Set in a financially bankrupt Japan with only the government as a safe employer, [C] - The Money of Soul and Possibility Control ([C] - Control or [C] for short) is an anime about economics, finances and beautiful battles over money ending in private insolvency of the loser. In exchange for a prospective borrower's future (including his prospects, possibilities, lifespan etc.), an organization known as Midas Bank will take him on as an Entrepreneur and lend him a large, zero-interest sum of money under the condition that he participate in weekly "Deals" — battles over each participant's money using familiars called "Assets"—against other Entrepreneurs on an alternate plane called the Financial District.College sophomore Kimimaro Yoga is sucked into the whole affair when he is approached by the alarmingly eccentric Masakaki from Midas Bank's Commercial Division, who offers him a loan as they need a new entrepreneur and Kimimaro needs money. Though he refuses, he is more or less coerced into partaking. Kimimaro quickly piques the interest of and is recruited by Souichirou Mikuni, a powerful and exceedingly wealthy—even by Financial District standards—businessman who leads the Starling Guild, a collective that seeks to minimize any effect the Financial District and its "Midas Money" might inflict on the real world's economy.The series is directed by Kenji Nakamura, whose previous projects, Mononoke and Trapeze, should be enough to tell you that Mind Screw and mindbogglingly good-looking scenes await those who take this anime on. Broadcasted as part of the noitaminA block during the Spring 2011 season. It is produced by Tatsunoko Production.Courtesy of FUNimation, subtitled episodes (and a few English-dubbed ones) are available on YouTube and can be viewed here.
The Anti-Nihilist/Straw Nihilist: Somehow, Mikuni manages to embody both at the same time. His ultimate goal, protecting the present at the cost of the future, is because he believes that someday the future will be destroyed regardless of how hard he struggles for it, so he'd rather protect the present, even though he's destroying millions of lives to do so. So he doesn't believe in hope of the value of lives in the future, however at the same time he is fighting for an altruistic (if distorted) goal to protect the lives of people in the present. It doesn't have a happy ending for him.
Apocalypse How: Regional/Metaphysical Annihilation for Singapore. For Japan, Regional/Societal Disruption, though in this case the "disruption" is actually beneficial to society in most ways. America withstands the aftershocks of [C] without so much as a quiver.
Bigger Stick: Mikuni's solution to almost every problem is to throw more money at it, and his wealth (and therefore power) is functionally limitless, especially when he activates the Rotary Press. Appropriately, his Direct is a BFS instead of the dagger that most Entres use.
Berserk Button: For Kimimaro, Msyu getting hurt. Can prove problematic, since it tends to scupper any elaborate strategies he has for a fight.
BFS: All Entres can adjust the size and shape of their Direct according to their wealth and ability. Whereas most have a dagger-shaped Direct, Mikuni tends to swing around a blade the size of a small building.
Bittersweet Ending: Japan's future is saved as C passes over it and the rotary press reverses to restore the lost future. However, in the process, Kimimaro arrives in a world that is very different to his, Mikuni's sister passes on and they can never meet again as he stays behind and disappears and Masakaki appears before Kimimaro gleefully revealing that the immortal FD will continue to go on with so many new bright futures ahead. However, on the plus side, there's a good chance that because of this, Kimimaro will be able to see Msyu again
Black Blood: If struck by a Direct, an Entre will bleed a slurry of black oil and cash. Assets that take significant damage also have the oil bit, as well.
But Thou Must: Midas Bank makes you a member and takes your future as collateral, theoretically "if you consent." Kimimaro explicitly does not consent, only to find that Masakaki has somehow spirited him off into a taxi headed for the Financial District. As with many deals with the devil, the Midas Bank is very flexible about what constitutes "agreement". They put the money in Kimimaro's account and when he withdrew some of it, they took that as consenting to the terms of the loan.
The "Midas Bank" is really a metaphor for real-life central banks. What happens in the second half of the show due to Mikuni's actions is a negative representation of the effects of contemporary government and central bank policies (very roughly, injecting trillions of dollars "out of thin air" into the economy to bail out companies/buy government debt), which, according to Austrian-school Economics, make the economy look better in the short-term but results in much harsher consequences in the future.
The deals themselves are a smaller-scale representation of the hidden costs of creating new currency. When new ("printed") money is issued to someone/something, it devaluates the currency and everyone else holding the same currency is worse off. Whenever Entres win a deal, they get Midas Money in exchange for making someone else's life worse.
The QR code for one episode tells us that there's a CMYK colour scheme to the ending. Kimimaro is Cyan, Msyu is Magenta and the Financial District is yellow. It goes on to say that if you combine the three you get black which is the future.
