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Karneval Vol. #09 Manga Review

4 min read
In a series full of tragedy, Yogi gets his moment of hope
Karneval Vol. #09

Unexpected reunions and healing old wounds.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Touya Mikanagi
Translation/Adaptation: Su Mon Han
Lettering: Phil Christie

What They Say
Gareki comes face-to-face with the silver-haired Yogi in the darkened halls of the ship. Despite his attempts to get to the bottom of Silver Yogi’s enigmatic words and to discover the truth behind this personality, Gareki is instead drawn into a dangerous game…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After a long publishing gap in the English release schedule, Karneval returns with the next omnibus. Even with the event summary and character guide at the front of the volume it took me a bit to remember what was happening with our main characters when we last saw them.

This volume of Karneval focuses heavily on the happy-go-lucky Yogi, and I must admit he’s not my favorite character in this series. I tend to find childish boys a tiring trope. I’m pleased that by the end of this volume there’s a major shift in his character which should have a larger impact on his personality going forward. It also helps clarify why he has a split personality and paves a path forward for healing for Yogi.

Everything begins with Gareki showing that he is more like Dr. Araki then previously shown. When Silver Yogi challenges him to a game Gareki agrees with the hopes to get to the bottom of what the strange cells inside Yogi actually are. That scientific curiosity and medical desire show that Gareki truly has chosen the path that most suits him. During the game, Silver Yogi cryptically remarks that death is imminent, but whose death? The body or something else?

The Circus mission continues but we’re briefly whisked away to a young lady selling flowers. We are introduced to her as Manai, a girl who has lived an exploited lift. A traumatic event left her without an arm or leg and she was picked up as a side-show for shady travelers. The next family to take her in seems more benevolent until their darker side emerges in an equally exploitive way. However, she too finally finds rescue in a young man who shows her genuine affection. It’s clear to the reader right away who this mystery girl is, Yogi’s long-lost and presumed dead sister.

It is a matter of chance that the two run into each other, setting off a dangerous chain-reaction that threatens the lives of both Yogi and Manai, or more accurately for Circus the prince and princess of Rimhakka.

Yogi is able to summarize his entire life up to the current moment for the reader and himself, and once again Circus isn’t the benevolent agency they want to portray themselves as. After they rescued the young prince from Kafka they slapped a literal band-aid on the young man and put him to work as a weapon. He had no real friends until Gareki and Nai showed up on his ship. He found solace in playing the role of a mascot for little children while deep inside the trauma of his past was simply being held at bay. Even though Circus was not conducting torture like Kafka was, they were still treating Yogi as an experiment. Whenever his memories started to surface in moments of stress and violence, his silver-haired alter-ego took over to shield him from mental harm.

The mental block between his current personality and the past was so strong that he couldn’t even see his sister. His amnesia swung both ways and the dark silver-haired Yogi comments about reaching the end of his existence turned out to be true. By the end of this volume, it appears the two sides have reconciled and become one.

The presentation of this volume is the same as the past ones, with color front pages and omake comics included at the end of each volume. 

In Summary
Yogi has never been my favorite character of the Karneval roster. He was the man-child of the group with obvious mental trauma. This volume seeks to close-up some of the trouble with him as a character. It’s a happy accident that results in the healing process for the extremely broken warrior. In a series full of tragedy Yogi gets his moment of hope as the mental block which has kept him from confronting the past. The path forward for all of humanity is coming to terms with the rogue cells which turn men into monsters. This series continues to walk its fine line of questionable actions of the good guys when fighting the bad, the veneer of civilization the mad science puts on. I’m still uncertain where this story is headed but it remains an entertaining journey.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B +
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: A –

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 21, 2020
MSRP: $20.00 US / $26.00 CAN

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