Cover of the first Blu-ray disc featuring Kimimaro Yoga and his Asset, Mashu.
|Genre||Action, Science fiction|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kenji Nakamura|
|Produced by||Kōji Yamamoto|
|Written by||Noboru Takagi|
|Music by||Taku Iwasaki|
|Original network||Fuji TV (Noitamina)|
|Original run||April 15, 2011 – June 24, 2011|
C[note 1] is a 2011 Japanese anime television series produced by Tatsunoko Production. The story follows Kimimaro Yoga, an economics student, who is introduced to the alternate reality of the Financial District, where people bet their own futures in battles. Entres—the series' term for the fighters—can accumulate great quantities of money by winning but they will have their futures altered if they lose. They are paired with Assets, who personify their futures, and Kimimaro has Mashu as his partner. As the story proceeds Kimimaro starts to perceive the effects of the Financial District's existence in the real world, and meets other characters, including Soichiro Mikuni, who aims to own Tokyo's Financial District, and Jennifer Sato, who is investigating the nature of the Financial District.
The series was directed by Kenji Nakamura, who was given the opportunity to create a storyline for an original series. Nakamura was impacted by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, one of the key events of the financial crisis of 2007–08, and envisioned a story about economic battles. He was moved by stories he heard during the interviews he conducted with people related to the economics field, and the series became darker in tone during its development. Through macroeconomics jargon, the series addresses trust and the need to act to ensure a better future.
The series was broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV's Noitamina programing block between April 15, and June 24, 2011, before being released onto DVDs and Blu-Ray discs by Toho. It was simulcasted with a week delay by Funimation Entertainment in the United States, by Siren Visual in Australia, and Anime on Demand in the United Kingdom. The anime also aired in the United States on the Funimation Channel and on Pivot in 2013. Its home media distribution was handled by Funimation in the United States, by Siren Visual in Australia, and by MVM Entertainment in the United Kingdom.
The Japanese government was rescued from the brink of financial collapse by the Sovereign Wealth Fund. For its citizens, however, life has not improved and unemployment, crime, suicide, and despair are rampant. Kimimaro Yoga (余賀 公磨 Yoga Kimimaro, voiced by Kōki Uchiyama in its original Japanese and Todd Haberkorn in its English dub), raised by his maternal aunt after the disappearance of his father and the death of his mother, is a 19-year-old scholarship Economics student whose only dream is to live a stable, ordinary life. One day he meets Masakaki (真坂木, voiced by Takahiro Sakurai and Scott Freeman), a mysterious man who offers him a large sum of money if he will allow his "future" to be held as collateral. When Kimimaro accepts the money, he becomes an "Entre" (アントレ Antore) (short for "entrepreneur") and is drawn into the alternate reality of the Financial District (金融街 Kin'yūgai), where Entres make transactions using the special Midas Money (ミダスマネー Midasu Manē).
In the Financial District, each Entre is paired with a special creature who personifies their futures known as Asset (アセット Asetto), and Kimimaro is designated to be accompanied by Mashu (真朱 Mashyu, or Mshyu; voiced by Haruka Tomatsu and Brina Palencia), a horned girl who has the ability to conjure up fire-based attacks. Entres are summoned there once a week to compete against each other, beating their money in a battle known as "Deal" (ディール Dīru). Entres who lose all of their money and become bankrupt are banished from the Financial District with tragic consequences to them or their loved ones in reality. Kimimaro first discovers it when he defeats one of his professors, Daisuke Ebara (江原大介 Ebara Daisuke), who entered Deals to support his family, and his punishment for bankruptcy made it so his children never existed in the first place.
Kimimaro discovers that bankruptcy led his father to commit suicide, and thus he finds a reason to continue there despite his disinterest in money and his fear to hurt others. Kimimaro's attitude attracts veteran Entre Soichiro Mikuni (三國 壮一郎 Mikuni Sōichirō, voiced by Daisuke Hosomi and J. Michael Tatum), who wants him to join the Starling Guild (椋鳥ギルド Mukudori Girudo), whose members' aim is to win by small margins so that their victories do not greatly affect reality. Mikuni has a great influence over both the Japanese Government and the whole of Japan's finance market and aims to own Tokyo's Financial District. Born into a wealthy family, Mikuni was a rebel looking to be a musician; as his band broke up, Mikuni became a personal assistant to his father. When the elder Mikuni's corporation started to crumble as a result of the financial crisis, he chose to save it, denying his terminally ill daughter Takako (貴子) the funds she needed to undergo a medical procedure unavailable in Japan. Swearing vengeance on his father after Takako fell into a coma, Mikuni bought out his father's company with the money he earned from his first victory in the Financial District so as to take away the thing that the elder Mikuni held most dear. Because of this, Mikuni's Asset, Q (キュー Kyū, voiced by Saori Gotō and Monica Rial), is modeled after his sister.
