21 CommentsC The Money of Soul and Possibility Control / By Scamp /

[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control episode 4

How to use CGI for good: Giant golden floating visual representations of Japan’s collective wealth.

How to not use CGI: Cost cutting techniques when your characters are flying on a sofa through space. Or dragons.

Congratulations to the clever clogs from last episode’s comment section who correctly predicted the twist from this episode. Reality changes when someone goes bankrupt in the financial district. What happened because of their involvement in the financial district is no longer true and we get reverted to what life otherwise would have been like. Well, worse, because they’ve gambled away their future and what chance they had for this to happen. Now they’re left in the new world with only the memories of those with Financial District cards to remind them of what once was. Back when I read that comment, I thought it was a pretty cool answer to what on earth the show meant when it talked about the abstract notion of ones future. I still think it’s a fantastic twist to the show, but it had never dawned on me how utterly depressing bankruptcy in the financial district can be. Committing suicide, as heartless as this sounds, is awfully vague. Destroying the existence of your children, on the other hand, holds a bit more impact.

I believe it was the master Greek story-tellers of old, that created pretty much every single known story telling trope that ever existed, that said the greatest tragedy is the unwilling murdering of your own family. It’s the story of our good man Hercules. Mind you, Hercules just killed his wife and kids, not cause them to never exist and have to live as the one person who knows that they ever existed and that it was entirely his own fault that things have turned out this way and is now sterile as a result. I originally thought watching this episode that they had fucked up the big revelation that his teacher was in the financial district. In retrospect, that would have been a pretty lame twist to base an episode around. Instead, the episode held the disappearing kids and directed itself  into my gut with such precision that I felt physical pain. That scene hurt, but was delivered without jamming it down our throats and letting us feel the emotion instead of the characters on screen doing all the crying for us. I felt far more sympathy for the blobby, Dr.Seass characters from Kaiba than anyone in Clannad for that exact reason.

The question now is ‘why hasn’t anime fandom grabbed their pitchforks and risen up in collective raise over Masakaki like they did for Kyubey’? Well, the boring answer is because more people cared about Madoka Magica than a mono alphabetic character’d titled cartoon with awkward CGI. Also because people feel more sympathy for cute girls with square heads than middle aged men. Which certainly isn’t the case for me. Nothing generates more sympathy from me than a man in his late 50’s working in a convenience store, admitting that he will probably never find another women interested in him. But at least Kyubey gives the girls a friggen choice! Masakaki just hopes in out of nowhere and forces them into the financial district where there is no way to win. You can’t say “well, I’ve won enough money now, time to retire”. Nope, you’re forced into Deals and will keep taking part in them until you’re bankrupt and forced out, where all you worked for promptly disappears and you’re now sterile. It’s fucking  frightening, if you don’t mind me saying, so bravo to C for pulling that.

Right, enough praising C, time for the more fun part: Criticising it. More specifically, criticising the stupid fight scenes. There are 3 kinds of fight scenes in the anime world. I separate them into “like Break Blade”, “like Revolutionary Girl Utena” and “like Gundam Seed”. Break Blade fight scenes are ones in which there are Tactics. We can clearly see the moves and the results of each move. We can see the laws of the fight in place and make sense of events. The Revolutionary Girl Utena fights are the ones where the actual tactics are non-existent, but the moves in the fight are representing something else. The character falling down represents their fear, them beating the opponent represents a greater will, and other fan more complicated stuff than that. Then there’s the Gundam Seed fights, where you flash pretty colours across the screen for 10 minutes and then proclaim one of them the winner at the end.

“Ah”, I hear you say. “Isn’t [C] doing the Utena styled fights? You know, these are all representations of Economics and stuff”. No, Iwould retort, having a disembodied voice call out economic lingo during these flashy colours does not count. They’re certainly going for that, but very few instances in the fight have correlation to anything else. OK, when Mikuni buys stock, Kimimaro gets more powerful and can stand up again, representing how people buy stock provides capital to move your business to bigger and better places. But what does the rest of the fight mean? What the hell does the whole scene with the demon girl glowing red and the moth girl being born from the goat butlers chest got to do with anything? It’s just a bunch of pretty colours to look at to distract us from the lack of actual content. If after the disembodied voice declared OPEN DEAL, the two of them took out a calculator each and pushed various buttons on them repeatedly until one of them fell over, it would have had the same effect. They’re just making these battles up as they go along.

Littlekuriboh reference FTW. Also this was the first time I heard Thesis of a Cruel Angel. I am a failure as an otaku.

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  1. luffyluffy
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    *Bad Tiger & Bunny CGI joke*

    This seasons has a lot of shows with bad CGI.

