Genres: action, drama, mystery, psychological, science fiction, supernatural, thriller
Plot Summary: Kimimaro is a scholarship student whose only dream is to avoid all this and live a stable life as a civil servant. One day, however, he meets a man who offers him the chance to make money fast. From then on Kimimaro is drawn into a mysterious realm known as “The Financial District,” where people engage in supernatural battles for the possibility of money. He discovers the financial problems of his country is in part due to Midas money and must do something before all of his friend’s futures are lost.
Story – 4.1
Ah yes, Control is one uniquely twisted series. From beginning to end nothing is quite reality like it can be with a little Midas. My first glimpse into this alternate reality was rather strange: A seemingly content man named Kimimaro Yoga is struggling to go through life. All he wants is to have a set job, a wife and some kids. So when a strange man named Masakaki shows outside his house offering free money at the cost of his life as collateral, our hero at first denies him. But, seeing the seemingly love of his life Hanabi with another man eating at our hero, he decides to use what is called the Financial District to ensure his future. I liked the premise that the financial district is an alternate universe where time does not move. At first I was a little confused, but as the show progresses we find that the reason it doesn’t move really has to do with the shifts in reality. Money, and what it is used for, is a healthy topic throughout the series.. Even the Deals, fights against other Entrepreneurs called Entres, are aided by “Assets” , the future embodiment of the Entre, which use in turn economic terms for ways to hurting the economy of your foe. All this talk might come across pretty quickly at times, but that might be more because the show itself is only 11 episodes long, which does prove somewhat problematic for C – Control.
However, despite this I believe the show found a pretty strong leg when we start to explore the person that is Mysu (or Myshu in the dub), Kimimaro’s Asset. I think around that time C – Control found its legs and proceeded to produce some of the best anime in recent times. You see, not only are the assets the future embodiment of the Entre, but in some cases may actually be people who’s future was denied. The more Kimimaro learns about his Asset, the more he sees her as a valuable friend and seeks to protect her. I won’t spoil what that realizes itself into, but suffice to say these are some awesome points in the show for sure.
Before I delve further, there are some deviance I must deal with. While the show is limited in use of vulgar words and any blood in the battles just black Midas money pouring out, there is a scene where a certain detective you like named Jennifer is randomly chosen at the beginning of an episode to be seen in her shower naked. It is unfortunate that she is exposed on her upper body. Perhaps that was the way to let the viewer know Kimimaro wasn’t gonna find an interest in her or whatever…either way it was not consistent with the rest of the series and was done just for the sake of fan-service. C – Control will be dinged for this violation of morality.
Now heading back to the story, we are introduced to a man named Souichirou Mikuni who curiously comes to Kimimaro’s aid at the first Deal, and tries to recruit him into his guild. Mikuni believes that the negative effects of C can be overridden by every member ending a Deal with the smallest of differences in money. Kimimaro is still unsure of himself, but is pushed to the guild’s side when he has to fight his school teacher. The subsequent defeat of the man ends up being so destructive when our hero sees the bankruptcy of the teacher loses him everything as even the teacher’s children themselves are removed from existence. I liked where the conversation went from here, and how Kimimaro struggles to find the answer to what he should be doing. While he doesn’t want to be absorbed into being all about Midas money, he can’t help but see the inherent destruction it causes as he learns even his father was a former Entre.
I liked the shock and desperation that Kimimaro finds himself in, and as he seeks council his uncertainty continues to push him farther down the philosophical path. Yes, the Financial District is a lovely death pit, but at this point there is nothing that can be done about that. Instead, Kimimaro must find a way to keep his future and the people he loves to exist before they all vanish from the effects of C. I especially was intrigued and appreciated at the healthy view the show puts on money. Its not that money is inherently bad, but rather the use of the Midas money, since it has no real life value save what the confidence is in the currency, is desecrating people’s lives and futures by people trying to steal or otherwise stop the inevitable from happening.
At one point, our Hero faces a strange man who thinks he can stop the bad C effect by just using his money to give to the people. This firm desire to live in the present without regard to the future is repugnant to Kimimaro’s friend Mikuni, who feels that the man’s inheritance has blinded him to the reality that not everyone is ok with where they are or wants to just receive handouts forever. The proceeding conversation takes place while we are intrigued by another intellectual facet of C, in that Myshu is beginning to find interest in this Entre of hers and the Ramen that he so enjoys. The amount of impact Myshu has on our hero is impeccably awesome, and I believe the discussions combined with the financial perplexities of today’s world, really felt like the show handled it very well. Ultimately the answer is not in maintaining the present nor stealing the future from others to keep yours. Kimimaro realizes that everyone deserves their own future, and living a life without one is not the right path to take.
