Kimimaro Yoga could use a break. At nineteen years old, he's not only a student at Heisei College of Economics, he's also a part time employee and flat out broke. So when an eerie man offers the boy a special ATM card and an exorbitant amount of cash, Kimimaro gives in to temptation – but there's a catch. In exchange for his good fortune, Kimimaro's very future is put at stake, held as collateral by the Bank of Midas and tied to the amount of yen in his bank account. In addition, he must participate in a special battle every week in the mysterious 'Financial District' – a battle where losing against one's opponent can mean bankruptcy, a fate that carries an unthinkable cost in the normal world...
StoryI 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! Director: What? 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.AnimationI’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.SoundIn 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.CharactersIf 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.OverallColour 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.
Before I start my usual rant that tends to pop up in my reviews of short animes, let me just say I enjoyed this anime. Now on to everything else. This anime isn't even 12 or 13 episodes...it's 11. I don't think I have ever seen an eleven episode anime that wasn't rushed or left without an ending and this is no exception. Hec, it's rare for 12 or 13 episode animes to not have those problems. This anime has a lot of explanations, most of which deal with economics and this "other world" called the Financial District. A lot tends to be explained at a time and quickly too. It's probably best to take this anime at face value and not think too deeply about what's happening and what is explained, otherwise it might be slightly overwhelming. Well, I've never been good with economics beyond the basics and I'm terrible when it comes to numbers and I overanalyze EVERYTHING, so there is my problem already, however, if the series had been longer and the explanations broken up and given over a longer period of time, it wouldn't be so difficult. And now I wonder if anyone else feels the same or everyone who reads this thinks I'm a blabbering idiotic moron. ANYWAY, that aside, the pace is rushed too. I don't think it had the time to build the characters and relationships as well as explain what was going on properly. Short animes are like short stories. A good one is simple, makes use of stereotypes, uses common well known settings and concepts that don't need a lot of explanation, and limits the number of characters. Although it doesn't necessarily have to use all those things, it shouldn't be to complex. That's how a lot of short animes fall short of greatness and this anime is no exception. Characters- The characters were diverse enough and decently interesting, but I wasn't really sure who to be rooting for. At times it felt like some characters were just being idiotic, but maybe I didn't have enough of a firm grasp on the situation and therefor misunderstood. I would have liked to know more about the main character. It almost felt like I knew more about Mikuni's past than Yoga's. As for Satou, sometimes she seemed to be completely ridiculous with her ideas, but like I already said, maybe I understood less than she did about the situation. Story- I feel the story was somehwat unique, which was part of it's downfall as a short anime, but also kept things interesting. It could have benefitted from more time to develop though and the ending didn't feel like it wrapped much up. There was also the problem of random details that never got a clear explanation. Some could be assumed by clues given throughout, but not all. What was with the book of numbers? What kept injuries in battle from existing after the battle and did it only apply to injuries from the assetts and those blades things or if someone punched you in the financial district, would those injuries vanish too? What happened at the end and where is Masu? What about the similarity between Yoga's assett and his fathers? What was C really trying to do (technically it was mentioned, but it didn't make a lot of sense)? The story includes a lot of elements too. I think that was another issue this anime had. It didn't seem to really fit nicely into a genre to me which isn't bad, but it felt like too much crammed into a tiny anime at times. I enjoyed watching it and I think it's worth it, but enjoyable or not, I give the story a seven, mostly because of pacing. Animation- This was a bit curious to me. It was mostly average normal animation for these days but it had some oddities. The most noticable (because it's in every episode) is at the end of the opening song where it sudenly stops and it sort of seems like the viedo is lagging but it's not. It happens in other places too but it's not a bad thing. I just wanted to mention it because it was unique. Sound- I still don't know what on earth I'm supposed to say about sound, unless one of the voices totally doesn't fit the character or there is some annoying sound beeping through out. Normally I judge it by whether or not I could stand listening to the opening and the ending too if I listened to it. This one is nothing special but I wasn't dying to fast forward to make it stop so I guess it's average. Overall- I know I said there were a lot of flaws in this anime, but if I were to rate it based entirely on my own opinion/experience and how much I enjoyed it or how well it kept my interest, I would give it an 8. However, I'm not basing my overall score on my opinion, enjoyment, and interest alone. I am taking into account the parts of a story, character and story development, pacing, animation quality and aesthetic, it's uniqueness, and the satisfaction of the ending or whether the ending gave closure. Based on all that including my personal enjoyment, I give it a 7 overall.
