Series Review – Carnival Phantasm

Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Studio Lerche & Type-Moon

Sometimes it can be difficult to review a series for a variety of reasons. Maybe the episode length is so huge it will be a dramatic undertaking. It’s in this vein that I attempt to review Carnival Phantasm. Not so much in terms of episode length, but in terms of the amount of preparation in order to truly enjoy this series. In order to get the full Carnival Phantasm experience, an intimate knowledge of Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime is necessary. This series is a love letter to everything involving Type-Moon. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth Anime Review.

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Story & Characters

There really isn’t an overall story to Carnival Phantasm. It is a series of short stories that feature a variety of Type-Moon characters. These short stories are framed by a series of interludes featuring anthropomorphic cats. Of course, the stories that are told are largely comedic, which is a treat for any fan of Type-Moon. Fans of the Fate series will especially be impressed at the variety of jokes that poke fun of characters such as Lancer and Gilgamesh. There are a few reoccurring bits, and even one multi episode story that has a great comedic payoff. However, those looking for a deep plot will be disappointed. This is a comedy and a great one at that. Carnival Phantasm features all of the favorite characters from Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime or it would be more correct to say caricatures of these characters. Each of their respective characteristics is heavily exaggerated for comedic effect. My favorite example is Rin’s tenacity to win. This is used as a means to showcase her willingness to cheat in all of the events, most notably in the Wacky Races episode. In terms of a flaw, I do think the intros with the cats are a detriment, but they don’t last too long. Some of the bumpers actually manage to be quite funny. Overall, the short stories are entertaining and more importantly, hilarious.

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Animation

The animation for Carnival Phantasm is not amazing, but is of a good quality. The characters are heavily stylized with a softer design which matches the comedic tone of the series. This whole series is refreshing because of its bright aesthetic. Everything is colorful and manages to pop out. The brightness of the animation made me very happy to watch this show. It perfectly matches with the comedic tone. As for the fluidity, a lot of the motion is exaggerated for the sake of comedy. This stylistic choice fits very well. It’s not sakuga, but it accomplishes the comedic goals for the series.

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Sound Design

A large amount of the Fate/Stay Night voice actors reprise their roles for this series. It is amusing to see them portray their characters in a rather comedic fashion and it’s highly entertaining. The voice acting for the Tsukihime inspired scenes are also very well acted. My only issue with the voice acting lies with the cat characters. They’re not bad, but managed to get on my nerves relatively quickly during my watch of the series. As for the rest of the sound design, it is relatively good. The sound effects are employed to comedic perfection. The music is light-hearted and mostly good. The stand-out is the catchy intro song. It’s the perfect song to get the viewer ready for an entertaining episode. Overall, the sound design is good.

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Final Thoughts

Viewers without prior knowledge of the works of Type-Moon will not enjoy this series. Those that do possess a familiarity with these works will be rewarded immensely. This show is a comedic love letter to all things Type-Moon. It is hilarious. The short stories and characters are played up for comedy. The animation matches the light tone of the series. The voice acting is phenomenal. The music is also good. Carnival Phantasm earns a Watch Rating from me. It’s no revelation, but manages to be an entertaining watch.  Come back next week for another anime review.

Watch Rating

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