Karneval, Vol. 4 (Karneval, #4)

Karneval, Vol. 4 - Touya Mikanagi
This was a volume that was full of painful, heartbreaking moments in its beginning. So many things went wrong in the last volume, and this volume didn't skimp out on how everything unraveling affected our main characters. Without getting into too many spoilers, I will also say that even through the pain that this volume brought us through, it still maintains that beautiful ability to refresh our hearts and minds with those moments of much-needed humor and light-hearted play, and it comes full circle in the end when things are resolved to bring about a very tearful and beautiful feeling to the ending parts of the chapter. Though, as Mikanagi Touya has shown to be an expert so far, we've come away from this volume with a much more... silent threat. And it's going to unfold slowly but surely in the next volumes, I'm certain. It's going to be heartbreaking... that's for sure.

But enough with my rambling. Let me get to some of the relationships and characters I wanted to address in this volume!

In this volume, we get to see a lot more of three characters that we really haven't seen much of yet: the people of the First Ship-- Tsukitachi, Kiichi, and Jiki. Let's put it this way~ When I watched the Karneval anime, it only gave me so much of the picture when it comes to most of the characters I'm meeting in the manga again. I liked Tsukitachi in the anime, but I didn't like either Kiichi or Jiki. Well, surprise surprise, I found my thoughts on them changing when I got introduced to them in the manga.

Tsukitachi really surprised me with how much more energetic, playful, and even joyful he is! He has such an enthusiasm and carefree nature about him, and he just naturally draws people into whatever mood he's setting! It was a great relief to have him come into the story at the time that he did, because he showed another side to himself that I didn't think came off as well in the anime. He was... remarkably understanding... and I even said this to my best friend-- he probably gave the best piece of advice to a character in this volume out of all the things that have been said in the series so far. His level of empathy, and his deep understanding of the situation that Nai, Gareki, and the others had been thrown into was profound, and I came away from this volume looking at him in an entirely different light. He surprised me, and I've come to truly love him--yes, I can say that--I've come to truly love him because of who he's being revealed to me as, and how gently, patiently, and wonderfully he handled one of the most painful situations in the series so far. I'm very glad to have read the manga, because the anime version really, really didn't do this man the justice that his original form did. And I'm happy to have seen the real him.

Next up is Kiichi! When I first met her in the anime, frankly and to put it bluntly, I couldn't stand her. She pissed me off to no freaking end. The sooner she left the screen, the happier I was. -___-;; THAT'S how much she annoyed me. Her attitude, her impatience, everything about her just turned me off! And I couldn't STAND her! ...but reading the manga, she still has the same attitude, still has the same demanding nature, and still comes off with her gripes and her flippant nature. Yet somehow, I think the translation from manga to anime ruined or compressed who she really was into just some of who she is. Reading about her in the manga, I found the attitude that she flaunted to be more entertaining and badass than in the anime. I even found myself bursting into laughter when she ordered people around and got pissy when she didn't have her way and righteous fury consumed her! She ended up being a FAR more likeable character in the manga, and it's not because she's nicer, but just because I feel we got to see the authentic ways in which her demanding and outspoken nature was truly meant to be portrayed. She acts with reason, and demands with reason, and when she has her unique moments of attitude, you can understand better why they're coming out and why she's directing them in that way at the person in question. I was very surprised that I liked her as much as I did in this manga, and I'm glad that I was turned around, because she went from a character that was badass with a personality that I didn't like, to a character that was badass all around! I'm really happy that I got to see that.

