36 CommentsC The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, First Impressions / By Scamp /

[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control episode 1

My original hype I had for this anime got an almighty blow when some of the later trailers were released. What sort of derpy character designs were they? Well, the character designs were still kinda cool looking, but what on earth had happened to the quality control? And in a trailer as well, where they’re meant to show off their animation budget? Panic started to set in. Noitamina is going downhill and this might be the last we ever see of this timeslot. The anime industry is doomed, we are all going to perish in a wave of melodramatic moeblobs.

And then the first episode aired. And my fears were put to bed. This is not perfect, but oh yes is it ever awesome.

Somewhere in amongst all the pre-hype, I’d forgotten who Kenji Nakamura is and what weird tastes in animation he has. This fella clearly stepped right out of the Trapeze character design mold. For the uninitiated, Kenji Nakamura is a nutcase director, usually associated with Toei animation, who has produced anime for the Noitamina timeslot before. These two anime are Mononoke and Trapeze. Now I know I will instantly lose my self-important elitist license by saying this, but Mononoke really didn’t click with me and I dropped it after two episodes. However I did really enjoy Trapeze in all it’s feel good value, even if it was rather imbalanced and varied widely in quality. That said, I like what he tries to do. I like any director who actively tries to move away from the standard boring talking heads version of animation, like Yuasa (Tatami Galaxy, Kaiba) or Shinbo (every single Shaft anime). [C] isn’t quite the same sort of unusual presentation, but it’s different and unusual in what the actual story it’s presenting is. This is a Metaphor.

The world that is the financial district is one not governed by the laws of reality, nor the laws of common sense. A world in which the rules of economics and finance are explained via the medium of card games, demon girls and Pokemon battles. It’s a bizarre, visually imaginative world that I really haven’t had a chance as of yet to make heads nor tails of yet. But I partly knew what to expect after having read this interview with the cast. This is all one big fancy Metaphor for economics and finance and whatever. I don’t know where this is going but I love this sort of stuff generally. I love the way it tackles stories like Legend of Black Heaven or Revolutionary Girl Utena. Using the bizarreness that animation can bring to the table to construct complex ways of telling stories. I’ve seen some people complain of the apparent Yu-Gi-Oh approach, which rather baffles me. So what, you want the boring old economics lectures like in Spice and Wolf, where you sat through the economics because you were a good viewer who realised you had to pay attention to this stuff to get through to the Horo X Lawrence scenes later on? Or do you want economics explained via the medium of demon girls summoning monsters with your bank balance used as life points? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

The animation is still derpy though. The point that sticks out is the character designs. Whenver they’re shown in anything other than a close up, it turns all jarring and derpy. Their heads are too small! OK, not quite XXXHolic levels of small, but that’s practically impossible to achieve and I hope we never see those freaky levels of shrunken heads in anime again. But [C] got it just the wrong level of small head syndrome that it becomes noticeable and annoying. The series shines again when we run into the Willy Wonka character and we leap into the Financial District via Taxi 9 and three quarters, but for Nakamura the animation in the more ordinary life scenes can be rather mundane. Or perhaps that’s the point? I dunno, but it doesn’t blend well and looks awkward at times. The CGI is far less obtrusive than I thought it would be though. If anything, I like CGI Willy Wonka. He’s such a bizarre creature anyway that his free-flowing CGI form is still pretty cool to watch. Or maybe I’ve just been won over by CGI characters ever since the Suite Precure ending song dance routine (which I would link but boy do Toei love taking down any Youtube upload of that dance).

Don’t you want to become a magical girl? Wait no sorry, I mean, do you have your Golden Ticket? Wait no, not that either. If you were given 10 billion yen, how would you save Ja…wait damnit, not that either!

In short, I really enjoyed the first episode of [C]. It’s bizarre and imaginative, with intelligent dialogue and quick wit with some incredibly interesting ideas that I really want to see it explore further. What are they going to do with all of this though? It could still all collapse horribly, but I’m here for the ride anyway.

