Alt title: C³: Cube x Cursed x Curious

TV (12 eps)
Fall 2011
3.344 out of 5 from 7,075 votes
Rank #9,803

Haruaki Yachi has seen his fair share of curses, but despite his familiarity, even Haruaki is out of his element when his father mails him a cursed torture cube with the humanoid figure of a cute young girl named Fear Kubrick (no relation). Now, he’s got to help her break her curse and leave behind her homicidal past before dangerous forces get ahold of her deadly powers. Sassy loudmouth Fear has a hard time keeping a low profile, but with the help of Haruaki’s other cursed comrades, maybe this cubed cutie can find her place in the human world - IF she can break her curse in C3!

Source: Funimation

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THE STAFF Directed by Oonuma Shin, a guy who prodused the rather good Pani Poni Dash and Ef a Tale of Memories/Melodies. He then transferred to Silver Link, a minor studio whose only full job projects are this and Baka to Test. He also directed those and the results are bad. So you know from the start that it is a show by a minor director and a minor studio; don’t expect much. I have stopped watching such ecchi shows for the sole reason they quickly become repetitive, dumb, and forgettable quite fast. I must have watched over 200 such shows back when I was new to the medium and I hardly remember anything that was going on in them besides the main excuse for a story. Characters and sex jokes have been completely wiped clean from my mind since they kept repeating in almost the exact way in every show. And then I hear how this C3 anime is awesome! How it is the most amazing thing after sliced bread. “The second episode proves wrong all those who doubt its brilliance” is what the fanboys scream. And so I said “Oh, what the heck, maybe it is worth my precious attention.” It’s not like ecchi humour always auto-destroys a show; it can easily be used as a tool to further progress deep and philosophical concepts. Remember how it was an inseparate element in Furi Curi or Kuuchu Buranko? So why not; maybe this is one of those exceptions where the erotic humour is just means for far more important things. So I sit down and watch. STORY: 4/10 Episode 1: Gah, the same old crap I saw in all those throw away shows. Some meek guy suddenly finds a clueless naked chick in his house and before you know it, the girl-next-door appears and starts a cat fight for whom gets to have him. FOR WHAT REASON, HE IS A WUSS! After which fetishes each one of them represents (the flat-chested loli tsundere and the megane busty yandere), he goes to school and she goes for a walk… Hey wait a second, where did she find the clothes? She came in the house completely naked, the wuss was living all alone there and I doubt the love rival gave her some. Either the wuss is a cross dresser, a panties thief, or this show already doesn’t give a rat’s ass about plot continuity. Meh, I might as well keep watching for this amazing thing everybody was talking about. The rest of the show is about random things she does wrong because she is a dumb broad and the wuss is supposed to teach her. A dumb broad and a teenager tutor, all alone in a house. Yeah, the usual hentai excuse that never heads anywhere; I’ve seen that a million times already. Further more, she is a loli that transforms into a box. That’s right, it goes beyond the loli-in-the-box trope. The pilot episode was the same trash as always but then they say the second changes everything. Let’s see…Episode 2: Half of it was the usual random school comedy skits I wouldn’t care less about. The other half suddenly turns to some weird fighting shounen with insane characters. And people all of a sudden transform to swords and summon guillotines out of thin air. What is this, the ecchi version of Soul Eater? Episode 3: Cube girl is now all emo for being a weapon of mass destruction and the whole episode is spent on the meek dude looking for her and accepting her for whom she is. Yeah, very corny stuff but definitely NOT what I would expect to see in the third episode of an ecchi title. Unfortunately the ending of episode 3 turns back into a more than typical ecchi by having both the chicks to AGAIN trying to win his affection and AGAIN having fan service.Episode 4 and onwards: So they are now trying to train their powers, while still goofing around and fending off crazy people with magic weapons. And no, I won’t bother to make further explaining to what exactly they do because it is just a slight variation of the same plot that happened above. The dork protagonists meets a cute curced girl and again battle/emo mode happen. Each episode up to 3 had a very different feel to it, which is a good thing. The problem is these types of shows usually spend the first 2-3 episodes with good humour and a promise for an amazing continuation, only to quickly turn to wasted potential and run-of-the-mill sex jokes that head nowhere and end in the middle of nowhere. I felt like the series showed all it had to show in terms of context in episodes 2 and 3, with 4 and on feeling like a rehash. No matter how many new characters or areas or notions were introduced later on, it still felt like it reached the maximum of its capacity. As expected, it turned to an almost storyless random ecchi premise which henceforth rehashed what was going on in the beginning. CHARACTERS: 5/10 Generic with openings for improvement that burn out early in the story. I have seen these stereotypes a million times so far and only when they escape their mold by developing is the only way they get my thumbs up. The problem of course is how they remain generic softporn fetishes, with little motivation for you to care about them, and they all pretty much follow the same pattern to the point it becomes boring. They all try to have this cute/sexy feeling combined with heavy drama in the likes of Elfen Lied. You know, cute little sexualized girls that feel emo for being used as weapons and not loved as people? The problem is that Elfen Lied had buckets of blood, death, and nude, amidst a pseudo-excuse for social criticism and moral deconstruction… while C3 is just goofing around with shallow personal drama. No matter how many times they fight, nothing of importance comes out of it and death is just a joke. So by the end of the show you get nothing but your generic dorky male living in a house full of harem bimbos, and the viewer doesn’t care about any of them in the least. You don’t feel like the scriptwriter did much with its characters other than introducing one, presenting a superficial problem, and then thrown aside just to introduce another one with a similar problem. Gets boring fast. ART: 9/10 The production values are very good. The character figures are generic as hell, but the visual effects and the cinematics are simply amazing and I was surprised to see this is not a SHAFT production (although the animation studio, Silver Link, is basically people who used to work for them). The show is basically separated into your typical ecchi comedy with its overused sceneries of schools and houses full of sexy lolis goofing around with a hapless male, and to psychedelic fighting scenes, full of creepy-looking fluorescent weapons and yandere chicks attacking one another. The later part is definitely a lot more eye-captivating as it has far more smooth animation and exciting choreography, although even the silly everyday moments were given attention in terms of cinematics and colour palette. Eventually though, there is very little to look at despite the wonderful way everything is animated for the sole reason there is no actual gravity in whatever happens. Injuries are a joke, weapons are magically appearing out of thin air, and the girls are doing the usual dumb romcom things we see in all such shows. SOUND: 6/10 Meh, generic songs and squeaky voices; nothing much. I was surprised to see Fear being voiced by Tamura Yukari and not Rie Kugimiya. Their voices are so alike and Fear is a loli tsundere so why not? Meh, I guess they all sound the same after awhile. VALUE: 1/10 Although a step higher from being just goofball softporn, the series still becomes boring quite fast simply because it is trying to combine light themes with heavy ones in an uneven way. I am more than aware how most famous high seller anime are in effect serious themes presented in a light/comical/sexy way but C3 is not a good example. The transition from ecchi to heavy drama was too sudden and although it was quite a shock the first time it happened on episode 2, the repetition thereafter in almost the exact way didn’t have the same impact. So no, overall the story was bad for becoming repetitive and shallow too fast and too obvious. The ending leaves you completely apathetic and I really wonder if it would be better off if it had ended on episode 3, long before the excitement was gone. I personally find no replay value in the show and didn’t enjoy it much past episodes 2 and 3. ENJOYMENT: 2/10 This anime looks like a weenie… c3… when with care it could look like a monster cock.C==============3