Last up on the list for this volume is Jiki, and let me get this out of the way: To avoid spoilers, I'm going to talk about things in general here, so don't worry about being spoiled even if I use examples from the volume. Ahem. Anyway. So, I didn't like Jiki in the anime. And...! I don't like Jiki in the manga either. -___- First off, he's one of those kinds of people that goes out of his way to ruin the fun or enjoyable time that people are having just because they're having it without him. And not to be seen as ridiculous here, but DUDE. WHAT THE FUCK'S YOUR PROBLEM?! People aren't friends with you, then don't fucking butt in and break up their circle! What the HELL gives you the right to mess with people just because YOU'RE not included! You little shit! On top of that, this little brat doesn't even CARE about making an authentic friendship even when he DOES break up said friendships and force people apart! What the hell, man?! He literally only separates them JUST BECAUSE HE DOESN'T LIKE IT, and then he NEVER tries to put in the effort to become friends with them anyway! He doesn't want to be friends! He just doesn't want to see THEM being friends! WHAT A SELF-RIGHTEOUS ASSHOLE! To top it off, he goes out of his way to make sure that the moment someone is feeling comfortable or close to a semblance of happy in a strange and unfamiliar situation, to go in and instill new fears and worries and doubts in the minds of that person. He literally goes. Out of his way. To make people DOUBT THEMSELVES, and LITERALLY. LITERALLY! TELLS THEM IN EVERY FUCKING WAY. TO LEAVE. I swear to God, I hated him in the anime, but I want to rip his FREAKING HEAD OFF JUST AS FREAKING MUCH in the manga! He does NOT get better! If anything he only gets WORSE. The way he treats people is UNFORGIVABLE! And I essentially can't wait to see him get STABBED THROUGH THE FUCKING EYE. So yeah. No surprises there. -_- Just pissed off.

So that's the wrap-up of new characters introduced into this manga! But before I close out this review, I want to take a moment to talk about some of the relationships in this manga that I saw were expanded on in some extent.

First off, Yogi and Gareki. Man, if we've been seeing things growing between these two boys, it really takes a huge step here. MANY huge steps. If this was a romance manga of any sort, the stage we'd be in is in that stage where the feelings of the one character that doesn't know his ship exists start coming into the light. Let's just say, without any spoilers, that Gareki makes a lot of steps in realizing things about Yogi, and recognizing how he's beginning to feel about Yogi. It's very apparent, and if you read this manga for the ships, you're going to be full of feels from beginning to end for those two. **MINI SPOILER; SKIP TO AFTER THE ASTERISKS IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS** What's even more prominent is that after the main story ends in this volume, our beautiful mangaka, Miss Mikanagi, gave us a one-page short that showed Gareki teasing Yogi. Now if this boy making the first playful move between the two of them isn't character/relationship development, then I don't know what is! **MINI SPOILER, END** Read it all the way through, guys, cause when you get to that mini-story in the end, it'll be all the more significant for you.

Another ship that had some beautiful and prominent features is the relationship between Hirato and Tsukumo. When fans of the manga were saying that the anime portrayed that one particular scene much more significantly in the manga, they weren't kidding. And any fans already know the scene so I won't get into details. If you don't know it, you will when you read it. What really struck me are the parts before the scene with Tsukumo in the forest, and then afterwards, the way that Tsukumo and Hirato both acted... throwing themselves into their work like they did. It's very prominent and when you read it, it definitely gives you reason to think about what more must be backing up the relationship between these two. Personally, I can't wait to find out, because, already, it's so very beautiful.

Last of all for this volume, I wanted to talk about Nai and Gareki. These two are the fellows that we started out with in the first place in this manga, and though I haven't talked about them much, there's a deep, profound level of beauty in the relationship that they share. The way that Gareki worries about Nai, and the way that he doesn't even fight showing his attachment anymore... it's precious. And Nai. *Shakes head in wonder* Nai only continues to impress me with how much he's growing, how much he's learning, how much he understands and how much more than human he is. The scene where he thinks about all those things he can sense in Gareki, the things he's never brought up verbally but always knows are there... it's heartbreaking. It's truly heartbreaking. The fact that he would go to such lengths to find a way to help Gareki, even though he doesn't have to... He's a beautiful, beautiful boy. His heart and soul are precious beyond belief. And countless times I've said it, and I'll probably say it countless times more, but Nai is the best thing that could have happened to Gareki. And I truly believe that he still is. And when we get further along in this series, you'll see exactly how much that's true. I'm sure of it.

So, alright. That's the end of my thoughts for this volume. I'm looking forward to seeing you all in the next volume! Keep reading guys. I know it has it's heartbreak and painful moments, but this manga series is going to be awesome through to the very end. I know it. <3 After all, it already is~<br/>
See you guys in Volume 5!