"[C]: Control- The Money and Soul of Possibility" Episodes 1-7: Worth Every Penny
Kimimaro Yoga is a broke college student, working various jobs day and night in order to survive. He lives on his own and doesn’t really have any time for his friends. Despite this not-so-ideal life, Kimimaro isn’t the type to let money consume his life. Unfortunately for Kimimaro, he ends up not having much of a say regarding money, being invited to a parallel universe known as the Financial District to become an Entre. Being an Entre in the Financial District means participating in 666 second battles (called Deals) with other Entres; the Entre with the most money left at the end is declared the winner. The Entres use objects/beings known as ‘Assets’ in order to fight. Assets take various forms, including the humanoid, animal-like, and stranger shapes. They possess attack abilities that can be accessed through paying a certain amount of money, and the more an individual spends on an attack the more damage it will do. Winning battles means staying in the Financial District and having a lot of money in the real world; losing means being kicked out of the Financial District. The catch—because there is always a catch when dealing with money—is that when an individual enters the Financial District he or she is wagering his or her future.
And on that ambiguous note is where the plot in [C]: Control- The Money and Soul of Possibility right now centers. Being brand new to the Financial District, Kimimaro (and the viewer) has no idea what it means to wager your future. Kimimaro learns the hard way that every Deal in the Financial District has some sort of impact on the real world for the loser. The degree of the impact varies. It can range from failing a test to a loved one becoming sick. Losing all of your money, however, has the worst effects—one man’s children disappear when he lost all of his money in the Financial District. This horrific detail of the Financial District adds a necessary layer to the story that makes it more than just about fighting for money and being greedy. These aren’t just kid games; there are real stakes and winning means being the one responsible for someone else’s loss. The overall influence the Financial District has on the real world is (at this moment in the series) also unclear, with the money of the District (known as Midas) flowing into the real world, most notably through a man named Souichirou Mikuni. Mikuni is the most powerful Entre in the Financial District and runs a guild known as the Starling Guild. He invents a system of defeating an opponent by a minimal amount to only have a small effect on the real world.
This level of ambiguity works well for [C]. It makes the viewer want to know how the Financial District was established, who in it is actually good, whether or not the Midas money will have an impact on the real world, and many other questions. Of course, this also means that [C] has to do a fairly decent job in answering these questions to be satisfying. Still, I wouldn’t expect any direct answers, and perhaps it would be best to say that knowing every little detail would probably ruin the allure of the Financial District. The downside of the plot thus far is that there really is not an obvious plot (yet). With such a detailed system within the show [C] really needed to take its time and establish the grounds for the Financial District if anything afterwards was going to make sense. But the lack of true plot does not take away from the series at this point; it builds anticipation. Now that the viewer (and Kimimaro) is beginning to understand [C] the show can move on to bigger and better storylines.
Kimimaro has been a fairly interesting protagonist in these first seven episodes. Unlike most of the people in the District, it seems, he really does not have a huge interest in having a lot of money. He has always been content working to make his money, so it only seems natural that he would never let it consume his character. He can be slightly obnoxious, though, being wishy-washy with his feelings regarding the District and whether or not he wants to participate. It is an understandable feeling, especially when he becomes responsible for a man losing his children, but from a viewer standpoint it can come off as whiny at times. There is nothing Kimimaro can do about his situation, so he should try and just accept his fate and fight. Fortunately he seems to be taking this stance, most notably in episode six when he decides he wants to fight because he cares about the future. The other downside to his character is that he sort of just gets lucky in majority of his deals, especially since Mashu (his Asset) is rather powerful. As he is both a newbie and the protagonist, I suppose this is forgivable at the beginning of a series. In general though, Kimimaro (and Mashu) provide a nice contrast to the typical money-hungry members of the Financial District. That his struggle to understand the ‘future’ that has been taken away from him is pretty intriguing and makes him stand out from everyone else. It is also really nice that he does not see Assets as objects, but rather living things that should be treated as such.
Speaking of Mashu, she is kind of awesome. Taking the form of a girl with horns, she is really competent in battles, even when having to constantly defend Kimimaro and attack at the same time. In terms of Assets, she is a bit quirky, having full conversations with Kimimaro and even eating ramen when Assets don’t need to eat. However, like most of the Financial District we still do not know that much about Assets and whether or not anything happens to them if their Entre loses. They are said to embody the Entre’s future, but what that means is unclear. Mashu will do anything she has to in order to protect Kimimaro, even shielding his body with her own and taking a lot of damage. Though she can easily heal afterwards it is still very horrifying to watch her body get torn apart/injured during some of the Deals. Episode seven gives a little more insight to her character and how she feels in regards to being paired with Kimimaro. It ends up coming off as very cute, with her starting to understand his feelings about the District and even asking if they can try kissing (not knowing what it means). At first I thought a romance between the two would be a little too convenient and odd, but at this point I wouldn’t mind if the two developed genuine feelings for one another.
Then there is Mikuni. He has a keen interest in Kimimaro and wants him to join the Starling guild—people attempting to take control of the Financial District. He is a powerful man inside and outside of the District, and seems to mean well. I’m not going to be shocked though if it turns out his real intentions aren’t so clean. There are still a lot of shady areas about his past and character, but episode seven details an account of his past and how he came to the Financial District. He comes off as calm and cool in the present storyline but really the guy has some deep emotional issues rooted within. It even invites the question of whether or not he is controlling the Financial District for the genuine good of the people or to make up for what he couldn’t do in the past. [C] is basically setting itself up for a very intense conflict between Mikuni and Kimimaro down the line. In order for that conflict to have any depth the emotions have to be built up throughout, something [C] is already doing quite well. The fun in watching this show is seeing how everything plays out, especially as we learn about the different rules, Entres, and futures that are at stake within [C].
The battles in [C]: Control have been hit or miss. Being a newbie, Kimimaro started out just running away and letting Mashu do all of the work. Now that he is beginning to understand battle tactics, and how to control the outcome of a Deal he is starting to get better with his methods. Mikuni’s Deals are usually the best, featuring two high level users going at it with one another with various elaborate attacks. As the show continues and Kimimaro advances more and more, it should be expected that his Deals will be more intense like Mikuni’s. Of course, the inevitable battle between the two will be all kinds of awesome.
All in all, I am thoroughly impressed by [C]. There has been a lot of build up, but it is necessary build up. While it could have gotten boring, it has been supplemented by the rich world of the Financial District and the different Deals, Assets, and individuals inside of it. That being said, this build up has left a lot of high expectations, expectations that will hopefully be met. I’m not all that worried though, and [C]: Control- The Money and Soul of Possibility is shaping up to be one of Noitamina’s best.