The "black" here is significant: the old stock market saying "in the black" means that the person/company/stock is making money. Of course, black can also mean greed, corruption, etc. On the same note, the stock market saying "in the red" is the opposite: the person/company/stock is losing money. Now which area had the red sky? In the same episode Jennifer has three burgers wrapped in Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. She offers the yellow one to Kimimaro. Eat the Financial District? That may also have a double meaning: A "blue chip" stock in the stock market is a stock that is notably well-reliable. Considering that magenta and cyan create blue when combined...
Every Financial District has its own Masakaki, all in different colors.
Conspicuous CG: Even human characters relatively close to the camera will be utilizing it, it seems.
Masakaki especially, in-keeping with his uncanny appearance.
Contemplate Our Navels: Lots of it, but Episode 7 is absolutely stuffed with this, to the point of being filler.
The Corrupter: Masakaki's initial M.O. is an attempt to get Kimimaro to take the loan with the possibilities inherent in all that money.
Curtains Match the Window: Masakaki has yellow and lavender eyes; the latter match his hair. His equivalent in the Southeast Asian District has turquoise hair, and his eyes are half turquoise to match.
Deal with the Devil: Midas Bank offers to invest in you or, more specifically, your future. They give you a bit of startup capital and then throw you into the deep end of what amounts to a basic futures contract - you agree to give away something (in this case, your future) for a fixed sum right now. With a Black Card, you can also withdraw more money from the Midas Bank for more of your future but the effects can be equally devastating for everyone else.
Deus ex Machina: In episode 10 you learn that Mikuni has a special card that lets him spin the Midas Money rotisserie and steal the entire country's future in order to produce massive amounts of Midas Money. When the heroes can't stop him, with virtually no explanation, the "higher ups" decide to give Kinimaro one, thus giving him a fighting chance.
Disappeared Dad: Kimimaro's father. It's revealed in Episode 3 that he was once a rather successful Entre, but then went bankrupt all at once and was Driven to Suicide as a result. His body went unidentified, so (almost) no one knew what happened to him.
Driven to Suicide: Makita jumps in front of a train after losing to Mikuni. Kimimaro's father hung himself after going bankrupt. Ebara is talked out of jumping off a roof, but later walks into oncoming traffic.
Eldritch Abomination: The thing that attacks/eats the Southeast Asia Financial District when it goes bankrupt, and spins the Rotary Press when Mikuni activates it.
The only reason Japan stays afloat is because Mikuni is buying enough government bonds to stop the country's collapse
He buys the real-world trillion-yen corporations of failing Entres to keep them from crashing.
In episode 9, He buys 80% of the companies and stocks in Japan to prevent Japan from being destroyed by C. Most of that was paid for by money from Guild members or his Rotary Press loan, rather than being a feat of his personal fortune.
Foreshadowing: Whenever we see Q, she is eating Midas Money. We find out later that her Macroflation is "Cannibalization", where she eats anything made of money, including Entres and Assets.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: There are two blink-and-you'll-miss-it QR codes in the ED. The first one in the first episode basically amounts to "the ED was made in Adobe AfterEffects, which is awesome, and everybody should show us the videos they've made themselves with it". The second states that the anime was planned to be titled Control but was shortened to C when they found out that a show with a similar title would be on the air at the same time.
It changes every episode adding some sort of director commentary to each episode.
Gainax Ending: Technically speaking, there is no ending at all. It goes through the climax and then goes straight to credits. We the viewers have no idea what happens at all. Of course, there's always The Stinger.
Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: Msyu's introduction involves punching and slapping Kimimaro quite a bit until he gets with the program.
Mikuni cuts Kikuchivertically at the climax of their deal but he survives as he doesn't get bankrupted.
Horned Humanoid: All Assets have horns of some description. Some Assets are humanoid. Do the maths.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Souichirou Mikuni and his asset Q. He's quite a bit taller than the protagonist of the series and Q is a short, elfin girl. Meeting together her face is stuck right in his stomach, antlers not even reaching his shoulders.
The Hypnotoad: Jennifer Satou's asset George has the Macroflation "Mergers and Acquisitions" which allows Jennifer to assume control of the opponent's asset. Unfortunately it appears that doing so puts an extreme strain on George and cannot be done more than once a Deal.
Incest Subtext: Late in the series, Kimimaro becomes aware that Assets are derived from the Entre's future and suspects that Msyu is his future daughter. This does not prevent him from exploring her tonsils with his tongue in the series finale as the Far East Financial District crumbles around them.
Invisible to Normals: Midas Money, while not invisible, appears like normal money to everyone but members of the Financial District. Of course only the initiated know the District even exists.
Invocation: Each Asset's attacks and the scale of attack (Macro/Mezzo/Micro) are activated this way. However, in the first episode there is a flaw in the invocation system. Normally, Mircoflations are not named, the voices simply say "Micro" or "Microflation". In the first episode, once the card is activating the Microflation, the words "Bulk Sale" can be seen on the card. This is the only Microflation in the series that is named.
