I imagine the executive meeting that inspired this dull, jabbering insult to my intelligence went a bit like this.
Director: I’ve been thinking lately we should do something deep and relevant about today’s global financial situation. It’s been all over the news and I think the kids would appreciate someone really bringing it down to their level.
Exec: Uhh, really? But finance is like so BOOOOOORING.
Director: Well, of course we could spice it up a little, you know, give it a representational hook or gimmick. I have one or two ideas that I think would really -
Exec: Oh oh oh! I’ve got it, I’ve got it! MASCOT BATTLES!
Exec: Write this down! It’s not often I get such inspirational flashes. I can see it now - economic conflicts figuratively enacted through pet monsters! ‘Cause everyone likes Pokemon, right??
The result, ladies and gentlemen, is this show, the worst possible marriage of everything that shouldn’t exist in anime. Dry, abstract exposition about money combined with utterly mindless battles between metaphorical creatures that have no real-life relevance. Burrow deep enough and C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control appears to contain a human tale about taking huge financial risks for the sake of loved ones. That this is mere veneer becomes clear the moment we ask why the characters don’t just work overtime, get a second job, or aim for promotion, considering any of these require less effort for more guarantee. The financial battles are vehicles for an impending apocalypse caused by some… thing that gets no explanation. All we know is, at some point, a digitised whatsit begins to sweep through Japan and the hero has to do stuff in the ether to make it go away.
Not that the fights are any good either. Occurring without reason or logic, they generate about as much friction as a limp dick. Just as one combatant summons giant balls of fire, the opponent blocks with an inexplicable beam of sparkling blackness, all the while an electronic voice yells nonsensical financial jargon not even the Wall Street folk would enjoy piecing together (how to counter sensibly when your enemy has just thrown a hail of MACROFLATION!!?). There are no recognisable dimensions to the battles, no identifiable limitations that tell me ‘this person is highly skilled compared to that person’. Thus we must take for granted that Souichiro Mikuni, the cool, mysterious rich guy, is unbeatable because everyone says so; when he fights, I can’t actually tell.
I’d like to put a message out there for the kids growing up on a diet of C-like atrocities: animated backgrounds full of feeling, atmosphere, and texture do exist. For evidence, look to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica or Eden of the East. The polygonal edifices we get in C bring to mind the artistic sensibilities of a McDonalds restaurant - cold, garish, and above all cheap. Effects happen, shapes and colours and patterns zoom past but none of it serves any discernible purpose except to distract us for another five seconds.
In moments when the plot wholly eluded me, the score managed to restore some of the potency of the situation. Unfortunately, sandwiched between unmemorable opening and closing themes, and voiced over by a crap script, the courageous cinematic soundtrack gets entirely lost.
If there’s anything anime needs more of, it’s teenage boys trying to get stronger. I’m being sarcastic, of course. What anime needs more of are characters I can tell apart from all the others. C’s cast melts into a giant pot of tokenism and archetype that effectively abandons the audience to apathy. I’m surprised, for instance, that the bland, pineapple-haired protagonist (had to look up his name, Kimimaro Yoga) was thought qualified to be one when his only notable features are being nice and harbouring angst about his long-lost father. The only vivid performance belongs to Masakaki, the guide of the alternate dimension in which the battles take place; he is a nod to Willy Wonka that strips away all the child-friendly veneer and replaces it with a chilling pitilessness.
Colour me spoiled if you will, but I like to spend my time watching things that I understand. I like characters for which I feel empathy doing things I could imagine myself doing if I were in their situation. Most of the financial jargon the target audience will struggle to relate to and anyone who does will snooze simply at the banal abstractedness of it. Instead of a poignant metaphor on the dangers of economic risk-taking, we get a discombobulated mess that farts a host of vague concepts. The only emotion this show inspires in the process is boredom.
