Wednesday, May 2, 2012

[C]- Control: The Money and Soul of Possibility Review

What happens when you take current economic times and mix it with fantasy? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the life and death struggles of *epic drum roll* ECONOMICS!!!!! Welcome, to the Financial District!

C is an original Science Fiction anime from director Kenji Nakamura and Tatsunoko Production (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Robotech). It premiered in April of 2011, and has 11 episodes. It is to be licensed and released this year by FUNimation.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund rescued the Japanese government from the brink of financial collapse. However, life has not improved, and unemployment, crime, suicide, and despair among its citizens are rampant. Kimimaro, raised by his maternal grandmother after the disappearance of his father and the death of his mother, is a scholarship student whose only dream is to avoid all this and live a stable life. One day, however, he meets a man who offers him a large sum of money if he'll agree to pay it back. From then on his fate is radically altered as he's drawn into a mysterious realm known as "The Financial District."

The artwork in C is simply amazing, most of it focused on the Financial District. The real world isn’t bad, no; you just know where the real work went into. Brilliant color and design all throughout the Financial District, and it’s amazing to look at! The animation however, is a little bit of a different story. The animation isn’t bad, no, but it’s not consistent throughout the series, and for good reason. When it comes to the Assets and Masakaki, in particular, you get a sense of smoother animation. What popped in my head when I saw this was that it looked like CGI it was that smooth. Similarly with Highschool of the Dead and it’s clay-like zombies, it kinda seems weird. However, since it’s for those from the Financial District, it works. It doesn’t do this for the entire series, I promise you.

The story is rather simple, take the poor economy of today, add a new world where you can get money by fighting others, and you get C. This story is certainly an original one, but there are a few slight problems. The pacing isn’t terrible, but, at the same time, can be really slow moving at times. The actual deals (the fights between Entres and their Assets) don’t show up much early on, and the bigger fights are saved for the last few episodes. The rest of the series is the effect the Financial District has on the real world, and this part works really well. This is a story about economy and some of the viewers are going to want to know how people are actually affected by the Midas money. The downside to this is you have your viewers who are more interested in the fights rather then the message the show is trying to give you. In other words, the amount of fights in this series can be a double-edged sword depending on what the viewer is watching it for. The ending does leave you off in a good place, pretty much telling you that there will always be people with money problems and, because of that, their future will forever be at risk.

Unlike a lot of anime nowadays with too many characters to count, C has a good amount of characters but only focuses on the ones who are truly relevant to the entire show. The two big ones are Kimimaro and Mikuni. Both either are developed through a backstory, like Mikuni, or through their everyday lives, like Kimimaro. The character that is explained the most, however, is Mikuni. Through his flashbacks, we learn about his family life and about his sister who is currently in a coma during the time of the series. From this, we can actually sympathize with him and hope that his future comes true; however, that just isn’t the case since now he only focuses on saving the present and not caring for the future that is held for collateral in the Financial District. As for Kimimaro, he’s a likable character... sometimes. I can’t really explain it, but there are times where I want to yell at him for being such an idiot. He has shining moments, but most of the time he falls flat and you don’t see how much he’s really affected by the District until the last couple of episodes.

As far as I know of, there hasn’t been an English dub released yet for the series; but I’m pretty sure FUNimation will be taking that on rather soon. For now, let’s talk about the Japanese cast. Koki Uchiyama, who plays our main character Kimimaro, is certainly one who has concerns about money yet doesn’t want to go to extremes to achieve it; yet, he’s also a fairly quiet guy. This is something you can really tell from his performance. Haruka Tomatsu, who plays Kimimaro’s Asset Mashu, is pretty much his opposite. Very hotheaded, full of curiosity, and always ready to fight for her Entre; Tomatsu was a very good choice for this role hands down. As for some of the other important roles: Daisuke Hosomi as Mikuni was good, Saori Goto as Q was great, Mayumo Asano as Jennifer Sato was pretty good, and Takahiro Sakurai as Masakaki was really fun. Yeah... Can you tell I don’t have much to say about the Japanese version?

That’s really all I can say about this anime. [C]: Control is rather short, has gorgeous visuals, and pretty well developed characters. It equally attracts and repels the deep story crowd, and the in-it-for-the-face-punch crowd. It would be interesting to see what would happen if there was more, but I feel pretty satisfied with the series as a whole. This is one to check out, so I suggest you do. If not, then feel free to look into another, more dark, soon to be released FUNimation series, Deadman Wonderland. Or you can wait two weeks for my review of it. It's your choice.

Until next time, otaku on my friends.


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