So, I reviewed the 11-episode [C]: Control- the Money of Soul and Possibility (2011) for this post. And, oh my goodness, what a hard anime to review. I gave it my best shot, hopefully these ramblings will make more sense than the anime…
What’s it about?
This is a very good question. The basic plot is this; Japan has been recently saved from financial ruin, but its citizens are still living a tough life. The main character, Kimimaro Yoga, just wants to get through life with a stable job to ensure his survival. However, after a chance meeting with a mysterious man, Kimimaro is sucked into the world of the Financial District; what appears to be an alternate world where most real-world business is done. To enter the world, individuals, called “entrepreneurs” or ‘”entres” give their future as “collateral”, gaining an “asset” in return, which will help them fight in the weekly duels that one has to compete in to remain in the world. Kimimaro soon realises the painful real-world consequences of the Financial District duels, and joins that Starling Guild, led by Souichirou Mikuni, that attempts to reduce these consequences.
I really liked everything associated with the Financial District in this anime. I liked the general style of the Financial District; the buildings and their decorations, the way that entres could use their cards to transition to their own private spaces, as well as the way assets could be seen by walking alongside floating picture frames (something that was inconsistent, but oh well). I really loved the assets; they all had a unique design and had interesting attacks (especially the terrifying thing that Q, Mikuni’s asset, does during battles). The battles between the assets are intense and quite brutal, making them quite watchable.
However, I think the major positive of this anime is that it is… interesting. It’s an interesting experimentation in anime, taking quite a unique turn. Its characterised by fast transitions between scenes, which results in abrupt changes in conversations, topics and characters. Although this takes a little bit to get used to, it gives the anime a fast pace, even if it is a little disjointed. The anime is also interesting in terms of the philosophical questions it poses; what’s the present without the future, and what’s the future without the present? The series also explores our dependence on money and the world economic system, and just how delicate they can be.
Whilst this anime is unique in terms of its ideas and the questions it explores, it severely lacked in the plot and character department. The plot was incredibly confusing, with a lot crammed into the eleven episodes. As a result, what were suppose to be twists in the plot did not have much of an effect, only serving to make everything more confusing, and certain sub-plots were abandoned part-way through. The whole thing is all-over the place. In terms of characters, a couple, but certainly not all, are very bland. This is particularly true of the main character, Kimimaro. If the writers had cut a couple of sub-plots out and focused solely on the crisis in the Financial District and Kimimaro’s experience in it, the anime would be a lot more enjoyable, make a lot more sense, and would make the conclusion and the over-all philosophical exploration in the anime much more meaningful. Ah, if only!
Art: 7/10: The art is generally good, and the Financial District is fantastic.
Story: 7/10: The main reason the story gets such a high score is because of the ideas in it- apart from that, it’s confusing as hell, but still manages a good conclusion.
Characters: 6/10: Most of them are pretty bland, but one or two are quite interesting.
Did I enjoy this anime? I’m not too sure. I definitely enjoyed aspects of it and I found it very interesting. Perhaps I’d be able to answer better if I had been able to follow the plot (was I lacking in my knowledge of economics?). Would I recommend this anime? Yes. Despite its many short-comings, I think this anime is worth a watch because of its unique style and the philosophically-based questions it poses to the audience. This is the type of anime you have to watch and judge for yourself- I’d love to know what you think. Overall, I give it a 7/10- not a high score for me, but still highly recommended.