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

Posted on with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



And with this, Kenji Nakamura shows that he can direct a climax. heck, I’ll go out on a limb here and claim that this was his best episode since Bake Neko. This episode…. I have seen too many unbalanced series up till now, so I really didn’t think that this show would be able to do it. This show was ambitious; there’s no doubt that it would have been even better had it had 24 episodes. Many shows preceded it: Fractale, Kuragehime, Eden of the East, Toshokan Sensou, Moyashimon, and Jyu Oh Sei: all didn’t seem to understand that they only had 11 or 12 episodes. And yet this show knows its limitations and tries to make a rushed, yet exciting and interesting compromise.

This ending left stuff unexplained, but it did give the key questions a satisfying answer. I especially like how this was resolved: in the end the financial district collapsed because the yen it was based on collapsed. It wasn’t even Kimimaro who ended up solving everything: it was the golden teeth guy who brought it down. Apparently that would also cause the world to reset itself. Mikuni probably didn’t chose this option because he was afraid to lose both his sister and his money. He kept clinging to the present, which is why he was able to so easily sell off his future.

Oh, and that fight. That fight between Kimimaro and Mikuni was absolutely wonderful. The animation and direction made it into an epic ending, the type that I stopped hoping for because there are just too many shows who promise this, and end up too mundane. This was bold, daring and excellent to watch. This is really what I’m looking for in action scenes.

Thinking back, Kenji Nakamura has always had a knack for endings, but it still came as a surprise as to how good this episode was. It was obviously rushed, but it didn’t break my suspense of disbelief. Of course series that are completely logical and explained are wonderful too, (and again, C would have been even better if it got the chance to explain all these things), but the kinds of shows that test the boundaries of suspense of disbelief, yet never actually cross them are awesome too. Although with those shows you really delve into “your mileage may vary’-territory, since everyone has a different suspense of disbelief.

As the final twist, I really liked that in terms of the big picture… nothing really ended up being solved. In the new world, there just was another Financial district lending out Midas Money. Kimimaru&co didn’t really change anything, they just prevented one guy from destroying countless futures.

Overall, if this wasn’t Noitamina and gotten its length doubled, it could have been better than even the likes of Madoka Magica. Unlike most rushed series though: this series rocked. It had its problems, it didn’t have the best acting, but it had more than enough to make up for it.

As for the next Noitamina: Summer will have two adaptations, while Autumn will have two original series. With that, the writers are really going to have to pay attention to make everything fit, and end at the right moment. For examples of how to do this right: Sarai-ya Goyou, Genji Monogatari and Hourou Musuko. As for Usagi Drop, the guy behind the series composition will be a complete mystery, so we can’t say anything about that, yet. As for No6′s Seishi Minakami: he’s more of a really, really good writer than a good pacer: some of the shows he wrote and adapted are perfectly paced and fit really well in their time, while other are either too long or too short, with the biggest offender being Shigurui, who just ended. If the story itself is any good though, he is the guy who can make it even better and that’s why I’m looking forward to it. But yeah, I am not going to expect the endings for the upcoming Noitamina series to be as good as the two we got to see with C and Anohana.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 17 June 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



Yup, the ending is going to be really important for this one: how will this get solved? That’s the big question. That will be the biggest factor in whether this show will leave a bad taste or not. The thing is that Mikuni is not one of those stereotypical villains who are evil for the sake of being evil: he made the decision to drastically alter the country and tighten the grip of the Midas Money on Japan, because the alternative would be even worse. What can Kimimaro and the information broker offer to prevent bankruptcy?

If it hits the right marks however, then this will end up as a really good series. The interesting thing with C is that we were all obviously expecting the same directional style as with Mononoke and Kuchuu Buranko, and yet it was very different. And yet, the direction in this episode was once again really good. The use of music got even better than it already was, it kept changing and keeping things dynamic while at the same time keeping things together and developing its plot in one direction. This climax so far has been rushed, but not random, and yet it was packed with neat ideas worthy of a climax, rather than just let everything devolve into just “more power!” like anime often pull this.