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34 Comments

  1. Posted April 15, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    The biggest thing I came away with from the first episode was the same as your closing thought, “what are they going to do with this?” I guess too many shows like Gundam 00 and Shangri-la have made me instantly put up my guard and be skeptical when a series tries to directly or through metaphor tackle things like politics or, in this case, economics. But there wasn’t anything wrong about it so far. Maybe one or two more episodes in I can get comfortable with it but despite my wariness the premise does sound like an interesting way to relate the impact of economics and/or some neat conspiracy theory storyline.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      I would too be worried, but the potential for turning to shit is so much higher in Steins;Gate that I find it hard to get as worried for [C] at all

  2. Raspy
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    To be honest I thought that it was going to blow but I am glad that it didn’t. It was interesting enough episode to watch through but still there was something missing.

    The characters as they are now feel very very flat. There seems to be no depth to them. I know that this is an introductory episode and all but it left a lackluster impression on me.

    Also instead leaving me feeling intrigued it left me feeling a bit empty. I do want to know more about the situation the character is in but not out of intrigue but because it bothers me not knowing. This is the first time that I experienced something like this and I think it is a consequence of simply not getting any emotional connection to the characters.

    The anime may be trying a bit too hard to leave a mysterious impression on the viewers. Although I like the… how should I call it… dark squares that cover up parts of the screen and that voice that appears with it. That voice is a mix of something superb, scary and computerish.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      I liked that square computer-ish dark patches for voices as well. It mixes in with that oppressively exciting atmosphere the whole show has.

      As for the characters having not depth….eh, hard to argue with that as of now, but at least it does have Willy Wonka

  3. Milfeulle
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Money is suffering…

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      damn you for making me grin at an internet meme…

  4. 1tsu
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    I liked this episode. Yet, I still can’t make head or tails out of that financial district battles, and was pretty much lost during them. Hopefully they will be explained later.
    Also, financial district Willy Wonka is creepy.
    And I didn’t find the head proportions to be annoying. Some characters had some pretty generic design, but aside from that, all is well.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Watch XXXHolic if you want really scary head proportions

      • luffyluffy
        Posted April 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Not gunna lie bro

        I fucking loved xxxHolic

      • Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        xxxHolic is awesome.
        The ending sucks tho.

  5. luffyluffy
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    I dunno really what to think of this.

    I’ll keep watching this, but I’m not exactly sure why…

  6. Posted April 16, 2011 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    heh everyone is complaining about the character designs. This show is like “sell your soul to the devil” kind of thingy for exchange of money. but that just me putting it blandly

  7. Bogger
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    Suite precure ending:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgxue7_suite-precure-ed-1_shortfilms

    Not a fan of it, tbh, but at least with a link, we’ve seen it :P

    (that’s the suite pecure ending, btw, not C. C is awesome)

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      That ED never gets old~

      The Suite Precure one that is. Not all that big on the C op and ed. Was never big of School Food Punishment even in Eden. It was the papermation that made that ED awesome

  8. Posted April 16, 2011 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    The first third or so had me utterly perplexed by the sheer volume of things going on. But after it settled, I was finally able to digest it bit by bit. And by the end, I decided that this was easily going to be one of my favorite shows this season. Even if it goes downhill from here, it’s definitely trying something different. Willy Wonka/Cheshire Cat hybrid not withstanding.
    I was also left kind of hoping that the car they used to travel to the Financial District would be a DeLorean, but I guess I can’t get every reference I want.

    I’ll admit, if my economics class was presented like this, I would’ve been far more interested.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘Trying something different’ is worth praising, but then I remember Star Driver also tried something different and my enthusiasm for originality drops just a little

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        As Yahtzee put it best, it’s better for something experimental to fail than for it to be content with mediocrity. Doesn’t excuse the flaws, but it’s a little encouraging to see people trying to break the mold.
        I can foresee [C] going downhill quickly, but my hopes are still high for it.

  9. Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I really liked the episode, but I didn’t love it. I think my problem was that my expectations were extremely high. C met all my expectations, but it didn’t blow them away, so I wasn’t impressed as I should have been.

    Argh, yes, Willy Wonka! I couldn’t for the life of me remember who Masakaki resembled, and it had been so obvious. Thank you! >.<

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      I love hype. Always have, so even if something is still good after the hype, I am unbelievably happy anyway. Sure, this wasn’t quite Eden levels, but so long as it impresses then my hype is justified.

  10. Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Pokemon Battles!

  11. anon
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    >but Mononoke really didn’t click with me and I dropped it after two epis­odes

    Respect –50

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Nooooo my elitist credentials are ruined!!!

