Posted on 24 June 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control




I’ll start off this review with a ranking of Kenji Nakamura’s series so far:
4. Kuchuu Buranko
3. C
2. Mononoke
1. Bake Neko

This guy is an excellent director who comes out every two years or so with new and interesting concepts, that are especially well directed, with bright and colourful graphics and interesting messages that other anime wouldn’t bother with. He has gotten to direct more different series than any other director so far. Even when he’s flawed, his series are just plain interesting. With C, we have his first series that follows a full storyline, rather than just a collection of short stories.

Now, C is an interesting thriller. Like Eden of the East, it focuses on social commentary, but this time it takes a look at the financial crisis. The best way to characterize this show is as “interesting”: the world it created is very original, the people that the main character meets throughout the series all have their own stories to tell to flesh out this setting, the battles and action scenes are really well directed: all of this is really interesting to watch, despite some major flaws.

Because yes, unfortunately this show is of the kind that tries to stuff way too much in way too little. This show is rushed as hell, which leads to problems that it can’t fully explain its setting, or that it can’t take the time to quietly flesh out its cast. A lot of plot twist happen completely out of nowhere because this series didn’t have time to build them up, because it was focusing on more important parts. But for a rushed series though: it held itself up really well.

This of course all depends on how easily your suspense of disbelief can be broken, but the pacing and scenario of this series continue to prevent this show from getting boring at all. Whenever this show is glossing over a detail, it’s doing so because it’s focusing on something else. The music in this series is really, really good, and the action scenes consistently belonged to the most creative and vivid of the entire season. Beyond that, it knows what parts it’s building up to and because of that it’s able to close off with a excellent finale that gives a satisfying conclusion by bringing the bits and pieces that it did manage to build up through its run together.

Now, C does not have the best acting here. It’s because of this that the characters take a bit of a time to get used to. The animation is unfortunately not the most detailed, and the entire series is full of distorted faces. The characters range from nothing special to actually quite interesting, but a big problem is that the main character belongs in the former category for a large part of the series. There are enough good characters to make up for that, though.

C has ambition and knows how to use it well. That’s the kind of series that I really like. This is the kind of series that would have been even better if it had more episodes to work with, but it prevented itself wonderfully from just driving into a wall. Instead this is a runaway truck who somehow manages to emerge still running at full speed despite having hit various things alongside its rampage.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Excellent scenario, and while the pacing might make you think that it’s going to turn into a trainwreck, it never does and only gets more dynamic and exciting.
Characters: 8/10 – Varied, from interesting to a bit of a boring main character.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Gorgeous art, though too many distorted faces and out of place CG.
Setting: 9/10 – Very creative backstory, interesting developments and while this obviously isn’t meant as an analysis of the financial crisis, it’s still very interesting in what it does with its setting. It leaves many things unanswered, but not enough to break suspense of disbelief.

Suggestions:
Eden of the East
Kuchuu Buranko

14 Responses

  1. Anonomyous says:

    It totally failed on the social commentary part because it never actually looked at it other than a few allusions of less children and rising unemployment in japan.

    There are times when you have to realise that its not because its rushed, its because the writer never had the show down before they did the series and decided to do the script on a week by week “what comes to mind” style.

    Compare and contrast Madoka whose writer already had the ending and the entire series written before they started work on the anime.

    The problem and result is the same as Fractale who would also be using the same excuse of being “rushed”.

  2. Lazy says:

    Kinda hard to bash Tatsunoko for their production values after what happened.
    I hope you will at least give a look to the BD to give them a second chance.
    Other than that I agree with you.

    Also lol’d at the comment above me who failed to realise that the ending was already foreshadowed in the ED, i.e. since episode 1.

  3. Mira says:

    It really confuses me as to why people are so hard on [C]. And I’m especially hard on every series I watch but the criticisms on [C] are harsh and sometimes, out of line.

    Anyway, I agree with your score and review. It’s by no means a classic but I find it hard to believe that this is the trainwreck many people are claiming it to be. I just– wow.

    There were a lot of interesting ideas and even at the end, we’re still given a lot of things to ponder on.

    And Lazy, yes– the first comment is pretty funny. The ending has been planned all along. This wasn’t rushed in a sense of OH WHAT DO WE WRITE NOW, more like rushed because of the tight budget and maybe someone told Nakamura that the show was going to be a 26 episode series for April Fools. Hurhur.

  4. Anonomyous says:

    I lol’ed at the above comment who failed to realise that you can stick meanings onto anything in hindsight, just like how the ending of Madoka foreshaowed the finale (funny no one got the finale correct with all that “foreshadowing”)

    :)

  5. @ mira, out of line…? go fuck your self, its called an opinion, no one has to make an opinion that YOU have to like,

  6. fedek says:

    Lol i liked more C than madoka, more shonen and less pretentious.

    and if you do not understand the meaning behind economics references, read about the ancient greek economy.

    C has no plotholes, in terms of economy, as many people said

  7. Mira says:

    @Carbuncle: Resorting to petty insults, are we? You go on about opinions but you personally insult me over an opinion you don’t like. Okay. Wow.