C³ is an Action, School and Ecchi kind of theme to it that I came across from a reccommendation of another Anime and seeing some good pointers on it, so decided on giving this series a little spin and well this is what I thought of it.Story - (6/10) Yachi Haruaki is a high-schooler who’s always been naturally immune to curses; for this reason, his father keeps sending him cursed tools, called “Waas”, in order to free them of said curses. One day, he receives a mysterious, heavy box; this reveals as an instrument of torture called “Fear in Cube”, whose human form, a young silver-haired girl, soon appears to Haruaki. The two, along with Haruaki’s friend Konoha, will have to fight together against other cursed tools and their owners. As the arcs progress, more girls (or cursed tools taking the form of girls) will add to the cast. Those who have seen “Bakemonogatari” will probably start to see a pattern here. After an incredibly non-indicative first-and-a-half episode filled with silly and mostly annoying moe comedy material, the action and even psychological elements kick right in, providing lots of pretty intense action scenes, lots of blood, some surprisingly creepy and disturbing moments here and there, a couple of interesting character development sections…and still lots and lots of fanservice and ecchi comedy. The presence in the plot of various organisations centred around Waas, providing the role of “villains”, helps spicing up a bit the story, creating some more suspense and interest, but the abrupt and unsatisfying finale typical of light novel adaptations leaves so much stuff hanging, so much development mid-way, that all the interest and questions created go a bit out the window, and even make the whole series feel a bit useless. Even with its pretty unoriginal plot, though, it still manages to suck in the viewers surprisingly well: the mystery and suspense are really well crafted, the plot twists are effectively prepared and pulled out, despite an annoying overabundance of ecchi-centred situations some moments are genuinely hilarious, as some others are genuinely disturbing. After the awful first impression the anime had given me, I was really amazed seeing how I was getting increasingly invested in the plot and characters. As I already said, it’s not very original, and in the last arc some parts do feel a bit forced, but the effort is definitely there. What I meant with “how Bakemonogatari probably should have been” is here: the two have kind of the same defects, but C³ is not trying to be all brilliant and dialogue-heavy, it knows it has a simple plot and focuses on at least pulling it off effectively; by doing this, what it loses in originality it gains in better emotional impact; because in such an episode-based medium as anime, not being able to keep the viewers wanting for more can be a big problem. Unfortunately, a good part of it is ruined by its disappointing finale; probably if they had more episodes to show further developments it would have made the story more memorable, because like this it’s like if your guests suddenly left your house without a word just as you finished getting dinner ready: it might have been a perfectly good meal, but you haven’t eaten it. So, to sum it up, C³ doesn’t do anything special, but it does it decently good. ANIMATION - (9/10) This is where I say clearly “how Bakemonogatari should have been”. Just like “Bakemonogatari”, this simple story is directed by a “virtuoso” anime director, Ōnuma Shin; but unlike “Bakemonogatari”, here the very particular direction actually manages to create and improve the atmosphere. The most prominent feature would probably be the various filters applied to the background at appropriate moments, especially during confrontations (as to create an “isolated” environment for the key events to take place), but also very clever symbolisms (like chains, or bind eyes trying to open when Fear is trying to keep her inner self at bay…), shōjo manga-like frames or little hearts or stars appearing in the eyes or mouth for comedic effect, sudden art shifts, wide angles, very creative visuals, even decoupage-like animations with the characters moving like puppets on a theatre-like background or turning into sketches of themselves creating a very gothic atmosphere that I find perfect for the single arc these ideas are used in…I simply loved the direction. The animations and CGI are also very fluid and intense in the action scenes, and the design of the various weapons is really nice. However, the art loses points for its incredibly unoriginal and generic character design. Believe me, it pains me to give it less than 10.SOUND - (6/10) CAST - (8/10) The music does its job decently, but I found it a bit lacking