  12. Laura
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    “Don’t you want to become a magical girl?”

    This made me laugh because Masakaki reminded me of QB–only more outrightly sinister–throughout the episode.

    The artwork does pale in comparison to others, but I found the first episode compelling enough to not actually fast forward through it. The premise is interesting and I want to see where it goes. I especially enjoyed Kimmaro’s relationship with money (or the lack of it).

    I just want to stop comparing ‘joining the Financial District’ to ‘becoming a mahou shoujo.’ It’s disturbing to think of Kimmaro as Madoka and the financial district as the alternate dimension where they go to fight witches.

    • Crazyapple
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Yeah Zombie pretty much filled the spot for male magical girls…

      Liked the series overall, yes characters were a bit bland but come on. %80 of anime are based on your “Everyday average high school boy”
      If everyone is trying for average then bland is exactly what the characters should be.

      Really liked the scene of Masakaki sitting on the couch and talking…from afar. Something about the way his mouth and face moved so much and bobbed about…that’s the stuff nightmares are made of.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        I think Star Driver beat zombie by 3 months to male magical girls. That’s old hat by now. The future is all about Willy Wonka enticing poor students into financial Yu-Gi-Oh battles

  13. Nebulous
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    “So what, you want the bor­ing old eco­nom­ics lec­tures like in Spice and Wolf, …. Or do you want eco­nom­ics explained via the medium of demon girls sum­mon­ing mon­sters with your bank bal­ance used as life points?”

    Spice and Wolf’s economics were not difficult to understand and the simple illustrations were placed nicely and used in ways that people could see the application to the world which they showed. I cannot make comment of whther C is able to use economics in such an excellent way as S&W did because so far we have been shown absolutely nothing. Can’t make judgement of which is better yet, so not so much of a no brainer to me.

    Metaphors are quite powerful literary devices and as we all know that with great power comes great responsibility. What does the 666 everywhere refer to? The Devil? So this is a religous anime eh? Or does it just refer to evil in general? What does the clown men? Is it a reference to the joke that is international monetary policy or a reference to the tricks and tools used by bankers to make money? Metaphors are junk unless you can have someone explain what it all means, otherwise frankly it is meaningless.

    Personally I like to wait for an anime to actually do something before I write about it unless it is junk in which I can just write it off immediately. C definitely finds itself as a member of the wait and see tribe, maybe soon it will give us something to acually talk about.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Meta­phors are junk unless you can have someone explain what it all means

      Soooo, you not a fan of Revolutionary Girl Utena I guess? Or FLCL?

      You make your own mind up what a metaphor means. That’s the difference between a metaphor and a simile. I mean, I do know what you’re getting at, but I disagree that they need to explain to us what it is. They just need to give us enough context to make our own minds up

    • Posted April 17, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      disagree wholeheartedly. if the author/creator has to get in somehow and explain what the whole metaphor is, then its purpose and inclusion is null and comes off as overly pedantic. metaphors should freely be interpreted by audiences however they wish. it’s an individual experience, after all. lit teachers who tell you otherwise need to go to hell and read some barthes.

  14. Posted April 17, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    interesting premise, though like you, i kept thinking of madoka and eden through the whole thing. if it’s supposed to be a metaphor for econ then im all for it and would like to see how it pans out.

    ahh maybe this is the proper dystopian anime i was looking for, not like stupid fractale -__- *hopes she doesnt eat her words later* D:

    • Scamp
      Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s not really a dystopian future at all. It’s a regular world where there also happens to be an alternate dimension with demon girls

      • Posted April 18, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        but in the description it says that the financial district controls the japanese economy and stuff even though the economy itself is still tanking–i guess on the ideology that the “free market” solves everything. kind of like an anti-ayn rand. in my book it’s on the dystopian side.

  15. lpfManiak
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    “Don’t you want to become a magical girl? Wait no sorry, I mean, do you have your Golden Ticket? Wait no, not that either. If you were given 10 bil­lion yen, how would you save Ja…wait dam­nit, not that either!”

    hahaha

  16. OHEMGEE
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Finally watched this. Real nice actually. I can;t wait to see where it goes~

  17. Jared
    Posted April 23, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    As of episode 2, I’m already tired of this.
    Also, whenever the show cuts to a reaction shot, I hear ざわ。。。ざわ。。。 in my head. Is that a bad thing?

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