Jump Cut: They appear frequently; a director trademark.
Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: An Entre can "treat [his Asset] like a human, if you know what I mean." Kimimaro is not thrilled with the guy who makes the suggestion. It doesn't help that by that point in the series, he sees his own Asset as something of a daughter-figure.
Last Kiss: Between Kimimaro and Msyu, as the latter vanishes along with the rest of the District.
Layered World: Even if someone doesn't fully lose a Deal; it affects the Real World. Losing a deal can result in financial problems, or a company having to lay off people or in ways not anything to do with money like failing a class or having a house set on fire.
Light Is Not Good: Kou Sennoza is a wealthy philanthropist who distributes vaccines all over the third world. His rage is also something to behold, and he wields the Asset Karma, a nightmarish angel who attacks with lightning strikes.
Like Brother and Sister: In the site's mini-drama/monologues, it's stated that Hanabi has known Kimimaro since high school and views him as a brother and someone to take care of. Kimimaro ends up seeing his relationship with Msyu this way, with a dash of trying to be a Parental Substitute.
Lovecraftian Superpower: The left half of Kimimaro's opponent's Asset at the end of episode 5 erupts into a mess of sticky insect limbs.
Love Triangle: Kimimaro has a crush on his classmate Hanabi, who already has a boyfriend.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In episode 6, Kimimaro faces Sennoza, a philanthropist who greatly helped the third world. He defeats him (it is implied that he actually bankrupted him), reversing almost all of Sennoza's work.
Not Always Evil: The beings running the Financial Districts, possibly. At the very least, their motives were slightly more benign than one might have hitherto suspected, even if they aren't too fussy about the collateral damage they cause.
Not So Different: In episode 9, Jennifer implies this about Kimimaro and his late father
Naoya Makita, the salaryman in the first episode, uses a PIN of 666 to access the Financial District's services.
In episode 1, it shows that the taxi fare to the Finacial District is 666 yen.
Deals have a time limit of 666 seconds.
Off Model: Sadly, for all the amazing work that went into the backgrounds, the characters have a small tendency to lapse into this. Stranger still when suddenly CG is substituted for traditional animation for the characters.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: episode 6 has Kimimaro fighting a truly strong opponent with an Asset that shoots lightning, after almost losing within the first few seconds, it cuts to the real world, showing the aftereffect and stating that he won.
Old Master: Kikusho - an old CEO and Black Card Entre in a Financial District full of young people.
Olympus Mons: Karma, Sennoza's (vaguely) angelic Asset that smites enemies with freakishly powerful lightning bolts and was only defeated once (twice, after the battle against Msyu) in its existance, should count. Q, the most powerful Asset ever known, should count as well. And possibly Msyu.
Used when Kimimaro's teacher reveals to him that anything gained through Midas Money will be Ret Gone if you go bankrupt.
Also used when Msyu is damaged to the point of near-death during the battle with Sennoza.
And the end of Episode 8, during the Lovecraftian thing's attack on the SE asia district.
Only a Flesh Wound: Given the abstract, symbolic nature of Deals, dismemberment, evisceration, and even being cut in half are not going to kill you, and they might not even knock you out of the match if you have enough money backing you up.
Palette Swap: Masakaki and the other Districts' Midas Bank reps are simply recolors of each other.
Parental Abandonment: Kimimaro's father left and later committed suicide and his mother died. He's supported by his maternal grandmother.
It doesn't get any more literal than "it costs money to use your Asset's powers," does it?
The whole concept of Midas Bank,. It's probably the "simplest" way to make good money in a completely screwed up economic environment, but you constantly need to participate in "deals", and if you go bankrupt, you lose way more than just your money.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: Midas Money is backed by the mortgaged futures of the Entres and, in the case of money printed on demand from the Rotary Press, everyone else covered by the area of the Financial District.
Precocious Crush: Whilst her precise age is unclear, Msyu's crush on Kimimaro ends up coming across this way given his initial reaction.
Bankruptcy means that you lose your future — or, more specifically, anything that Midas Money made possible for you. This can include shops, possessions, and even children. This then gets even more extreme in episode 8 with the revelation that ENTIRE COUNTRIES aren't safe!
As a market reaches its dying days, even people and businesses not directly related to specific Entres begin to disappear in the blink of an eye. One minute a person exists, a second later nobody remembers they even existed. This results in whoever isn't claimed by a bankruptcy ending up listless and confused, not knowing why they were there when whoever they came with no longer exists.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Whenever the movement of money causes something to disappear, only Entres will remember the way things were before the change.
You debated for a long time over what was right and wrong, didn't you? There is no right answer. Everyone is correct. Everyone fought to make the world a better place, and so the world is now better than it was before.
Sanity Slippage: The more the economy goes down the toilet, the worse Hanabi's mental state gets. Once Mikuni's bailout package has hit the market, she's barely functional.
