Ever read a manga you enjoyed then wondered why the heck it isn’t popular?
Karakuri Circus is a shounen manga about a boy named Masaru Saiga on the run from relatives who want him, or more specifically, the eighteen billion yen his dead dad left him. He quickly meets Narumi Kato and a woman calling herself Shirogane, both separately wanting to help Masaru. Simple plot, right? Yeah, but that’s only the beginning.
Karakuri Circus is mostly about Masaru but Narumi and Shirogane are equally important, and over the course of the series we learn these three are more closely connected than first thought. So much so we follow their stories, present and past, as much as Masaru’s. This is one big, well thought out story with the three of them at the center. And that’s what I love about the story. It gradually reveals more and more, building the world in a way that keeps you interested in how it all ties together. You can tell the mangaka has the entire story mapped out, zooming back the camera ever so much to give the audience a more complete picture of every connection to every main character. I appreciate that level of detail.
The characters themselves feel complete, acting according to their situations. They’re funny and goofy when good things happen and serious and determined when things go bad. That sounds obvious but I’ve read manga where characters act exactly the same in every situation. People don’t act like that and I love the mangaka gives us funny or serious when the story calls for it.
Masaru, who I falsely dismissed early on, gets lots of development, actually, all three do. Their experiences change them, for the better or worse. As much as I love the three main characters, the supporting characters are just as enjoyable. Character interactions really are at the heart of the story. Whether it’s people coming together, living together or dealing with loss, the characters of Karakuri Circus are the main attraction. The puppet battles and Automatons aren’t bad either.
Shirogane and other skilled individuals fight wielding killer puppets. Because, why not? We’re later introduced to the Automatons, auto-mannequins spreading a deadly disease and after a special elixir that can give them emotions. Just roll with it, okay? It’s a shounen series.
My only requirement for recommending anything on Hipster Hotline is that I love it and Karakuri Circus more than fits the bill. I can’t recommend this series enough. The only downside is, while complete, the series is not currently being scanlated, the latest chapter translated being 141. That’s in volume 25 of a 43 volume series so I’m spreading the word. There has to be a scanlation group out there willing to continue this brilliant series! I encourage all current and future Karakuri Circus fans to share the love. Don’t let it die in limbo. It took years before it came back after being dropped once, it can happen again. For now, check out this short promotional video for the manga. Viva Karakuri Circus!