Fortunately for Kimimaro, there is an organization called the International Monetary Fund who wish to stop the effects of C entirely. While it does takes some time for Kimimaro to decide to fully support them, their representative and detective Jennifer proves to be a help in our hero’s journey to find what is truth. Especially since her mutual informant provides Kimimaro with enough dirt on what Mikuni is really up to. Mikuni’s desire to keep the present for himself and his coma-induced sister is really unfeeling to the masses by which he crushes…our hero can’t do that and so fights against both the guild he joined and C itself. Just some great intellectual fodder to soak up, for sure.
The final showdown between Kimimaro and Mikuni was great. Not only at this point are both sides at an impasse because of Mikuni’s desperation, but the future of Japan is at stake. You see, there are other countries that also use Midas Currency, and this has added a squeeze on Japanese enterprises, and Mikuni acted fast to save Japan from what he thought was going to destroy the present. What he has chosen is much worse, and I believe the real strength to the show. You see, there is this special black card that allows you to directly borrow from the Financial District. The problem is when you borrow from there, the loan is at the cost of your life. Worse, at stupendous amounts as Mikuni does rashly is actually taking collateral the future of Japan itself! So what Mikuni thinks is maintaining his future is destroying the future of everyone else. Such disastor spurs on our Hero and the fierce fight that ensues is nothing short of fun to watch.
And then, there’s the finale of C – Control. I did mention the show was only 11 episodes, and I feel this is where the biggest impact on the show is affected. You see, after Kimimaro stops Mikuni from completely destroying Japans future just to keep his own version of the present. We are treated to the aftermath of everything by the realization that the show didn’t know quite how to end it. Its kinda sad to some degree since nothing that happened really meant anything. Sure, Japan’s future was saved and Midas money deleted from its control on the country, but the next generation can be seduced into the possibilities of Midas money. So how much did Kimimaro really do? He does give a future to his Asset Myshu in the real world (I won’t spoil it by telling), but to what point? The problem was only delayed for the time being, and we are briefly introduced to Masakaki who tries to declare all of this toying with people’s future was to help man come together for one purpose…what? Umm..that doesn’t really pass the smell test….
I don’t want to seem too harsh, because the bittersweet nature of Kimimaro’s victory in being forgotten by his friend Hanabi and having no one around who remembers him for the time being was great. Its a perfect fit to the show since we get to see how much Midas had been effecting life. But for C – Control to attempt to convince us that the system itself is an angelic idea is ludicrous. Its a devilish scheme that needs to be put to rest…..at least Kimimaro will have the option to enter the Financial District again. And for one thing, any change in the future he will know right away.
Call it what you may, but C – Control really was aimed at getting the discussion going. That the ending was a wee bit extreme is ok. That individual liberty is hailed as good and that the attempt to bail out people with the future of other people’s lives is shown logically as being foolish if not destructive is fantastic. There is another focal point to C, and that regards the proper way of what it means to fight for the right thing, but I will delay that to the emotional section.
Emotional Draw – 4.0
First, C – Control has a problem with just being 11 episodes long. This doesn’t mean it didn’t develop well, but at times scenes felt a wee bit rushed. I thought the humor in the show was rushed half the time, instead of building up the character Kimimaro, but as we see later in the series this is because the show really isn’t precisely about Kimimaro but the main characters in the show. While I was a first a little conflicted by this way of story telling, it works out well overall as its really adds to the sadness of seeing our friends being destroyed slowly since the characters were developed before the actual episode of their demise or trouble.
Now relating to the development of the characters, there is this really sweet scene where Kimimaro is in the eating section of the Financial District. He’s had a little success and he sees an Entre who is trying to mockingly force-feed his Asset food. See, Assets usually don’t eat food, so Kimimaro’s Myshu eating soup has gotten on the nerves of some of the riff raff. Kimimaro hasn’t yet decided where he is at, and he steps out and finally finds what his aim is with Midas money. He goes back and clocks the jerk in the jaw for the comment. The proceeding scene sees a beat up man who explains to his incredulous Asset how he has decided to stop standing in the middle of things. What I found so powerful was Kimimaro’s explanation that the reason he went back and gave that jerk a smack was because while he wasn’t sure what was right, leaving the scene thinking about it made him feel guilty and thus something he shouldn’t avoid defending. This amazing kindness to Myshu is part of what makes her really start to like and respect Kimimaro and just brings the show into a new level of greatness. Honestly my reader, this decision regarding the jerk really is telling of what makes a true hero. Its easy to equate justice as fighting against a clear enemy, but it takes a true gentleman and lady to stand up for what is right even at the risk of harm to oneself. Sure, heroes and heroines don’t always have the answers for things, but it is listening to their conscience that reminds us of the perfection that God gave us so that no one can feign ignorance of what is just and injust. At this point in the show, there is a lot of respect for Kimimaro since you can be sure he will always follow his true heart and do the right thing. Sweet and powerful look into what it means to be just after all.