  8. Anonomyous says:

    @fedek
    No plotholes eh? So tell me, what happens when i) you print money
    ii) your currency crashes
    iii) You use another country’s currency as your own.

    Even those who have done economics 101 can see the glaring problems all of these cause, which apparently doesn’t happen in the world of C

  9. jreding says:

    Imo [C] has one redeeming feature and that is Msyu who has been one of the most attractive characters of this season.

  10. jreding says:

    Imo [C] has one redeeming feature and that is Msyu who has been one of the most attractive characters of this season.

  11. Hogart says:

    I agree with your score. The worst you can say about C is that it didn’t try to be what people wanted, which is apparently a documentary on global economics. Instead, it was a more entertaining, mature and fun version of card-battle shounen like YuGiOh, complete with all the usual plotholes and cheese.

    It bit off a bit more than it could chew, yes, but at least it debated some fun issues without just making them “black and white” or turning it into “good vs evil”. The allegory about “trading away your future” was done surprisingly tastefully for a shounen, and the “card battle” aspect was handled well too, used only for quick spectacles and character-development plot points.

    It’s been a while since I overtly enjoyed a shounen this much. C was fun, like a good summer movie, just not entirely mindless. Nice soundtrack, too. But I guess it needed more wham moments and yuri overtones to be a truly popular anime, though.

  12. Whisperer says:

    totally enjoyed both this and Kuuchuu Buranko, planning on seeing Bake Neko next. Guess I’m becoming a Nakamura fanboy.

    Yes, the last 3 episodes of [C] were rushed as hell, and there were some REALLY stupid, childish things in it. It seems to me like the creators also lifted elements of game theory, multiagent systems and economy straight from the books. But it really was original, nonetheless, even if after the first episode I found myself saying “What the hell am I watching?”
    To me, the best episodes, those who really got me hooked, were the build-up ones (4-7). I rather liked Kimimaro as a protagonist (not so much his sudden power growth, though) because I’m sick and tired of those pro-active main characters you see everywhere.
    This anime was overflowing with style, had a great OST, great OP and ED sequences and some of the best character designs I’ve ever seen (yes, Msyu). Also, I will remember the mid-part for a long time, as it had some amazing build-up and direction and the “selling your future” message really resonates with the political and economical situation in my country. Alongside Durarara!!, this is a flawed gem for me.

  13. info600 says:

    What’s surprising in this series for me was the creators forced the viewers to actually think of the consequences resulted from all of the characters’ actions. definitely worth watching it again just to understand it all.

  14. pseudotim says:

    Well that was certainly interesting. I came into C expecting the worst, and I have to say that it wasn’t nearly as bad as some commenters and reviewers make it out to be. Not fantastic, but then Noitamina *is* the place great anime concepts go to die lately, so I think it held together pretty well.

    My thanks to those here and elsewhere who mentioned it worked better as a shounen series than a seinen, that really helped set my expectations. Especially once the silly card battles began. Shame they didn’t have the budget to do those justice.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 03:27 PM)
    Ghibi’s up would certainly be a different beast altogether.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 03:08 PM)
    @Ken no, the ghibli one.
  • Kenjeran
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 01:55 PM)
    @Juno: Up? That Disney-Pixar one?
  • Noel
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 01:39 PM)
    Hi there. I’m currently interning for a small company in London, and they tasked me with creating a video tribute to Howl’s Moving Castle. I came up with this, and I thought you might like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS-zTTQzgjI Noel
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:23 PM)
    The only time they ever get along seems to be during non-canon alternate universes made for fanservice, official or not.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:21 PM)
    Erm, no. They didn’t “get along” so much as Sayaka at least sympathized nicely with her. At least, until the end, when she basically swore never to sympathize with her again. XDDD
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:20 PM)
    Another interesting point is that the character relations are pretty fluid, too. Characters can act differently toward each other in different timelines/potential futures. Rebellion actually solidifies Homura’s consistent feelings toward Mami and also that Sayaka just cannot seem to be on good terms with Homura… but even then, for a while, they got along pretty well until the end. XD
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 12:17 PM)
    Madoka’s characterization seems pretty non-linear and only show up when necessary, so it’s definitely easy to see that they’re “dependent on the plot,” but there’s a ton of stuff there to piece the characters together into something coherent and solid.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:55 AM)
    Madoka’s characters act pretty confusingly? I never got that. I always felt there actions were pretty logical in the first viewing.
    Though a second viewing of anything can help. Mostly because you know the main story so you can focus on the little details.
  • Juno
    (Thursday, Apr 24. 2014 11:27 AM)
    If anyone wants me to ask any specific questions, let me know. Funny enough, people are saying the same thing I’ve been saying for a long time–that multiple viewings help us understand the characters better. Because a lot of characters DO act pretty confusing at first, but upon a second viewing, after we know more about them, those actions make complete sense. Meaning that Madoka’s characterization is not linear.

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