Some viewers are split between Mashu/Msyu. Her name is spelled "Msyu" (as shown when it is written on Kimimaro's credit card in English in the very first episode) but it is pronounced "Mashu". This has to do with Msyu being a transliteration of マシュ, which when transliterated for Westerners (more for pronunciation) is frequently done as Mashu, but when transliterated for Japanese speakers (more for relation to the characters in use) can be Masyu. Just add an "a" to Msyu (seeing as Japanese basically, except for n, does not have double consonants), and you get the pronunciation. Easy for those who are fluent, confusing as hell for those who need subtitles.
The name of Jennifer's asset György is apparently spelled "WWJF". The four-letter codes on the cards don't reflect the name of the asset. Kimimaro simply named his asset after the code on his card.
Spoiler Opening: It's very vague, but it dictates what happens in the final three episodes. Worldwide currency inflation, falling money by using an airplane to drop it all in Japan which transitions to the US Dollar that makes the Yen extremely worthless, the four kinds of cards of which only Black cards can control the Eldritch Abomination that is Midas Money, and the finale between Kimimaro and Mikuni directly underneath said abomination for its control.
While the rest is very subtle, the battle between Kimimaro and Mikuni is very clearly spoiled, which is fairly significant because he does not become an antagonist until nearly the end of the series.
Stay with the Aliens: Mikuni remains in the destroyed Financial District. What exactly this means is unexplained, but from Kimimaro's perspective, he disappears.
Stepford Smiler: Something is very wrong with Hanabi, and it only gets worse as Japan's future slowly peels away.
Stripperiffic: Played with, if you can believe that. Msyu's not wearing much beyond her bra and miniskirt, but she's also got lots of red markings on her body.
Summon Magic: Negotiations involve summoning familiars called Assets to fight alongside you. Unlike some forms of Summon Magic, Entres (the summoners) are fully expected to fight alongside their Assets; it's not just Asset on Asset. Which means that it's possible to penetrate an opponent's defenses by bypassing the enemy Asset and going straight for the Entre.
Surprisingly Good English: ATMs and Negotiations use English. Jennifer's boss at the International Monetary Fund is also voiced by a native English speaker, though Jennifer is not (since that character is not a bit part, most of her lines are in Japanese).
Take Up My Sword: Jennifer Sato gives her Asset to Kimimaro like this for the final fight. Particularly significant since her Asset represents her future, so as long as he has it, part of her future will literally survive.
Entres in the Financial District can change their eye color to gold, with concentric black circles.
Masakaki has white pupils and two concentric irises in lavender and yellow. His Southeast Asian equivalent has similar eyes, but with turquoise inner irises.
Technicolor Fire: Midas Money burns bright indigo and violet. With glowing numbers flying out of it.
Time Stands Still: One of Q's abilities, called "Economic Blockade". It allows her to effortlessly negate even enemy Macroflations.
Title Drop: Mikuni refers to some kind of event called "C" in episode 8, which is later explained to be the chain reaction caused by a Financial District's collapse. This may only partly be a case of a Title Drop, since the title's "C" stands for "Control", but the chain reaction C appears to stand for something else.
The Masquerade: Of a sort. "There is no code of silence, but most wouldn't believe you, so I recommend silence." They don't seem to care if the whole world knows, it's just that the Financial District and its activities don't leave much believable evidence.
The Vamp: Jennifer's recruitment pitch to Kimimaro was delivered while on top of him. This could be her vamping him...or it could just be lust, we don't know.
Trademark Favorite Food: Instant shoyu ramen for Msyu. This is unusual, as Assets do not actually require food; Msyu starts asking for them after seeing Kimimaro eating a bowl and expresses interest in the concept of food. Meanwhile, Q's is Midas money, which Mikuni actually leaves in wine glasses for her.
We Can Rule Together: A variant. Mikuni's original reasoning for having Kimimaro join the Starling Guild is because Kimimaro is one of the few in the Financial District who isn't actually obsessed with money and also doesn't want his opponents to have to deal with the deep repercussions that come from large losses in deals. These factors are what convince Mikuni to begin grooming Kimimaro to be his successor. Unfortunately for him, Kimimaro doesn't agree with the practice of giving up the future for the sake of the present.
Mikuni is willing to sacrifice any number of potential futures in order to preserve the present.
Kimimaro, Jennifer and Takedazaki crashed the Japanese economy to defeat Mikuni and stop C.
Wham Episode: Episode 8. Dear god Episode 8. Hundreds of people disappear at a time along with the entirety of Singapore due to the Southeast Asian Financial District's collapse. And this isn't the first time, either—apparently there used to be a Caribbean Republic.
Episode 9. The future of Japan has just been mortgaged to prevent the destruction of Japan in the present. This results in quite a few children vanishing just to keep the rest of Japan from going up in smoke.