and generic. It fails to stand out in any given moment, and there are times where it could have helped a lot. Both ED songs are your typical, incredibly generic sappy pop tracks, while the OP songs have somehow a nice “Japanese” feeling to some of their melodies that, combined with the beautifully edited credit sequences, get easily stuck in your head. The voice acting is where I was surprised the most. Tamura Yukari (who performed as Tenten in the “Naruto” franchise) as Fear, in particular, managed to annoy me with Fear’s initial personality and then creep the hell out of me with a deep, violent voice five minutes later; with this character, she conveys a very large range of emotions and expressions, and she does an astonishing good job. I was also surprised at Mako’s performance of Mummy Maker, a minor character with quite little relevance who still somehow managed to feel sympathetic to me thanks both to the few lines establishing her character and her subtle voice acting. The names of Chihara Minori (Nagato from the “Haruhi Suzumiya” franchise among many others) and Saito Chiwa (Senjōgahara in “Bakemonogatari” among others) as Konoha and Sovereignty respectively are always a guarantee, and this series doesn’t make an exception, especially Saito’s deep performance during one scene in episode 8. I also found Ohara Sayaka (Milly in “Code Geass” and Selvaria in “Valkyria Chronicles” among many others) very convincing in her portrayal of the psychopathic first villain. The rest of the cast also does a solid job, although I will say that Kaji Yūji as Haruaki (he’s also the voice of Ōma Shū in “Guilty Crown”) didn’t fully convince me. CHARACTERS - (7/10) The protagonist is an extremely selfless boy full of good intentions using his special qualities to help others; he’s surely bland and bidimensional, but also likeable, his personality and some of his lines are likeable, and he makes a nice mix between a typical shōnen hero and a character à la Araragi Koyomi. Fear, the female protagonist, starts off as a typical loli character (you know, clumsy but arrogant, always insulting but with a sweet side, hyperactive and easily distracted…), but soon reveals a kind of “double personality”, a different side of herself she wants to get rid of, and her inner turmoil is actually surprisingly good; I’d even say she’s the one with most potential out of all the characters, but unfortunately her exploration is not as well done as it could have been, it feels a bit hasty, so her potential doesn’t fully pay off. Then we have your cute obvious childhood-friend-with-a-crush Konoha (a type B tsundere), with glasses, twin braids, big tits and everything (yes, I do like her, why do you ask?), who surprises at first by showing a personality quite different from your first expectation, but remains quite flat and underdeveloped despite a lot of potential and mystery around her. Lastly we have Kirika Ueno, your typical strong, serious, selfless class president, with an interesting twist and small inner conflict which manage to make her intriguing. As you can see, it’s your stereotypical cast ready to create the usual dynamics of “everybody gets a crush on the protagonist”, fanservice and comic scenes, but still it’s well balanced and well done enough to not feel forced. Plus, all of them are likeable enough to connect emotionally to the viewer. Regarding the minor characters, I’ll say I was surprised by how clearly they managed to flash out some personality for everyone of them instead of just making them walking plot devices, especially Sovereignty, the school superintendent and his secretary, and most of them have their hilarious moments; when this happens, it’s always a big plus for me.OVERALL - (7/10) So in the end…is this anime unoriginal? Yes. Is at times predictable? Yes. Does it feel useless? Yes. Does it have too much fanservice for its own good? Yes. Is it bad? Well…I say, definitely no. Despite all its flaws, and its clearly commercial nature, I have to say that it has potential and effort, it manages to be emotional here and there, to crack me up one moment and creep me out the next, against my own better judgement its characters managed to connect, and the direction, animation and voice acting are simply impressive. Still, at least unless the adaptation of later novels will bring its unexploited potentials to light, it’s one of those forgettable, skippable ones, so…if you liked “Bakemonogatari”, you may like a darker and more action-packed version of the same type of set up; if you think what I described here may be suited for you, by all means give it a shot; but otherwise, feel free to skip this one, you’re not losing very much.

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