C: The Money and Soul of Possibility Review

AuthorAugust 29, 2020

AKA: C, [C] – CONTROL, C: The Money and Soul of Possibility – ControlGenre: Suspense, FantasyLength: Television collection, 11 episodes, 23 minutes minutes eachDistributor: Licensed in America for digital streaming by Funimation EntertainmentContent Rating: PG-13Associated Series: NoneAdditionally Recommended: Spice & Wolf, MononokeNotes: None.Rating: C: The Money and Soul of Possibility

Synopsis

Only a choose few know concerning the “Financial District,” an extra-dimensional world current parallel to our personal the place fortunes are received and misplaced, reshaping our actuality within the course of. Kimimaro’s father was one, and after he disappeared, abandoning his son at a younger age, Kimimaro by no means forgave him, even when he did not perceive his father’s secret. Now he is aware of all too nicely the horror and wonders of the Financial District. After residing the impoverished life of a pupil drowning in debt, he is been supplied a Faustian cut price by a mysterious demon from the Financial District. Kimimaro stands to make unimaginable thousands and thousands in weekly duels often known as Deals, and with the assistance of a cute demon named Mysu and a veteran participant named Souichirou, he may go far. But he is in approach over his head, and along with his personal future held as collateral, the political maneuverings and backstabbing might value him greater than he is prepared to pay.
Review