I am still surprised that this show hasn’t self-destructed yet, though. Lately, I’ve gotten very sceptical of series that try to stuff too much in too little. Especially adaptations suffer from this (Togainu no Chi, Yumekui Merry, Kuragehime, Sengoku Basara, Durarara), but also original stories like Fractale and Sora no Oto tripped up pretty badly in their final stretch. Interestingly, the cause of this seems to generally be half-assed pacing: the shows misuse their time, plowing on slowly and forgetting to build up vital plot points, or suddenly force a huge increase of pacing when they suddenly realize that they need to end on something epic, ending up with too little time to actually pull that off. C doesn’t have that, or so far at least.

It will depend on the next episode to see whether the creators really knew what they were doing, but so far I can see the layout of this series: first it took its time to flesh out the world with its random cases, showing a different part of is concept with every episode, while it actually started in time gaining momentum for its finale.

I mean, this show has still flaws: there’s a lot of stuff that came out of bloody nowhere, and that lack of ability to explain this stuff is unfortunate due to the short length. That black card in particular came out of nowhere and while it’s understandable that that clown would have some sort of trick like that, it would have been nice to have seen that announced beforehand. This episode also again has Kimimaro winning against all odds and I’m still not sure how he exactly did it. This was a flaw that had it coming from the beginning, and unfortunately wasn’t avoid. But those action scenes looked damn cool though.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 June 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



Yeah, this was rushed, but then again, it already was clear that C was too ambitious for Noitamina. At the very least though, it hasn’t followed the same path as Eden of the East: this series has not slowed down, and instead of skipping things, it’s trying to do as much as possible in the time it has remaining.

But heck, this show is rushed, but at the very least it’s still able to get its messages across. That for me puts it ahead of shows like Eden of the East which too was ambitious but just got its entire pacing wrong when trying to fit its story in its limited time, and Kuragehime which just gave up at the final episode.

But I have to praise everything around Mikuni in this episode: this episode showed him sacrificing the country’s future (read: children) in order to catch the shock-wave that was caused from the south east Asia market. It was both wonderfully directed and it continues to flesh out the whole setting here. And heck, loaning out your future sounds very abstract, but what most people are doing here is actually loaning out their children for money. There still are many questions here, for example it keeps getting hinted that Mashu is Kimimaro’s daughter, but then it makes no sense that his father walked around with one as well.

The weak point of this episode was the drama around Kimimaru, or at least that’s what I thought when watching this episode. Thinking back, it’s just poorly acted. The reason the kiss felt weird was because the animation was very wonky and the dialogue clunky. In terms of character development they did exactly what they needed to and strengthened the plot by showing what Mikuni did to the people of Japan. The acting is still bad, but I’m really surprised that this show hasn’t fallen apart under the weight of its own plot yet. And that’s the thing it needs to remember: yeah it’s flawed, but as long as it doesn’t run into a wall it can still end up as a really worthwhile series. The big pitfall for this one right now is leaving a bad aftertaste: the final episode will be crucial for this one.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 3 June 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



Okay, so with this episode it’s certain: C does not belong in the Noitamina slot. Its themes of course fit it nicely and all, but 11 episodes is just too little for this series. The proof came in this episode when suddenly from out of nowhere the entire world went to hell. I guess that the financial crisis of 2008 also came out of nowhere to most people and all, but a bit of a smoother build-up would have been nice here.

And yet, this episode rocked. The change with the previous episodes was… abrupt to say the least, but heck: I’ll buy it. After all, this is the kind of tension that this series needs in order to really turn its setting around. It’s in this episode where the differences between real money and Midas Money really become apparent: at first the whole concept of using your future as stocks made sortof sense, but there is one major difference here: no matter how much real money you lose: you can always recover. When Midas Money goes wrong, entire freaking countries disappear.

