Karneval is centered around Nai, a boy of about 12-14 years who is looking for his friend, Karoku. After searching for Karoku, Nai comes across a strange bracelet that he believes belonged to Karoku, and surrounding the bracelet is a trail of blood leading into the ocean. The bracelet is then identified as a Circus I.D., which was given to members of Circus, an organization created by the government to combat crimes the main security force are unable to handle. Circus I.D.s grant magical powers, ranging from hiding one’s presence, moving extremely fast, or even simply flying.
During Nai’s continued search for Karoku, he comes across a thief named Gareki. Gareki is a robin-hood-esque character who steals only from the rich. He’s quick and quite intelligent, although ignorant, and he specializes in mechanics. After a turn of events, Gareki joins Nai to search for Karoku for seemingly no reason at all.
As for Circus, the organization puts on a show each time the public was endangered in any of their missions, hence the name, Circus. The organization itself is not short of any enemies, quickly apparent as the enemy organization, Kafka appears. Kafka unveils their human experiments as Varuga, who are genetically-altered humans with strange (sometimes grotesque) abilities. And thus begins the story of Nai’s continued search for Karoku and Circus’ battle against Kafka.
The anime is cleanly drawn and quite hilarious. Though it is serious at times, it quickly turns around and cracks a joke here and again. The characters are rather humerous, though Nai could get a bit annoying at times (he’s a bit ditsy). The current known members of Circus each have their own personalities, such as the analytical Hirato, the hyper-energetic and childish Yogi, the very serious Tsukumo, and the strange Eva.
The plot itself is quite generic, though the combination of elements that the anime puts together are rather unique. It’s a supernatural comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and serves as a good time killer that’s entertaining for short bursts of time. Additionally, the Varuga seem to be quite unique (who would’ve though having extendable arms with multiple joints could be so… creepy?), and it’ll be quite interesting to see where the series goes now.
For you manga readers, you may like to know that there have been 11 volumes released since its first release in 2007, and more are still being planned for the future.