Kimimaro learns at episode 3 that his father was in it for the money…and then later the possible connection of Myshu and himself..so why wasn’t this developed more? I felt like this personal story of C – Control should have been explored more if not for the limitation 11 episodes inherently forces. A real shame since it was pretty good. Speaking of Myshu, the romancing in this story itself also felt a little rushed early, but halfway into the show it is very sweet. When Myshu asks Kimimaro what a kiss is, and what it means to be in love, those scenes were just flat out sweet. Especially when Myshu claims she likes him 30x as before and demands a kiss, that was such a sweet scene as Kimimaro kisses her forehead. Perhaps the term “ahh!!” is in order? So it is a little regrettable that the ending leaves a ton of questions. Yeah, the bitter-sweetness of this is perfect, but a part of me wanted to know what exactly Myshu would manifest her future with.
As for any other favorite scenes, i would have to include the first time Myshu got to eat Ramen and the first time she asks Kimimaro what it meant to kiss and love someone. Those scenes really bring out the respectability of our hero and established the affectionate interest the viewer is supposed to have for Myshu.
Characters – 4.86
Kimimaro Yoga – 4.9
More of your average joe, this college student is forced into a life of wagers where the next Deal can mean bankruptcy if your not careful….the consequences which are worse than death. Kimimaro steps well into the role as hero in this story and his commitment to those around him is unwavering throughout the show. Todd Haberkorn, who is well known from his Natsu performance in Fairy Tail, lends his talent to the screen. I thought he did as usual an excellent job with Mr. Yoga, and nailed the scenes well with his Asset Myshu.
Myshu – 5.0
An asset to the Entre Kimimaro, she has a hard time understand why her master is so concerned over her. However, with Ramen as the first step, she begins to develop affections for her kind Entre as she learns what it means to be a human and is quite the fire magician with her abilities. Cute and confident, Myshu will be sure to gain your interest in her fast. Brina Palencia did an excellent job on her character throughout the series. She nailed her spots very well. I still laugh over the “what’s a kiss?” scene.
Sōichirō Mikuni -5.0
The man behind the large Midas expenditure in Japan, he uses his ill-gotten gain to try to keep the present to stay the way it is. A worthy opponent for Kimimaro, I thought J. Michael Tatum’s performance is as classy as he’s always since my early days of hearing his performance in Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Just keep your affection at a distance ladies, he’s quite the suprise villain in this series.
Jennifer Sato -4.4
Martha Harms does an excellent job on Jennifer. Without a doubt the acting in this series was great, and Martha is no exception. I kinda wished for more of her, but I liked her ending performance in the last episode and felt her sadness very convincing. Jennifer is a secret agent for the International Monetary Fund, committed to ridding themselves of Midas influence in Japan. She is usually seen eating some kind of candy or food and wearing some cool shades. Just don’t get in her way, her Asset will smack you in a heartbeat.
Masakaki – 5.0
The personification of villainhood, this mysterious man is one of the few things that runs the Financial District. He is accentric and twisted as they come, and is certain to get on your nerves. I thought Scott Freeman sounded much like the crazy man that is Masakaki. Kudos to the C – Control series for their excellent casting.
Creativity – 4.3
The artistry in C – Control is spotty throughout the first half. It seems the budget was lacking in money. “cough” “cough”. Whatever its reasons, it did take getting used to some of the scenes since the sound would cut off too soon before the next important scene would show up. In fact, in one episode a casual walk along a walkway with other people saw only the people’s frames drawn in and the rest of it was CGI…it was really awkward since the motions were basically just lowering the people up and down. There were other scenes I think in the same episode where half of the scenes where Kimimaro’s frame itself was CGI. Oops. Despite the high irony of the early lack of funding, C- Control got enough interest from its complicated story and fixed many of these issues by the end of the series.
I thought the drawings were very harshly pointed for some the characters compared to the manga, especially for Mysu, but that is probably just preference in the end. The Financial District itself was nice to look at as well as the various city looks as things would change, that was nice to see the small touches in drawing the buildings. As for the way the Financial District ran, I liked the idea of the Midas money being appropriately black to the Entre’s only as well as the special black card that allows the user to borrow money against the life of the buyer. That was an extra cool feature that further pushed the near morbid nature the show presented throughout.
Opening song is “Matryoshka” (マトリョーシカ Matoryōshika) by Nico Touches the Walls and the ending theme is “RPG” by School Food Punishment. I liked the music throughout the series and especially any of the fight scenes. That “hey! “breath” Hey!” repeating sound during the most intense parts of the battles just made the experience really fun. A great vocal is showcased at various places called Antiphona. As well as an ending song named High Heel Shoes in Pink, that sounds so reminiscent. In fact, I would highly suggest getting the OST for the show, it really was a complete experience throughout.
Grade Overall – 4.21
(C – Control is actually a really well-thought series. It is unfortunate that it only had 11 episodes to cram all that awesomeness inside it, and so loses part of the glamor that the story really deserved. Definitely worth a watch)