Kimimaro is going to be the key in whether or not the finale will succeed. I mean, he is the destined rookie of this series: he’s going to somehow end up playing a role in saving the world from bankruptcy. With the amount of time this series spent on fleshing out its setting, a cop-out ending will probably ruin most of the build-up, or at least leave a nasty aftertaste behind. Having said that though: this episode was a great start.

It’s interesting to see the “first half episodic stories, second half plot’-format in Noiramina, and it’s really paying off at this point: this episode did a great job of tying the previous episodes together, and I especially liked the teacher part, but also the way in which this episode gave both depth to the information broker and took a lot at the concept of money itself using trust was really interesting. I applaud you, series. Now keep this up, because you’re heading into a direction with a lot of potential pitfalls!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 27 May 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



Ah, this episode was exactly what this series needed. This was an episode to look back. It took a break from the different battles, and instead gave two characters the chance to play as the narrator, in order to tell a bit more about themselves. In case of Mikuni, it’s about his past, and in case of Mashu it’s about her feelings. It’s a good chance to take a bit of a step back and focus on these characters in order to solidify the finale of this series, and this episode did that wonderfully. Oh, and it was also a really nice touch to suddenly revisit a past character who seemed like nothing but cannon fodder t the time.

I only have a few minor complaints about this episode. The animation for example wasn’t really up to par, even for this series’ standards. I really wonder what this series would have looked like if the earthquake hadn’t happened, and because of that I do have to admit that despite the creative images, Mononoke, Trapeze and Bake Neko have this one trumped in terms of visuals.

As for the individual stories, the thing with C is that none of its episodes so far have been as bad as the worst episodes of Trapeze, nor have they been as good as the best episodes of Trapeze. In terms of the overall story and characters though, C has definitely been better. Of course, Trapeze did tie itself up really nicely in its final episode, but at this pacing, this series can be able to do the same, only with a much better storyline and characters. At the same time though, the direction will never be as good as it was in Mononoke or Bake Neko. It just lacks the energy, force and timing to really draw you in with its pacing.
Bake Neko was pretty much the perfect short story, and ever since I never saw something of Kenji Nakamura that was good as that one. But his shows have always been very interesting to watch.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 20 May 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control




This was by far the best episode of C yet, and that’s a great sign, especially considering how this was the point at which Eden of the East started to dull in. It’s here where this series really shows off its messages as a social commentary and I have to say that I really like how thought-provoking this is getting.

With this episode I have finally found something that makes up for the status of the main character as the “destined rookie”: this episode actually made great use of this by having three people with completely different views contact him and try to influence him to join, and they all have their valid points here. Seriously, in terms of background and motives this series is definitely among the best of the season. Based on the first episodes, this is not something that I saw coming.

The guy of this episode had some pretty harsh criticisms to Minuki, and this really seems to be a harsh criticism to modern day Japan’s economy as well. And yet at the same time this show doesn’t pretend that that view is 100% right or wrong, but instead it offers a lot of different view. Mikuni also has a very interesting defence for his actions. The same goes for that woman that contacted him.

Also, the animation of this series has always been choppy. I’ve heard that the creators were hit hard by the earthquake, so I guess that there’s no avoiding it. But holy crap, the fight scene at the ended was animated wonderfully. Kimimaro was bound to win such an outclassed match and all, but the direction and animation there totally made up for that. It was a wonderful climax to an awesome episode.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 12 May 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



Beyond the financial commentary, this show is also a fighting series. It’s here where most of the cliches in this series are and after watching this episode another one hit me: the main characters’ powers… are kindof bland, aren’t they? I mean, we have all these characters with cool and very creative ways of killing their opponents, from mirrors to keyholes and flying golems and bug spiky things. So what does the main character use? A small fireball. Couldn’t the creators have gotten a bit more creative with him? Right now it’s the battles between the other characters who are the most interesting.

Instead, the main characters’ purpose here is to explain what this world is about. I can definitely see the intentions of the creators: he is a novice who is being taught by one of the biggest innovators of the financial district. This way it can both go in-depth as keep this series easy to go into, even though in terms of storytelling it could have been more solidly explained.