WARNING: This review is going to be really boring. "Why?," you ask. Because [C] is really boring, and it's boring to talk about. I can get excited over a good thing because I can find creative ways to express my like for it. I can get excited over a bad thing because I can think of different ways to tell it to eat the ass-end of a north-bound cow. However I can't get excited over [C] because of how fucking boring it is. You have been warned, so don't complain about that if you're going to. [C] is about a kid named Yoga, who gets transported to an alternate dimension after accepting a mysterious cash fund in his bank account. In this alternate dimension, he has to fight different people in order to secure his future, which the dimension has as collateral. Every other fighter there does so as well, making this a fight to secure Japan's future as a whole. Each victory or loss has an adverse effect in the real world. As he battles, it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems to Yoga, and different people have different ideas about how to manipulate this dimension to affect theirs. My main problem with this story is that it's not original at all. What it is is a Frankenstiened mess of other anime; most notably Death Note, Serial Experiments Lain, and Soul Eater. From Death Note, we a get a moral dilemma tailored in a similar fashion, only handled so poorly that we don't know entirely what it's asking until the very end of the series. From Lain, we get an alternate dimension that controls the real world, only less awesome because the impact left on the real world is known from the start and the way they raise the stakes at the end is laughable at best. From Soul Eater, we get a fighting system with someone at your side that's humanoid but not actually human that acts as your weapon, but less cool each battle is boring and predictable. The staff even know that because one of the battles cuts off in the middle of it and they declared Yoga the winner because they couldn't think of a way for Yoga to predictably win it. Aside from making the aspect that they stole from each anime pathetic, the idea that these three anime can mix together is not a solid one. I can see someone connecting Death Note and Lain, but adding Soul Eater into the mix is just ludicrous. These three anime are so different from each other it doesn't make sense to mix them all up; But, if you're determined to do so, don't string them onto a boring plot that thinks it's better than it actually is. The main story is one that's been done before and better. An under dog-type character finds himself in an odd situation and begins to rise through the ranks, which is seen by the characters in it as shocking and which isn't seen by me, because I dosed off five minutes in. That is the entire extent of the plot, except when it tries to be deep. I say "tries" because each "deep situation" is bland as hell and something people could see coming from miles away. Most of it talks about about how this dimension is affecting the real world, and when I say "talks" I mean "drones on pointlessly, while alienating the audience." I know Darker than Black did something similar, but the universe in that set up in is in some way interesting and has a colorful cast of characters, which links me neatly to my next point. The characters are somewhat of a paradox. They're incredibly bland and uninteresting, but to the degree where they're so bland they're unforgettable. Yoga is the under dog hero of the anime, who stumbles around the series, trying to decide which moral side to take. His fighting partner is Mysu. Her role consists of bitching to Yoga and harboring a secret crush on him. The main villain is Mikuni, not that they want you to know that. The series tries to hide that fact very clumsily. His fighting partner is Q, a stoic character that hardly talks, probably in fear that whatever she says has to come from the same snooze-worthy script that everyone else's dialogue comes from. Other characters include a pessimistic teacher, a secret agent girl, an information broker with gold teeth, and a few others I can describe in whole using simple terminology. The only two interesting characters are Masakaki, who works for the alternate dimension, looks like the nephew of The Count from Gankutsuou, and consistently has fun in his own little way, and Sennoza, a rich charity worker, who's incredibly strong and tries to make the script more interesting. Seriously, the rest of the characters sound like their actors knew this was going to be boring going in and didn't even bother (I watched it subbed, by the way). These characters as a whole though are just as bland as the plot, except Mysu who is annoying as hell, and I would sooner leap from The Eiffel Tower than consider her likeable in any way shape or form. As for the art, it's bland as well. For the alternate dimension, it looks like they tried to fix the artwork of Gankutsuou and fucked it up. At least Gankutsuou's art look interesting in some way and had some feeling behind it. The art here looks like it was made by a robot programed to make something interesting without any reference material at all. The real world artwork also looks boring, but without any specific thing to rip off of, so it looks like that robot's programing was set to "generic." Still, the artwork here is just boring and not smug, like the story, or annoying, like the characters. The music is also generic as hell. Uninteresting in every way. Even the opening theme, which is by Nico Touches the Walls, the group that did the second opening for FMA: Brotherhood, which was an awesome song. What happened here? Did you guys agree to make a generic song for the anime, or did you look at the anime and make a song to match? My money's on the latter. Still, there is one saving grace for the music, the end theme. It's bye the same people that did the end theme for Eden of the East, another great theme, and this group decided to take the Sennoza route and tried to make the series interesting. As it stand though, the music is the least bland part of the series only because of that. I'm sorry that I've been repeating myself, calling [C] boring, bland, generic, uninteresting and such. It's just that there's no other way to describe the series. However, if I talk about the end, that might give me some wiggle room in my vocabulary. So, Spoiler Alert here. If you don't wish to be spoiled, just skip to the end. The Death Note styled moral dilemma centers around the choice of living for today or living to live again tomorrow. This is an interesting concept, but it doesn't come up until very late in the series, as I've mentioned before. It doesn't get addressed until the fate of Japan is at stake, which is a sloppy way to raise the stakes, which I've also mentioned before. The last few episodes of [C] have plot points that fly past faster than a caffeine addict in a race car and are never explained, and things begin to happen for no reason. Or maybe there is a reason, I just didn't pay attention to the boring dialogue long enough to make it coherent. This is all in effort to make [C] look tough and edgy enough to play with the big boys in the anime crowd. A hopeless effort I might add, because it makes it look incredibly silly and not serious at all. The ending of [C] is rather bullshit. It resets itself so that it leaves off where it began, and no effort has been made to offer some form of closure. I guess that was a little more interesting, but not by much. It was worth trying anyway. Overall: [C] is just an extremely boring anime with less substance than an empty jar. It thinks too highly of itself and is unoriginal in almost every way. It's not a bad anime though, just very inorganic. Something that you could make by putting a bunch of better anime into a blender and mix in some sludge. Don't watch it, unless you are suffering from insomnia is basically what I'm saying. 4.4/10
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