I've got to say that the things that were impressed on me the most in this volume were the various levels of depth that we got to experience on the parts of all of our characters. In the first volume we started to see the edge of this mystery that's drawing everyone from their various places all together into one group, and we got a good grasp on the possible depths of the plot. We even got a fair introduction to all these people, enough to make us want to see more of them beyond their casual exteriors.
I think this is where Volume 2 of Karneval began to really shine for me. The plot continues to move on, sometimes steadily, and sometimes rushing forward all at once--like during the ending chapter, for instance. But I'll admit what personally grasped my attention more than anything else were the small clues and insights we got to see into the characters that I've grown used to seeing from the anime.
Let me just say that since I watched the anime first, I came into this manga expecting to learn more. It still, however, took me by surprise just how much more I've been given, and it sometimes comes from the subtlest of additions in the manga that weren't included in the anime. I'm starting to realize that the way I viewed and knew each and every character when I watched the anime was almost like taking who they really were and all their unique characteristics, and generalizing them. They all fit one clean mold or another. Coming into the manga, those molds are broken or changed slightly, and there's a lot more depth to each of the characters. And it's not that I didn't expect the depth, but that I didn't expect what I would find or the levels of that depth.
Hirato surprised me for instance. He was always so calm and cool, collected even, in the anime. He really came off as that all-knowing type of parental leader figure. In the manga, I couldn't even count the number of times I jaw-dropped at the crack he used to pull! He's definitely a LOT more mischievous in the manga, and looser! More himself. He's still the same guy, but there's an entirely new side to him in the manga that I didn't really get to see in the anime.
Yogi is another one that shocked me. We already know him as the playful, caring, bouncy guy that he is, with the twist of badassness that comes with anyone who's a member of Circus. But in the manga, the joking manner in which he portrayed was counterbalanced by the small ways in which a deeper, far more parental side came through. It's funny because by the end of this volume, I had mentally switched my thoughts on who was the more parental out of Hirato and Yogi, deciding that Yogi showed more of that "familial concern" whereas Hirato displays his protectiveness in other ways entirely. It was a really unusual change in that I didn't expect my thoughts to rework themselves that way, but at the same time, I'm really pleased to have been shown enough to do so!
Tsukumo is another one that really caught my attention. Her quietness in the anime is part of her nature in the manga as well, but she comes off as a lot more outspoken here. And she's keen. Boy, oh, boy is she good at picking up on people and things. I mentioned it in the first volume, but even here, Tsukumo reads people like a book. Her levels of intuitive knowledge about others are amazing. Considering how complex the people around her are as well, it shows just how brilliant this girl really is.
I would even go so far as to say that my opinions of Kiichi and Karoku (some of you long time fans know what I'm talking about) are actually in the middle of being worked out. Whereas I was not a fan of Kiichi's personality, although I do freely confess her capabilities in battle and think she's a valuable ally to have in Circus, I found it intriguing that she referred to Tsukumo as politely as she did, and although she still treats Yogi like crap (Jerk.) I wonder if I'm not missing more to her personality than I first thought. And the same goes for Karoku. Getting to see those little parts where Nai brought up memories of his time with Karoku, I feel like there's so many things that I'm still missing that the anime never explained, because when Karoku interacts with Nai directly in current time, trust me. I'd rather punch him face in. There's a discrepancy there, and I'm really eager to see more of it.
A part of me also wants to talk about the amazing relationships and how they all developed in this volume. The ties between Akari and Hirato, for instance; that special moment that Hirato and Yogi shared that suddenly opened my eyes to the first signs of why people shipped those two; the DEPTH of attachment that Tsukumo has to Nai and how special her relationship is with him; the inevitable weak point that Nai continues to increasingly become for Gareki; and boy oh boy, my favorite: the HUUUUGE hints from the mangaka about Yogi and Gareki's relationship. Talk about blazing arrows of significance. *Laughs*
But this review has rambled on long enough. My advice though: if you want to see more about all these awesome people and more of the little hints that I'm talking about, definitely pick up this second volume. It seriously continues to hold up well, and there's no lull in the interesting parts as long as you're enjoying the characters you're reading about. And boy are they awesome. <3
So I'll be seeing you in my next review! And maybe there we'll have even more of these relationships to talk about~ ;3 See you then!