My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up this omnibus because the cover art was very pretty and it sounded interesting. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Nai is a very naive young man looking for his friend, Karoku. His only lead is a bloody bracelet that belongs to a Circus member. Nai is nearly killed almost immediately and is rescued by a young thief, Gareki. Nai instantly bonds to Gareki but for Gareki’s part he’s more interested in selling that bracelet, knowing it will bring a lot of cash.
At first, that’s his plan but Gareki does quickly become fond of Nai as he tries to help him look for Karoku (for which he’ll be rewarded with the bracelet). However, the strange being that nearly killed Nai is part of a group of strange people altered by ‘evolution,’ and now they’re after Nai and Gareki. This brings them to Circus’s attention. Circus appears to be police officers with special (perhaps superhuman) abilities. Circus saves Nai (who keeps running off and getting into trouble that Gareki has to get him out of) from being framed for murder and they begin to examine the young men, revealing something unexpected about Nai (well I assumed Nai was some form of experiment or other because no one could be this naive.
We also get some of Gareki’s background (I liked him before I learned his background, but yes he’s the abused orphan). The Circus people are very interesting, bizarre and we don’t know too much about them. I am curious that the second in commands in the two airships we see are tiny women (There aren’t too many women in this unfortunately) and that the warriors on both ships spout overly dramatic nonsense before fighting.
I really enjoyed the storyline with its steampunk elements. The characters were interesting, well Gareki and Nai as the others aren’t developed much yet. I wasn’t too fond of Nai at first because he’s not really naive, he’s too stupid to live. However, as we go we learn he has reasons to be TSTL. He hasn’t had a moment of education and for that matter we’re not sure he is as old as he looks (12 maybe), most likely not.
The art is lovely and lush. It helps make up for some of the plot weaknesses, like Nai’s inability to learn not to run off every five minutes (or the rather obvious plot point that Karoku isn’t what Nai thinks he is). I’m looking forward to the next omnibus.
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