[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control has a pretty original hook: It's a story starring economics college-student Yoga Kimimaro who only wants to acquire a job with income stable enough to support a family. One day he meets some eccentric dude named Masakaki (who looks a fusion between Willy Wonka and the Cheshire Cat) who offers him a large sum of money, asking in return that he put up his future for "collateral". From that day forward, Yoga is transported to a realm known as the Financial District where he must engage in battles known as "deals" in which he must offer not only his money, but his future as well. It doesn't just stop there since the money printed in the Financial District is different then your average bills. "Midas money" as it's called not only has adverse side-effects on the economy, but on the fabrics of reality as well
If there's anything [C] does that's remarkable, it's that the series tackles issues you never see tackled and gets off to fairly strong start because of it. The idea of a financial crisis being the core conflict in a series sounds pretty cool. The main character is pretty easy to relate to (college student with money issues), the Financial District looks pretty neat, and Masakaki is awesome. Why did it all have to go so wrong?
Let's start with the battles. To expand further on the above synopsis, people who engage in deals within the financial district are known as entres (short for entrepreneurs), and they are given ass kicking super-powered sidekicks called assets to do most of the fighting for them. The creators try to make these showdowns seem complicated by giving them a ton of rules and financial terminology that imply depth, but the way the battles are actually executed resembles pretty much every proxy battle series out there. They are often rather short and resort to run-of-the-mill beam-spam where characters yell out the name of their attacks before firing in true Digimon fashion. Strategies are limited to mostly deus-ex machina and straight-up luck, so don't come in to expecting any sort of complex mind-games. They look pretty, but the deals are mostly brain-dead affairs. You don't really need to understand the terminology or rules really, whoever has the biggest blast wins. Strangely enough one of the most hyped battles of the entire series is also skipped over right in the middle of the action to have the characters simply spend time explaining the results, just thought that was worth tossing out there.
When they're off the battle field our central duo isn't particularly interesting either. Yoga is a pretty dull and passive lead character. His involvement in the story is really little more then an excuse to introduce the viewers to the premise since we learn about the Financial District at the same time he does. He has no real involvement with the main plot going on under his nose until the final episodes. He's not a completely terrible lead though since his ideologies make for a decent foil for the ideologies of the people he meets and battles within the Financial District, especially the last boss. The real problem here is his asset Msyu. She's basically a loli-tsundere who develops into a loli-tsundere waifu. Her interactions with the Yoga as she slowly falls in love with him are cringe-inducing, and eat up far too much time. I figured a show with such a deep setting that only has eleven episodes to work with would know not to spend time on teaching your pet waifu how to eat or what a kiss is, but there's always enough time for otaku-bait I suppose.The nature of the relationship between entres and assets is something I won't go into much for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but it's where I was hoping this show would differentiate Yoga and Msyu from all the other dull male/female leads out there, but it's a sub-plot that pretty much gets dropped right before giving us any kind of meaningful answer. Thus leaving us with yet another lead couple who won't do much for anyone not wanting another cliched central couple. Meh.
I feel no need to mention most of the other entres for the reason that they are mostly one-note entities who fail to amount to something memorable due to short screen-time. I will give props to show for the antagonist (though you could also call him an anti-hero) Mikuni, who is far more interesting to follow then our boring lead and his digital waifu. He understands the effects that losing deals has on other entres (not only do they lose money, but a part of their lives will suddenly vanish). His motives were rather interesting and understandable. I applaud the show for not giving us a main antagonist solely driven by greed which is something that I was expecting from a series where money is behind everything. His plot to is analogous to the idea of quantitative easing, wherein he tries to inject Midas Money into the Japanese economy. His role in the story was a pretty interesting one that provided some interesting criticisms to the practice.
The visuals in this show are probably as unique as the show's premise, but are about as mixed overall as the show's execution. The Financial District is pretty cool to look at with it's distinctive red/white color pallet and the battles that take place are often well animated. The character art however does this bizarre thing often goofily switches between 2D designs and 3D models. It was sort of cool at first since Masakaki was the only one doing it in episode 1 and it sort of fit in with the rest of his bizarre characteristics. However, eventually you get shots of characters walking down the streets in 3D sometimes and the occasional scene where both 2D and 3D characters are interacting on screen at the same time. The actual character designs themselves are also kinda weird in a sometimes derpish way sometimes but is otherwise average. The actual acting is alright on both sides. Funimation's dub doesn't really have much young blood so if you're well acquainted with their previous works, the English version will end up being a rather simple game of "spot the voice actor". Scott Freeman as Masakaki was excellent though. I'd still recommend the Japanese version since it has the highest ratio of Engrish to Japanese speaking (a result of having the International Monetary Fund pop up from time-to-time and the attacks and terminology used during deals) since the likes of Black Lagoon and Beck. It's weird in this since some of the Engrish sounds almost convincing too.
