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C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series(TV) (2011)
Kimimaro, raised by his maternal aunt after the disappearance of his father and the death of his mother, is a scholarship student whose only dream is to live a stable, ordinary life. One day he meets a man who offers him a large sum of money if he will allow his "future" to be held as collateral. From then on his fate is radically altered as he's drawn into a mysterious realm known as the Financial District, where he must compete in weekly tournaments called "deals" in order to keep his money and avoid losing his future.
For more about C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series and the C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray release, see C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on October 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Todd Haberkorn, Monica Rial, Scott Freeman
» See full cast & crew
C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray Review
[B]: Better than Most.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, October 28, 2012
Maybe there is a God in Anime Heaven after all. Anime fans have been overwhelmed with a glut of second tier releases lately, many which not only feature warmed over plots and characters but which also received less than exciting upconversions to high definition. What's perhaps even more amazing about the success of [C]: Control – The Money of Soul and Possibility is the fact that it was fashioned for Fuji Television's notoriously difficult "Noitamina" block (that's animation spelled backwards for those of you unaccustomed to such things), a programming strategy that has offered "short form" anime (kind of like stateside miniseres) that are forced to get through sometimes impossibly convoluted story arcs in a rather short array of episodes. Even more amazing with regard to [C] (as the anime's title is often shortened) is the fact that it at least tangentially deals with matters of economics, something that as one of the commentaries included on this set makes clear isn't exactly prime fodder for fascinating entertainment, despite the fact that other anime, notably Spice and Wolf, have dealt in much the same currency (pun intended). Now there's no denying that elements of [C] are virtually little more than rehashed ideas culled from such venerable properties as Yu-Gi-Oh (and, no, I'm not kidding), but it's all delivered with such incredible visual flair and brisk storytelling that few are probably going to care very much, especially given the dearth of quality product coming down the pike lately.
The Noitamina block on Fuji has had a rather incredible variety of short form series filling it over the past couple of years, with several of these having made the journey to Blu-ray (Eden of the East: The Complete Series Blu-ray review, Shiki Blu-ray review, Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Series Blu-ray review, Fractale: Complete Collection Blu-ray review, AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day Blu-ray review, Bunny Drop Blu-ray review, No. 6: Complete Collection Blu-ray review, Un-Go: Complete Collection Blu-ray review). Just a cursory look at that list reveals what a broad selection of genres and styles has been offered via Noitamina, but [C] is probably overall the most stylish of them all, even if story wise and dramatically it has some issues.
The hero of [C] is student and convenience mart worker Kimimaro Yoga, a good natured if somewhat conflicted kid who suddenly finds himself approached by a weird character named Masakaki who looks like a combination of Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and—well, Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland. Masakaki invites Kimimaro to become an Entrepreneur, or so-called Entrée, in an alternate universe known as the Financial District. You've heard of "mortgaging your future"? That's exactly the bargain that Masakaki makes Kimimaro—if Kimimaro agrees to battle in the Financial District, and if— if—he wins, he can radically reinvent his future into something much more lucrative and enjoyable. If he doesn't win—well, don't even ask.
The Financial District in [C] is its most striking visual element, even if it's also its most hackneyed plot device. While the attacks and counterattacks are often filled with arcane references to economic theory, what it all boils down to is a rehash of any battle themed anime, from Dragon Ball Z to, yes, Yu-Gi-Oh with various "powers" (often economic terms) being summoned as two combatants fight it out. The combatants are aided by their so-called Assets, fairy like creatures who are, yes, summoned through the magical action of a card. Ever seen anything like that before?
The series is really rather prescient with regard to seemingly global financial calamity that has affected all of us to one degree or another over the past few years, and it in fact plays upon that very instability in some relatively smart ways, having battles within the Financial District ripple out into the "real world", with devaluations of the Yen and similar developments taking place. That helps to give [C] the sort of current day relevance that is (let's face it) pretty much lacking in all anime. That very "adult" oriented content, however, tends to point out the more childish battle elements for the cliché ridden fodder they are, especially when the series stoops to the level of having Kimimaro battle his supposed mentor in the Financial District.
Most anime lovers are going to be willing to overlook the series' dramatic faults, though, simply because its visual ingenuity is so colorful and fun to watch. The series has some extremely well drawn (in every sense of the word) characters, and those are plopped down in some outrageous environments in the Financial District, courtesy of some fantastic looking CGI. This is bright, bold and colorful fare with an unusual subject matter. Does it traffic in some well worn anime tropes? Undoubtedly. But it least has the daring to attempt doing so in a new and often quite creative way, and that puts it head and shoulders above so many other second (or third or fourth) hand offerings that have flooded the marketplace lately.
C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray, Video Quality
[C]: Control – The Money of Soul and Possibility is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. What an outright joy this series is to watch. Line detail is exceptionally strong and clear and the anime features some of the most outrageously colorful palettes in recent memory. The Assets are all really interesting, especially when they morph into more demonic forms, and the series has the same sort of graphical approach that has made outings like Soul Eater so visually arresting. CGI and traditional cel animation are interwoven together very artfully and this is certainly one of the standout anime titles of the year from a purely visual standpoint, if not from a story one.
C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray, Audio Quality
[C]: Control – The Money of Soul and Possibility features an English dub delivered via a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround mix and the original Japanese language track delivered via a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 track. The 5.1 surround mix is by far the more preferable option in terms of bombast and (obviously) immersion, but for some reason FUNimation has decided not to include English subtitles on this track for a frequently utilized device where Japanese ideographs appear on the screen, either as identifiers for locations or, just as frequently, text accompanying the control voice that the Entrées talk to during battle. That means you miss some salient information if you choose the English track. That said, this series is certainly enjoyable enough that it's well worth watching it first with the Japanese track to get the gist of some of these elements, and then revisiting the series with the English track. The Japanese track continues the recent tradition of being mixed noticeably more anemically in terms of music and foley effects than the English track is, but both of these tracks offer great fidelity. The English language version also boasts extremely wide dynamic range.
C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Is [C]: Control – The Money of Soul and Possibility perfect? Far from it. But what a nice breath of fresh air that attempts something at least a little different and manages to deliver it with such an overwhelmingly brilliant visual flair. The battle element is the weakest part of [C], which is of course ironic, but the often fascinating characters and the always compelling animation will easily get most viewers through the rough spots. Recommended.
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C Control The Money and Soul of Possibility: Complete Series Blu-ray, News and Updates
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