Creating characters isn’t on the list of biggest priorities of this series, but instead it focuses on its setting. This episode went in even more detail of how the financial district influences the real world and the effects it has, ranging from big companies to random individuals. The previous episode had that too, but this episode gave these topics the depth they needed to be actually quite interesting rather than shallow. In that way, it actually made good use of its characters by using the lead characters’ worries.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 May 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



It’s here where this series really shows that it’s more than just another pokemon clone. At least, until Pokemon starts turning into a series about economics. I mean, first of all taking away a guy’s kids when he goes bankrupt: that’s some pretty hardcore stuff, but this episode also really looked into why people go into the financial district, plus the difficulties in raising children.

The second half of this episode meanwhile was about reliability, something you also don’t see a lot on these fighting series. The best players are often just one-sidedly strong, while here it’s a bit more nuanced: the best players are the ones who are able to minimize their losses. It’s definitely a series that’s full of interesting ideas.

I have two complaints, though. First of all this episode introduced a lot of new characters who I doubt will able to get their depth within 11 episodes. Also, I’m still not sure why Kimimaro is the main character. He lacks… motivation. I’m still not sure why I should root for him, especially when he keeps winning through either dumb luck or other people helping him.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 28 April 2011 with categories: [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control



After seeing so many 1-cour series screw up with their pacing, I’m glad to say that C actually knows that it should not slack off. For three episodes in a row, it has been straight to the point, with no intention to waste time. That’s definitely a good sign.

At the same time, this episode also leaves the battles for what they are, and instead focuses on the characters. Also, very important for such a short series. The introduction for that female with a lollipop was actually very good in the way that the creators turned her into a temporary narrator. These inner monologues of her were well written and took a good look at both who she is and what this setting is like.

This episode also showed the main character’s parents, what happened to them and also Souichiro’s reasons for participating in the financial district were a welcome addition to this series. If you want a mundane episode to bring some variation in the pacing, this is the way to do it.

At the same time though, I’m still a bit surprised that this show does have its share of cliches here and there. The disappearing father and especially being really angry at him for it have been done quite often now, so it’s going to matter even more for this show to make good use of them. The crying scene perhaps wasn’t the best way to do that, though. The acting in this series isn’t the worst of this season, but it also doesn’t stand out either, so that also will have to be compensated by something else.
Rating: * (Good)

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  • Anon
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 03:27 AM)
    @K-Off Yup, I cracked his previous attempt at this site on Bloglovin, but it didn’t really give too many clues.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 03:05 AM)
    @Anon Thanks for the clarification. You still hacking?
  • Anon
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:57 AM)
    Hey there, Zo does not appear to be a second account of anyone else. Have a nice day m8
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:44 AM)
    Now, while the scale of Sun-teleportation-human body seems warped, it’s only so because we like to think we know about our own bodies. Sadly not the case. We know more about the Sun than our own brain.
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:40 AM)
    *,
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:40 AM)
    We understand most of the Sun, we understand quantum entanglement for the most part, and those the tech I listed for the two respectively, are still thousands-millions of years away. Much less the human body, which we don’t even fully understand.
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:39 AM)
    No, no, I do not under estimate the rate of technological advancement. It’s simply being realistic. Some, like dyson spheres and teleportation devoces are too far away for any serious thought. Same with full dive.
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:36 AM)
    Also, specify parameters. Now, you propose putting specific parts of the brain to sleep? Because any “restrictions” you put in the server itself will only be part of the cognitive mind, not the brain as a whole.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:34 AM)
    thousands of millions is essentially billions of years, which is longer time than we humans have actually existed. Considering that most of our scientific advancement has been in the last 2000-3000 years and also the fact that the advent of computers to what er have now has only been 50-60 years, I think you are grossly underestimating the exponential growth of science.
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 2. 2014 02:33 AM)
    For Christ’s sake, we don’t feel anything even when we’re dreaming. Much less somehow converting data to electric synapses and putting it in our heads. I say “impossible” because that is literally thousands of years away.

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