floating over my head at times– but I thought it was well done for the most part. The volume is pretty fast paced with tons of action, so I was never bored and stuck in my seat!

I have always loved stories in which powerful organizations play a important rule. This is pretty apparent in my obvious love for Pandora Hearts. But instead of the organization Pandora, we have Circus, an organization that keeps control of crime and sets up circus carnivals as an apology for disrupting the daily life of citizens. So yeah, I am sort of attracted to this manga because of Circus.

The characters are quite interesting… Nai gives a whole new meaning to the word naive (he consistently calls blood ‘red water’). This naivete might grate on the nerves of some readers but I actually think that this trait makes him adorable. Normally I am very irritated by extreme naivete, but I feel different about it this time. And Gareki is very mysterious at the moment but right now he seems like the type of character that is outwardly cold but kind in the inside. I think there is a developing friendship between the two!

Some other noteable characters are Yogi and Tsukumo. Yogi is pretty silly which makes him very entertaining to read and Tsukumo is very quiet right now, but she does seem very tough.

To be honest, I wish there was more ‘Circus stuff’ in this volume. Sure, we get some scenes with the organization, but I want to see the conflict within the organization of Circus and really see the personalities of all the people working for it. It’s only the first volume so hopefully we get some of that in the future.

The art, awhile rough, is beautiful. There is a lot of close attention payed to small details like the creases in clothing and strands of hair. If you are a sucker for pretty art like I am, then this manga might just be for you. The art is to die for.

Overall, this was a pretty neat first volume. It wasn’t perfect but it was a great beginning to a probably great series (I have heard nothing but good things about it). Thank you, Delaney for wildly recommending this!

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Nabari No Ou Vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani: review

Nabari No Ou, Vol. 1Nabari No Ou Vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani

Series: Nabari No Ou #1

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Genre: Shounen, Action

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 12th 2009

Synopsis: Apathetic schoolboy Miharu Rokujou is content to meander through life in the sleepy village of Banten. But his quiet existence is shattered when the Grey Wolves of Iga, a powerful ninja clan, attempt to kidnap him in broad daylight. Only then does Miharu discover that the ultimate power of the hidden ninja realm – a power that can do both great good and great harm – is sealed within his body. As battles erupt among rival ninja clans seeking to control him, Miharu must overcome his apathy and learn the ways of the ninja if he wants any shot at survival!

My Thoughts: 

The first volume of the Nabari No Ou series is a bit hard to write. Maybe it’s because I have read most of the series and this is just a reread? I don’t know. Anyways, this is a pretty good first volume. Oh, and since I have already read most of this series I will be pointing out things from future volumes if I feel the need.

This volume introduces the story of Miharu, a boy who has suddenly been dragged into the Nabari world (a world that coexist with the Surface world) and finds out that he has the power of the Shinrabanshou, a power that contains all the wisdom of the universe, hidden inside him. People are out to get him and people want to help him. Even if Miharu wants to keep living his apathetic life, he has no choice but to be involved in this battle.

If you haven’t realized already, this is the start of a series about ninjas. No, this is not a copycat of the well-known mainstream manga series that is also about ninjas. But it seems like people do feel inclined to compare it to that, and it seems like Kamatani was prepared for that. She uses this first volume as a way to hint that Nabari No Ou has a more serious story and a story that is very different.

My favorite thing about this volume is how quickly it gets to the point. This volume doesn’t take to long to introduce the main characters and getting into the story. And then even after getting into the story it is still fast paced. There will be no boring moments in this solid beginning.

To be honest, the characters are pretty average in this volume. They are definitely entertaining and fun to read about, but they aren’t memorable. It really isn’t until the next installments when that happens. But the characters do have a certain light-heartedness that isn’t in the next installments (when things get more deep and serious) in this volume.

And that is the reason why I return to this volume repeatedly.

Sometimes I just want to read about the apathethic kid called Miharu that really doesn’t care whether or not he has the wisdom of the whole world hidden inside him. To read about Tobari and his phobia of moving vehicles. To read about Raimei and her tendency to get over-excited. And to read about Kouichi and his very calm demeanor.

The humor element definitely puts to use Miharu’s I-don’t-care attitude and his cuteness. Most of the little jokes revolve around those traits.

Shirt: Muscular Pain… Miharu didn’t care enough to change out of the outfit his grandma made him wear.

The mangaka has a clean, distict drawing style. Her art is lovely most of the time. Although there are a couple of panels in which the characters look drawn awkwardly in volume one. (The art becomes absolutely beautiful later, so don’t drop this series because of the art in the first volume.)

Overall, this is a good introduction to a series. It isn’t overly good but still a solid volume that will definitely make one want to continue (especially because of the fact that two sides are battling it out at the end). I will definitely recommend this series if you are a fan of ninjas or reading books that involve the use of nature as a source of power or maybe even just some sword fighting (Raimei kicks butt with that blade).