Thursday, July 26, 2012

C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (Hold That Thought)

C: Official Site
C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is one of those rare titles that manages to keep you wide-eyed and wanting to watch the next episode no matter what, despite all it's flaws. There aren't that many flaws to speak of, but enough to notice and be irritated, or at least troubled by, and yet it still works.

According to the official website, "C" is short for "cash, capital, credit, and all other financial terms eginning with that letter", though as I'm no walking dictionary- though I have been called that in the past- much less a financial dictionary, no other appropriate word comes to mind, so I'll just have to take their word for it.

With that explained, you would probably have surmised that "C" is an anime about economics- something like the seminal anime Spice and Wolf (seminal mainly because so far it's the only anime on the subject that I know of). Never mind all that, because that conclusion isn't entirely right. "C" looks like it's prattling on about economics, but it really seems to be focused more on philosophy (which as we all know is shorthand for 'everything we can't agree on and in all likelihood never will').

Some basics, first: Yoga Kimimaro, a student of economics who dreams of a stable, simple life as a civil servant gets pulled into a parallel realm known as the 'Financial District', where 'Entres' (short for Entrepreneur) battle (known as 'Deals') among each using 'Assets', a representation of their 'future', which is held as collateral by whoever runs the Financial District for the 'privilege' of entrance to the Financial District and the use of 'Midas Money', the District's currency, which somehow manages to pass for real money back in our dimension.

That's a lot of quotation marks for one short paragraph. Even so, "C" doesn't give you much time to think about it- you simply spend too much time being shell-shocked. Take the battles, for example. The Entres order their Assets to use attacks called 'flations', these being divided into three levels: micro, mezzo, and macroflation, which you can safely assume to be different levels of inflation. Hit the pause button to google the terms, however, and you'll realise that they're made up.

Which of course, leaves the economics students all riled up (students only, mind- their lecturers probably don't watch C). Putting that aside, it's rather odd that inflation is used as a term for an attack, due to it's nature- inflation is basically a rise in prices which causes purchasing power (i.e. the value of your money) to drop. So the greater the inflation, the weaker your money... and your deus ex machina ultimate attack really isn't worth a penny.

Unless of course you say you're expending a great deal to complete a huge task- like buying a loaf of bread at a price of $128.45, there's a shortage of stocks, a famine, and the economy is tottering. It's as if you just scaled Everest. Of course, you won't have the time to think of all that, because you'd be watching the next episode. And don't even bother wondering how you can counter an Economic Blockade with an Overheated Economy (real terms).

As I've said earlier, this show's focus lies more towards philosophy than economics. Other reviewers have done it already- I've seen some blog posts saying Kimimaro is in an existentialist limbo, Hegel comes in for a drink, etc. Being no more than a superficial, scratch the surface when I get bored breed of philosopher, I'll just jump right to the most dramatic philosophical conflict [read this example if you have the time- I do not].

That being the one taking place between Kimimaro and the anti-hero Mikuni Souichirou, the guy who pretty much controls the Financial District despite being just another Entre. Without spoiling the fun, Mikuni aims to sacrifice the future in order to protect the present, while Kimimaro thinks (or at least comes to think so) that there's no point in protecting the present if there is no future.

This actually reminded me of one important philosophical conflict in another series, Code Geass: one villain aimed to live in the past (a very simplistic way of putting it) using eldritch technoloy, another planned on preserving the present using an omnipotent deterrent, both of which were denied by the protagonist who looked forward to the future.

Of course Code Geass wasn't as heavy with philosophical undertones as "C" is (in any case the Geass fandom is too busy arguing over whether the protagonist lived or died). There is one important difference, though. The protagonist in Geass who looked to the future actually had a road map to it- in Kimimaro's case, it's more like "I want it, I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'll do it anyway"- even with Doomsday lurking beneath the windowsill.

Events went his way, though. So perhaps he got lucky. Or perhaps not? The ending itself seemed definite enough, but pay attention, start thinking, and the seed of doubt within you grows into a tropical rainforest. On your chin. So you can enjoy plucking weeds one by one while trying to come to a satisfying conclusion, since no one seems able to agree on. Trust me, Leo DiCaprio's Inception has nothing on this short 11 episode anime. "C" definitely gets my award for 'most brain cells consumed'.

Oh, and economics students? Stick to Spice and Wolf. You'll find basic demand and supply to be much more comforting.

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