Katou Narumi suffers from Zonapha Syndrome, a rare ailment that stops his breathing unless he makes people laugh. He's been forced to abandon his training in Chinese kenpo and return to Japan, where he now works as a clown. The only problem: he's not very funny.
One day he meets Saiga Masaru, the recent inheritor of a huge fortune, who gives him the first laugh he's gotten all day. When he realizes Masaru is being pursued by assassins, he steps in to protect the boy, only to discover that instead of conventional weapons, the assassins wield huge, eerie puppets. They soon encounter the mysterious Shirogane, who controls a puppet of her own, and claims she was sent from France by Masaru's late grandfather to protect him.
Their paths intertwine and diverge, splitting into two stories: Karakuri and Circus, puppets and performers, tears and laughter. The strange circus of living dolls that spreads Zonapha Syndrome, the human puppets known collectively as the Shirogane, and the puppeteers whose undying grudge set in motion both sides of this performance.
This manga is really difficult to rate. It's like a completely different story starting at volume 4, a not very interesting one, but until that point it was really good.
From the beginning of the manga it gives a strong sense that Narumi is the protagonist. He is quirky, interesting, and pulls all the action and gives energy to the story. The kid who is supposedly the protagonist is generic, not very interesting, and gets less screen time. But at the end of volume 3 it changes.
What this means is, the manga starts ok, becomes very captivating, engaging, and excellent, with the culmination point at
the end of volume 3. After that point the manga becomes entirely generic, boring, and looses all energy. It feels like it suddenly turned from an engaging dramatic fighting manga full of action into almost a typical slice-of-life school manga about a kid, with the kid as the protagonist, but not an interesting protagonist. There is also the girl but her character (or more like, her lack of character) fails to keep the story interesting.
Until volume 4 I became very engaged and then it stopped, I read the 4'th volume but it just wasn't very interesting in comparison. The action was just kind of going slowly and without a point.
If I had to rate the first 3 volumes I would say it's a 9/10
Volume 4 was a 5/10 and I dropped it.
Because of this, I find it difficult to give it an overall rating. I would rather not rate it at all, but if I must it will be an average of 5 and 9, that is 7
I think you won't loose much from reading only the first 3 volumes, because it's like a complete story of its own. So feel free to try it out.
I don't like this story, I don't like it at all.
Why am I here writing its review while I'm supposed to sleep?
This manga is one hell of a roller coaster. It pulled you in, and once you're on, it's a non-stop ride towards the end. The end is kinda weak, in my opinion. But overall it's still a good story. An old shounen story with a dark theme (and a lot of blood, seriously, blood is everywhere in this manga). You who like 90s kind of shounen and martical art would enjoy it. I did enjoy the ride, but tell me to read it again?
No! No! NO!!!
Because it hurts so, so much. Too much killing. Not that it's not neccessary, it fits with the gruesome theme of the story. But still too much, and it gave you hope, and took that hope away from your hands. I just realized, at the end, my hands are all full of emptiness, as the OP has stated.
I really like Fujita Kazuhiro story because the plot is always unique. Karakuri has the best plot and story telling in all of his 3 works I've read (Gekkou, U&T, Karakuri), but I would recommend you try out Gekkou, his latest completed work. His story planning and character building has made great improvement (but there're still plot holes here and there).
-Oh, dear Lord its coming!
-A two hundred feet tall wave of sh*t!
-Its too late to run, its everywhere!
-Noo, no God please no, noooooooooooo!!!
No, I’m not talking about the review, I’m talking about manga.
Just how deep should a brain cancer go, in order to bring a “masterpiece” like that! The author probably had a diarrhea and by some miraculous mistake confused it with his work and took that sh*t to the editors, who also happened to have a heat stroke, so they approved that. APPROVED FOR 4 HUNDRED PLUS F**CKING CHAPTERS!!!
That is the example of when the industry is in stagnation and lack of fresh
and new ideas makes an impact on it.
So, why do I hate it so much, and what made me go all berserk about it?!
Well, first, the plot.
The story is based on humans fighting some automatic dolls that spread their Zonafa syndrome (which already sounds like a 5-year old's tale) that makes everyone laugh in order not to die (this is first two chapters so I'm not spoiling anything, if you still have intention to read that) and the main hero is infected with this virus (very surprisingly) – now who in the world with a sane mind would want to read that, when manga world has to offer something like Vinland Saga, Innocent, Hokuto no Ken, Naruto, Shamo, Attack on Titan, The Breaker and others.... And the story only gets more and more blend, so somewhere near to the middle it looks like a god damn porridge.
The art style. Well, the art style is pretty much mediocre, besides the design of the main character. Just look at him – 4 lines, wow, such a "detalization", seems like somebody with a suicide convulsion would bring something more satisfying (reminds me of Uwe Bolls films), this only underlines the carelessness of the author who didn't even want to pay attention to the main hero and made him look like a Japanese Hulk whose face got smashed with a frying pan (cause he looks so handsome:)).
Next goes an aspect that deserves special attention – characters' lines. Guys with Down syndrome show up more creativity than the creator in this novel. So irrational and with no sense of logic: frequently reiterative replicas that claim same things; too much unnecessary words and lines, making an impression that creator was trying to make something out of a nothing; idiotic conversations which can drag for a couple chapters (manga world is full of this one, but Karakuri Circus overcomes them all) – all this is a prof of authors’ inability to be entertaining and provide an adventurous shounen, instead he just stretches same situations for dozens chapters desperately trying to figure out what to do next, not realizing that his work already looked like a transfusion of nothing from empty glass to empty glass from the very beginning.
Obviously this manga was created just for profit sake, because from any aspect it sucks comparing to anything I've read so far.
-Why did you go for almost two hundred chapters then? – you ask.
The thing is, I was a manga translator once, and our team has picked this project, unfortunately, my voice could not be heard. So during the period when I was translating this work, all my neighbors've heard how good I am at using bad words and making some new “sophisticated” combinations out of existing once. At the end of the volume 17, I said F*CK THIS AND F*CK THOSE WHO READ IT, and left the project. This insanely stupid manga has forever ruined me for translating any other novel ever again, and for reading any other Japanese comics for a very long time.
But you don’t have to trust my words, make your own opinion. Give it a shot, may be you’ll like it. There are too many projects here on MAL (anime and manga) that have sky-high ratings, but personally I think they’re just low-graded trash. That’s how it works, with experience your tastes change, especially when you try to compare things. There will always be something better, something worse, and Karakuri Circus will always be the bottom for me!