noitaminA, an hour-long tv block on Fuji TV, has established itself as a dependable place for fascinating experiments in animation and mature tales geared toward audiences ignored of the calculations of extra industrial collection. Their greatest successes have been josei and seinan titles like Nana, Honey & Clover and Monster, however for the previous couple of seasons, their tasks have been getting more and more political, socially-minded and esoteric. Fractale might have been a catastrophe, however there isn’t any denying that its core premise is a well timed rumination on the implications of interfacing with the world fully with digital fantasies. Bones’ new collection No. 6 is at the moment airing in C’s previous time slot, and it is primarily a homoerotic rework of the BBC’s The Prisoner, itself no slouch relating to express political messages. But C selected a subject that had the best probability to be a well timed, related work of artwork that additionally explored new floor relating to socio-political messages: macro-economics. A pair years after the success of the way more light-hearted Spice and Wolf comes one other anime concerning the dismal science. But, whereas Spice and Wolf was fascinated by economics and those that play an element in it, C is a extra serious-minded affair, closely counting on metaphor and symbolism to speak about trendy economics, even when its premise is a little more ridiculous than an anime a couple of wolf goddess and her service provider lover. Director Nakamara has clearly put years of thought into his first venture’s setting because the critically acclaimed Mononoke, and even employed an economics professor to advise the story.
That setting is wealthy sufficient that it is value penning a primer right here, if solely to straighten my very own ideas on its complexity. C is about in modern-day Tokyo, however the coronary heart of the collection is within the extra-dimensional Financial District, which it hints is the true coronary heart of energy for each enterprise and political titan on Earth. There are no less than a number of Financial Districts, one for every main financial powerhouse area, from East Asia to the Americas, and every is run by a grinning demon dressed just like the CEO of a clown faculty. These demons grant people entry to the Financial District, making their decisions of who will get an opportunity at a once-in-a-lifetime Faustian cut price seemingly at random. These fortunate people change into Entres- quick for Entrepreneurs, a difficult phrase even for native English speakers- and compete with one another to make as a lot of the Financial District’s cash as doable by competing in Deals. In idea, these Deals are easy, monster-arena duels, the identical fantasy battles which have made billions of {dollars} for Nintendo’s Pokemon and its imitators. In execution, they’re one of the nice issues about this collection.
Each Entre exchanges their future as collateral for the Financial District’s Midas Dollars, and additionally achieve an Asset to help them in Deals. These Assets one way or the other embody their Entres’ future, and are the principle combatants in Deals. Assets can take any type, permitting for some very imaginative monster designs and battles. Very few of them are “monsters” within the conventional sense, since most of them are quick on slime and claws, and solely notable exceptions comply with anime’s conventional route of being very cute mascots. Deals play out like a turn-based technique recreation, with Entres having to decide on tips on how to use their Asset’s particular powers and make calculated dangers. Rather a lot of the enjoyable in watching C comes from watching these Assets battle it out, and determining how their surreal design hides a deadly weapon.
But probably the most impactful element concerning the Finicial District is that it impacts The Real World in probably the most profound methods possible- wins and losses within the District alter actuality on Earth. If an Entre loses the whole lot in a deal, he loses his future. A obscure time period, the present acknowledges, and that makes the implications all probably the most sinister. Companies that the Entre had constructed from the bottom up for over thirty years may go bankrupt in a single day. Pregnant wives may instantly be barren. Or a nicely paying job may change into a shift as an evening clerk at a 7-11. And, in particularly dramatic circumstances, complete international locations bodily disappear, as in the event that they by no means existed.
It would not take quite a bit of financial know-how to attract the traces from C’s metaphors to actual world economics. And, as you’d rightly suspect, the collection will get extra sophisticated, with secret brokers from the IMF and Entres making political alliances. Each element concerning the Financial District appears to reference some enterprise technique or macroeconomic phenomenon. It makes all these references in rush, maybe counting on an unknown fanbase to ultimately comb by and discover that means in, say, each particular person Asset’s assault. But all this work goes to waste with out a compelling story.
One of the issues with a metaphor-heavy story is that generally the characters merely change into pawns to these metaphors, their motivations diminished to regardless of the story must make its level. Or worse, they don’t have any motivation to name their very own, and like the kids in Narnia, stumble by their symbolism-fantasy-world till the purpose of the story has been sufficiently hammered in and we will all go dwelling. That is not fairly the case here- the truth is, as if recognizing that flaw, the collection makes positive the characters and their selections, good and in poor health, drive the story. But whether or not or not any of these motivations are relatable or fascinating is one thing else fully.
One instance of that is Mashu, Kimimaro’s Asset, whose inclusion is a transparent concession to the calls for of trendy anime audiences. She’s cute as a mewling kitten and simply as clueless about issues like starvation and love, each of which she’ll be taught a lot about by the tip of the collection. So sure, though Kimimaro initially signed on to changing into an Entre to impress an actual stay human woman, he falls for his personal Asset, and spends most of his Deals attempting to maintain her from being harmed. You might have seen this condescending behavior of male characters in anime before- they could not arm wrestle a child bear, however determine that they simply need to pointlessly sacrifice their lives for ladies who really what the hell they’re doing in a battle, stopping them from doing something helpful, as a result of, y’know, honor. And it is rather honorable, and equally silly, and sucks most of the drama from the motion. “Sucking out the drama” turns into extra frequent as Kimimaro and Mashu’s relationship matures into full-blown l-o-v-e: the virginal Platinum Girlfriend learns to like, the perpetual loser lastly will get a kiss, and the viewers will get actually bored. They’ve seen this trope too many instances.
But if it is not a cliche that deadens the affect of a storyline, then it is most likely confusion. One sophisticated storyline entails a spy from the IMF who desires to take down the Financial District, and whereas she’s necessary to the story, her major function onscreen appears to be giving the viewers particulars concerning the Financial District and its historical past together with her interior monologue, generally accompanied by a wee bit of lascivious fanservice. The particulars pile on about her mission and the District, and it is not lengthy earlier than it turns into tough to place all the small print collectively right into a understandable risk and her motivation for eager to see the District destroyed is obscured.
Broadly, the issue with C is that it populates an enchanting world with cliches. Hell, the core motive for C’s nice financial catastrophe in its climax is as a result of one character wished to guard his sick little sister, even when it meant sacrificing the remainder of the world within the course of. C is intellectually fascinating, however emotionally empty. In artwork and leisure, familiarity can and ought to trigger contempt. It’s definitely a supply of disappointment right here, particularly since, generally, you get a glimpse of a extra relatable story. The motive Kimimaro turned an Entre, for instance, was excellent for any younger faculty boy. Or quiet moments like when an Entre has to cope with the implications of having his future taken from him, and contemplates suicide. It’s like a constructing with pretty structure however a weak basis.
As for What It All Means, and one would assume that something that was so impressed by trendy economics would absolutely have one thing to say about it, it is laborious to say. My finest guess is that it might function a broad treatise towards trendy economics and globalism, particularly the heavy reliance of massive economies on their monetary markets. The anime nearly definitely takes a dim view of how monetary markets distribute capital, however would not appear to supply any options. Or maybe Nakamara was merely impressed by a science that has fascinated clever minds for hundreds of years, and wished to create a fantasy world primarily based on some of its concepts. Perhaps I do not know sufficient about to economics to know this collection. Perhaps I’m lacking context from Japanese politics that might make issues clearer. Perhaps C merely did not do a ok job explaining its concepts. No matter, as a result of with out a higher story, this may solely qualify as an fascinating mess.

Has a lot of fascinating concepts and visuals, however dangerous writing retains the collection from reaching its full potential. — Bradley Meek

Recommended Audience: Some violence, and Mashu wears a really quick skirt.

Version(s) Viewed: Streaming video on funimation.com

Review Status: Full (11/11)
C: The Money and Soul of Possibility © 2011 C-Committee

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