Karakuri Circus Review: The dangers of puppets

Masaru runs into a mascot

I admit that I've never been the biggest fan of puppets, but this series kind of makes it work. The story follows Masaru Saiga, young heir to a massive fortune. While trying to escape some seedy folks seemingly after that money, he runs into Narumi Katou, a fun-loving martial artist with a life-threatening disease. Together with Shirogane, Masaru's secret guardian, the three forge their way in a world of weaponized puppets.

Masaru is surrounded by goons

Odd premise aside, this series has a surprisingly strong character focus that I liked to see. The story itself kind of goes in weird circles, with large parts of the plot taking place in extended flashbacks. Honestly, some of the flashbacks are long enough to make you forget what's going on in the present time period. But along this winding road, you get to learn a lot about the numerous characters that populate this series, and the three main characters in particular get some impressive character growth.

Masaru meets Narumi

As an example, the main character, Masaru starts out as a fairly annoying character, but he starts become more reasonable once he figures out his purpose. Where this tends to go wrong, though, is with the side characters. Because of the sheer number of them between puppets, humans, and invincible puppeteers, it's hard to fit in that same kind of time, even with how many episodes this series had. As a result, many of them only get half an episode to shine before they're gone. To be fair, they each have decent stories. It's just hard to focus when they're flying at you in a flurry.

Shirogane protects Masaru

Without going too much into it, I was also disappointed with the ending, and I think that partly has to do with the main villain. His character fit well into the multitude of stories surrounding the other characters, but his motivations became hard for me to follow in the end. In the end, I feel like too much effort was spent hiding his true identity, and he fell apart as time went on. The final scene in the series itself also didn't sit well with me.

Masaru's pursuer gets a call

That being said, I thought that this series was generally pretty interesting to watch. It was the kind of show that I watched in bursts, waiting for a few episodes to come out at a time before I went through them.

Final Score: 7/10

Solid character stories, but I think it started to lose track of pacing in the end.

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