- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Mystery, Shounen, Drama
- Airing Date : October 2018 – June 2019
- Producers : Studio VOLN
Karakuri Circus (Le Cirque de Karakuri) Second Cours Introduction and Story
The grand finale of Karakuri Circus’ first act was an absolute cliffhanger: The remaining Shirogane and Narumi facing against the four leaders of the Midnight Circus with Doll Francine looking down on them from her throne. The Faceless leader has died, sacrificing himself to allow Narumi to survive for the last battle. Narumi himself is badly hurt and possibly on the brink of death while Lucille, Eleanor, and Fantine wait for reinforcements who may help them reach Doll Francine faster. The destruction of the Zonapha virus seems to be close if our heroes can survive the battle.
It's on this scene that the curtain fell on the first act and rose again for the second and final arc of our adventure. And while the wait between both wasn't very long, how the first act ended left us dying to know who would survive and who would die in the last battle that promised to be epic–even if the episode count pretty much spoiled that it might not be the actual last battle. So, did the second act deliver what was promised, or did it end up being a dud?
1. The Battle Between the Shirogane and the Automata.
Epic doesn’t begin to describe the battle that lasts for one and a half episodes. We get to see all the Shirogane fight to the death, the incredible final duel between Dottoro and Lucille, and in the middle of it, Dr. Rockfield doing a last surgery on Narumi to save the young man’s life while Rockfield himself is dying, and the amazing battles between Columbine, Timbavati, Arlequino and Tor. While short, it’s filled with emotional scenes that are only topped by the last words from Doll Francine: “I am not the Real Francine”. And this is just in the first two episodes of the act, so we know we’re in for a ride.
2. We Finally Meet the Mastermind Behind the Circus.
By now, we already know the story behind Francine, Bai Jin, and Bai Yin, but the final reveal of Ban Jin’s current incarnation and what really happened the day in which Sadayoshi Saiga supposedly died is still an unexpected shock. Right as Masaru is trying to prove that he is not his father—in a very literal way—one of the puppeteers, Daiki, reveals himself as none other than the Faceless Commander, whom we had seen die to save Narumi at the end of the last arc. And with that, we find out that everyone was a puppet for this cruel man.
3. The Characters are Still Amazing.
The main reason to keep watching is that everyone we meet is a complex character. It doesn’t matter if Masaru hasn’t been seen in many episodes, seeing him again is great, same as when we get to see Guy, Elanore, and Narumi, who keeps disappearing just to come back at the last moment. This season is full of great character moments, so just for that, you need to keep watching until the end.
1. The Second Twist May Ruin the Ending of the First Act.
One of the best moments of the last episode of the first act is the Faceless Commander selflessly sacrificing himself so that Narumi can survive: he tells us the story of his wife and how she died before closing his eyes for the last time. It’s a very touching moment but if you cried then, you may be really mad when you find out the truth: It was just a ruse by Bai Jin. It makes sense in the plot, and it is a great reveal, but it can also sour everything that came before.
2. The First Twist May Feel like It’s Trying to Extend the Story Too Much.
Yes. The reveal that the Doll Francine protected in the last act’s final battle was not the real Francine shocked us and it led to the rest of the act being one emotional punch after another, but to be fair, it can feel like a cop-out. Just like Narumi wails in despair, so can some members of the audience because it means all the hurt and deaths from before, including poor Fatima who had just died seconds ago and could have survived if they retreated, were for nothing. If that's the kind of twist you dislike, perhaps the rest of the season is not going to be your cup of tea.
3. There Are a Lot of Flashbacks
While the previous episodes had flashbacks, they didn’t last five episodes at a time, stopping everything else in their tracks. It is interesting to get the whole Saiga family’s history because it is very important to understand why things developed the way they did, but at the same time, the flashbacks interrupt the flow of the action, which can become quite infuriating after a while—especially as the last battle begins.
Karakuri Circus had the advantage of being adapted from a manga that was already finished by the time the animation began so there was no need to make any filler episodes, and thus, the story flows mostly in a continuous way even with the flashbacks having a different pace.
If you started watching the first arc but don't have the patience for even more flashbacks, we'd recommend stopping right after episode 13, if nothing else so you can watch the Sahara battle in full. But if you enjoyed the first arc, the second arc will surely fulfill your expectations and more.