The main plot would've benefited greatly benefited from another cour, but as is the show bites far more then it can chew. I'm not sure if the series had it's episode count slashed or not, but it certainly feels that way (just as much as it did with Angel Beats! too). Much of the series focus on Yoga/Msyu adventures in the Financial District, yet all of a sudden in the final episodes the show forces a doomsday climax with no build up. It would've been great to get a better understanding of how the show got there and how Mikuni figured into it all. Instead it feels as if people woke up one day only to find out that they suddenly have an enormous financial crisis that threatens to plunge the world into "Great Depression " tier misery. These episodes feel to quickly paced and even though the final deal itself is pretty awesome, the show resorts to what I can only call a ridiculously ass-pully resolution that felt much too cheap.
[C] is most definitely a textbook example of neat premise being ruined beyond all recognition. The unnecessary focus on boring leads you've seen before combined with a plot that didn't get the time it needed to develop alongside the weak character development hamstring the show's potential badly. It's an interesting affair still simply because of the bizarre premise and visuals and won't take up too much time.That's not enough to prevent [C] from being a failure of forgettable proportions. Come for the cute assets and explosions, it won't disappoint too much if that's the fix your looking for.
Should you watch this show? Eh, it's not the best and there are better shows out there
I'm still trying to figure out if the show was about how money is evil, banks are evil, governments that print money are evil, or the free market economy is evil. With all of these possibilities it's clear that this show left me a little confused.
We start off with a main character who is flat broke and we see him go to this parrallel world that essentially controls the economy and as a result, the world. In this alternate world people can win big money by fighting it out with their partners, called "Assets" (this entire show pulls all of its material from economic systems) who are the embodiment of the future of the "Entrepeneur", or "Entre." Every week these people must duke it out, and if they lose all of their money, they are essentially removed from the world and left out to dry. It's a high-stakes game, ladies and gentlemen, and don't forget that money is power.
As an action show, it's a little underwhelming, they skipped what was probably the coolest part of the show and decided that it would be better just to talk about how he won instead of just showing it. There is nothing more lazy and unforgivable than that in an action-based show. The scenes are rather cool, when they decide to show off the Assets.... assets (in a non-ecchi way) The powers are impressive and a little over-the-top when they use their ultimate powers, which gives for a good show some of the time.
The animation was less than stellar. It was a CGI show, which normally doesn't mess with me too much, but this show somehow made everything look odd. In the show there is the mysterious crazy man who looks very, very strange when he moves. I'm not sure if it's because his animations were smoother than the rest of the cast's, but it just looked so out of place with everything else. Maybe it was intentional, maybe it wasn't. Either way, I didn't much care for it.
The characters are actually rather good, for the most part. The main character is likable enough, along with his Asset. They have an interesting relationship that develops throughout the show, which is always a good thing. The pseudo-mentor for the main character, the enigmatic Souichirou Mikuni, is a very respectable character. He is the character who you learn the most about, honestly, and you learn about his reasons and why he does things the way he does. There are some other colorful characters that make this actually a rather rich (haha, see what I did there?) lineup.
Anyway, this show is one that left no impression on me whatsoever, though that doesn't mean that it won't be to your liking. If you can look past the odd animation and really pay attention to the story, then you'll see that there is a lot to learn about how economies work and why you shouldn't gamble away your future for a chance at a slightly better present. This show had lofty goals, but for me, it just fell short.
This show reminds me alot like Btoom, Deadman Wonderland, No Game No Life....the art style is one the most sharp, drastic beautiful animations I seen in a while...while the story is a bit confusing with a lot of misleading elements. I would just suggest to watch and enjoy it for what it is...the problem with these anime...they need more than 12 episodes to a establish a solid story line.
Anime prompting them to reflect on the value of the money . It shows what can happen if swistku inconspicuous miss this paper. With this title to man comes to mind : as I would have done with these funds. On the one hand, the man smiles as he could himself let to buy different things whose he desired and also what can be the consequences in the future. Anime really recommendable 9/10 .