Friday, 13 May 2011

C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control - Episode 4

Now that Kimimaro knows about his father and his fate as a result of bankruptcy within the Financial District, just what path is he going to choose on his own money-making road?

Certainly, our protagonist has little time to think about such things as he finds himself facing off against, of all people, his own teacher in his second Deal.  If nothing else, this gives us a glimpse into said teacher's reason for operating in the Financial District - to provide for his two children, with a third well and truly on the way.  Scenes of Mr. Ebara's pregnant wife chatting with his students is interspersed (perhaps a little too liberally) with scenes of the battle raging within the Financial District, in a Deal which ends with Mikuni effectively bailing Kimimaro out in a set of circumstances with ultimately leaves Ebara not only as the loser in the Deal, but also bankrupt.

Just as this Deal teaches us a little more about the Financial District's rules of engagement, with a system of Stocks operating alongside your Asset which can be bought and sold to those watching in the hope of picking a winner and sharing in their profit, so it also teaches us more about what happens to the losers in these Deals - in Mr. Ebara's case the true loss is not so much financial as personal, as his children simply vanish both physically and from the memories of everyone except Ebara and Kimimaro.  It's perhaps the cruellest of fates, in turn explaining Mikuni's philosophy which has led to the creation of a guild led by him within the Financial District; a guild whose members agree to enter Deals looking only for modest profits that won't bankrupt their opponent in the hope of minimising real-world effects such as though experienced by poor Mr. Ebara.  Is it a smart move?  More importantly, is it the path Kimimaro will choose to take?

For all of its flaws (and this series does have flaws, from poor direction down to increasingly shoddy animation at times), C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is certainly ramping up the thought-provoking aspects of its scenario - by this point, its position as an allegory of the real-world banking system isn't even thinly veiled any more as it tries to drill home the real costs and damages of business; people might not literally have their children disappear on account of some bad trading, but homes can be lost and lives ruined by loss of money.  The very nature of business and banking is competitive and combative, but is there another way?  Mikuni Soichiro seems to be the embodiment of a more "humane" method of financial dealing that is safer for all parties involved, but it's going to be interesting to see how his philosophy pans out as the series progresses, while of course we'll be watching closely as to what path Kimimaro chooses to follow.  In other words - this has proven to be a hugely thought-provoking and fascinating episode which seems to set the scene for the rest of the series to come; if only its visuals and story-telling were a little slicker to really back up this ever more noteworthy plot, it might have lifted the series towards a place as a real classic.

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