    Also, go blog Tiger & Bunny

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Best icon ever.
      And I agree. Tiger & Bunny is so much fun to watch.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      There was a flying CGI couch in Tiger and Bunny?

  2. Posted May 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    At first, C struck me as GENERIC GENERIC GENERIC but with a money theme and a cute demon girl, so I gave it a go. After this last episode I’m liking how going bankrupt has real consequences.

    I agree in that silly fight scenes are silly and unnecessary. It could probably be just as exciting if they were on a stock floor shouting things at each other with their assets floating around looking pretty.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      How can Yu-Gi-Oh crossed with Kaiji with a side helping of Spice and Wolf be considered generic?

  3. plasma991
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I see you mention two contenders for a “Evilest Villain of the Year” competition. :3
    I wonder how many other bad guys and characters we love to loathe there will be this year (or limit to just this season).

    • Scamp
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Kyubey > Masakaki by quite a considerable distance. I could go on all day about what makes him a great villain, but I’m kinda tired of writing about Madoka

  4. mcm38
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Well, fighting scenes are there for ppl who don’t know anything about economics. Otherwise it would be boring to watch ppl only talking, buying, trading and selling assests, stocks ……

    • Scamp
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      *cough* Spice and Wolf *cough*

  5. Posted May 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    LOL agreed worst CGI dragon ever!

    Good stuff this week at least the plot is moving even if it’s a bit slow..

  6. fury261
    Posted May 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    I think its too early to tell if the deal fights are meaningless yet. Just as we could only speculate what impact the financial district had on the world, assets might hold weight for the person using them. what makes Yogas asset have so much more powerful attacks than others that makes Mikuni want to invest in him? Yoga is starting to focus on his deal battles now so hopefully they will provide more insight into the real purpose of assets are because it seems like your actual asset doesnt have to fight for you…

  7. Anonymous
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    C doesn’t have that bad CGI, same with Tiger & Bunny. Hell, that dragon isn’t even that completely horrible. If you want bad CGI in anime, there can be only one. Golgo 13’s helicopter.

    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      That is the best looking helicopter I have ever seen

  8. Thrashy
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    If Spice and Wolf was the anime of traditional economics, perhaps C is the anime of the modern global economy: confusing, artificial, irrational, inhumane, and doomed to end in a catastrophic collapse that leaves all the bystanders and bit players with nothing but despair while the bank walks away with their ill-gotten gains, cackling.

  9. Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Very well done episode. You’re right about the Madoka Magica comparison. Another thing you might want to take into account is that some people watching C probably believe that Masakaki is just a ghost or program instigated by whatever rules the Financial District. He may only be the messenger. Kyuubey was the one who stalked the girls AND *SPOILER WARNING* took their souls. I’d say Kyuubey was a little more directly involved.

  10. romulus
    Posted May 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    My most serious WTF here. You have already written a comparison review about Infinite Ryvius/Neon Genesis Evangelion, how the hell did you manage to watch Evangelion without listening to the opening at least once? (If you hear it at least once, you remember it for sure.) I could use that trick with many sh*tty music tainting otherwise good animes.

    • Scamp
      Posted May 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I watched littlekuriboh before Evangelion

  11. Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    dont worry, i skipped the OP sequence for evangelion in each ep as well <3 (as i do for 90% of the anime i watch) also i didnt remember that the song came from eva until that YGOTAS ep as well. i knew that song sounded familiar before.

    i think masakaki doesnt make as much of an impact as kyubey because masakaki isn't a motivated character as kyubey is. kyubey makes contracts with little girls because he needs it to help entropy or whatever the hell it was. masakaki forces people into the financial district just because that's what he does. he's like an NPC from a video game that solely exist to show you the rules and make sure you get from point a to b.

    boring fights are booorrinnnnggg. personally i'm more of the fan of the gundam battles with huge explosions and lots of action and debris flying everywhere. the big negative is that there isn't too much going on on the screen and only calling out attacks with vague references to rl stuff. at least sailor moon had entire visual sequences each time an attack was called. i think it would be much more engaging if C had just taken the mecha route and given kimimaro a kickass gundam-esque machine to pilot and battle other mecha. then again im biased so ;x

  12. Posted May 11, 2011 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    This episode really did well in establishing the stakes of the battles. Yeah, they’re boring, but the idea of having one’s life altered by losing helps to somewhat maintain interest.
    I also think that Souichirou definitely has ulterior motives with trying to negate the impact of the Financial District on the real world, but I’ll have to wait and see.

  13. Posted May 12, 2011 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Not going to say anything about C because I pretty much agree with you (hmm… *shudder*), without being quite as enthusiastic, but I will say that F/SN giant CG dragon video is awesome. They’ve somehow managed to take one of anime’s most embarrassing scenes, and turned it into something amazing. The power of Guile’s Theme…

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