Since all C -The Money of Soul and Possibility Control episodes start with alphabet c, I decide to compile three c-words in the title of this review. As a matter of fact, cash, credit and craziness pretty much sums up the entire anime, in case you wonder. A 11 episode anime, C aired from April to June, 2011. At least on the official website for the anime, it is claimed that it deals with a mighty interesting topic: finance, which is a discipline sounding like totally mysterious or full of bull-waste to the general population. Just kidding here, no disrespect intended.
I have seen certain reviews lashing on this anime, criticizing its shaky setting, underdeveloped characters, and failure to make a coherent theory behind the main plot. Personally I feel none of these criticisms is true if one could get over C‘s flawed story telling. Yes, the entire anime is indeed a little ill-structured and awkwardly-paced, but it’s worldview seems to be perfectly complete and understandable to me…
To explain in short, Midas Bank is a super-natural (not necessarily evil as some review suggests) entity that could directly (and instantly) trade future with its own cash (which will show up as the currency of any country and indistinguishable by ordinary people). This idea may seem strange and even evil, but it is practically what “finance” means. Finance, essentially, is using leverage to gain a profit, and leverage is built on promises (credit) on certain future outcome, which is roughly equivalent to “the future”. This is also the reason why that in finance, one dollar today is always more valuable than one dollar tomorrow, since the possibility/opportunity hidden in the flow of time, in other words “future”, is attached to the former but not the latter. Of course, in real life we can never instantly redeem (or bankrupt) certain future, since the present can never instantly change into another form like in the anime. If you are a little confused about what “redeem” means here, consider the scene in C when Singapore disappears (along with the bloody STI, hooray to that) and skyscrapers in Hong Kong and Shanghai are “cut” in half. By this point the worldview of C stands quite well, maybe for the exception of the seemingly meaningless and anti-productive “battles” between small-time “entrepreneurs” (which is described by a reviewer as “pocket-monster like”, I totally agree).
What is left unclear though, is how the collapse was triggered. The anime suggests that it is about the same as a real-life financial/economic crisis except all changes come at once and the “present” (or future of the past) supported by Midas currency shall be altered into a poorer reality as if the wealth and assets in question (including even entire countries) has never existed. Fortunately, most people (those outside of the “financial district” kinnyu kai) are not aware of what’s happening around them, even as they just vanish into the air. Does that mean before S&P’s U.S. downgrading in late July, I was living in a million dollar penthouse with a dozen hot chicks? Hmmm… I wonder.
What is regrettable is that C fails at properly explain the links between key concepts in the anime including future, credit and Midas currency, so it is all too normal people feel confused. Another point that might be confusing is that the anime does not give a final judgment on the conflicting views of Yoga and Soichiro regarding the importance of present and future. Both are reasonable from their own point of view, which is the way it should be… Yoga’s final victory is more due to strength than righteousness.
The animation and illustration of C is solid in general, despite the unnecessary art-deco environment and huge mono-color zones inside the “financial district”, which definitely look boring at times. The “battle” scenes are not satisfying either, especially with those Quake III style voice shouting “Open Deal!” or even worse “Pacman Defense!”. Most battles are sketchy without clear depiction of what’s happening, and almost devoid of ANY connection with finance. In the final battle, Q’s “economic blockade” vs. MSYU’s killer move “economic overheat” is so wildly off topic it is almost embarrassing. Maybe the writer considers moves in the likes of “hedging!” or “malicious acquisition!” too weak and unimpressive. Unfortunately, “economic overheat” is simply too out of place in the context of a “fantasy financial battle”. This also makes me wonder if the makers of C has a little more dedication to bring in financial terms and concepts, it might become a good educational anime on the field…
I am very amused by the character MSYU, who is a piece of “asset” (defined as the objectified future of the holder). Through the years following anime I have seen many cases of crazy anthropomorphism involving train, fighter jets, buildings, cities and even countries. Still, “asset” goes a little too far. Since we are already here, why not make a moe character out of “liability”? And actually stock equities might be an even better idea since you can pour water over her to gain some “liquidity”. Sounds like an anime to me, despite a bad one.
Though never reached high ranking on Oricon, the ed song “RPG” is the kind you wanna have in mp3 player. At least under certain moods (when you are day-dreaming about making tons of money let’s say) it is a good listen. The op of C is actually quite interesting to watch, with artistic rendering of several major denominations showing up. So why is Yen about construction while USD is symbolized by B-52s dropping bombs and soldiers with M-16s? Well this is a big mystery, so good luck taking your guess.