It is later revealed that it is not only individual Entre's future that are at risk. First, Kimimaro starts to notice a few buildings disappearing in Tokyo. Later, Southeast Asian Financial District goes bankrupt and starts disappearing along with Singapore, and parts of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Mikuni then uses his ability "Darkness" (ダークネス Dākunesu) to protect Japan from the effects of the district collapse. In exchange for 20 years of Mikuni's future, Masakaki allows a large quantity of Midas Money to be print and deposited into Mikuni's account. Mikuni and his colleagues use the Midas Money to invest in failing institutions in Japan. Artificially propping up failing banks and enterprises spares the Japanese economy but with that comes unintended consequences. People begin disappearing, poverty increases, birthrates decline, and morale is seen dropping all around as the Midas Money starts to invade the real Tokyo.
To investigate the nature of Financial Districts, the International Monetary Fund sent Jennifer Sato (ジェニファー・サトウ Jenifā Satō, voiced by Mayumi Asano and Martha Harms) to become an Entre in Tokyo. Seeing the effects of Mikuni's action, Sato and Kimimaro try to stop Mikuni from using up all his remaining future to print more Midas Money. Sato is defeated by Mikuni, but not before passing her Asset, George (ジェルジュ Jeruju), to Kimimaro, who confronts Mikuni when he is about to use the Midas Money press once more in exchange for rest of his future. With the help of Masakaki, Kimimaro realizes he is in possession of a black card, giving him the means to revert the press. This quickly escalates in a struggle for control over the press with Mikuni and Kimimaro engaging in a Deal. The battle is concluded when Midas Money disappears from the world along with Mikuni's powers, allowing the crisis to pass through Japan without influence. Declared the winner, Kimimaro orders the reversing of the presses, with the futures returning to their original place. With the Assets disappearing as a result, Mashu gives Kimimaro a kiss before she disappears. Kimimaro returns to reality to find that US dollar has become Japan's official currency, and everyone's futures have been returned to them. However, Masakaki appears and reveals the Financial District can reappear.
C was produced by Tatsunoko Production and was directed by Kenji Nakamura. The script was chiefly written by Noboru Takagi, who also was helped by Manabu Ishikawa, Shinsuke Onishi and Kenji Sugihara. Character designs were handled by mebae, animation character design was done by Takashi Hashimoto, while Yuuho Taniuchi was in charge of art design, and Keiichi Sato was the conceptual designer. Kōji Yamamoto was the main producer, working along with producers Makoto Kimura, Daisuke Konaka and Takeshi Yoda. Hashimoto was the main animation director, Hiroshi Itō was the art director, and Yuzo Sato was the CGI director. Taku Iwasaki composed the musical score, and Yukio Nagasaki was the sound director.
The idea of a money-themed anime arose after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, a 2008 event that resulted in the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and is consired one of the key events of the financial crisis of 2007–08 that led to the Great Recession. However, at first, the anime focus was not the money itself; its premise involved economic battles taking place around the world and the plan was do something more light than the final result. It changed around January 2010 in the culmination of the recession, when Nakamura perceived a common feeling that Japan would not recover from the crash. After starting himself in the history of currency, he conducted over twenty interviews between February and August 2010 with retired politicians from the Central Bank, finance professionals, college professors, NPO members and others. He expected to find a broad consensus but was frustrated to obtain too many divergent opinions and to know that there is no such consensus in economics because it involves human action.
Nakamura was mainly moved by the stories of two interviewees: a trader impressed by how U.S. CEOs were dealing with billions of dollars at the same time the Japanese economy was in a bad condition, showing his concern with his country on the world stage; and the story of the "Future Bank Business Association", a NPO that provided loans to individuals to upgrade their old refrigerators to more efficient models and that received the payment with the difference in energy savings. For Nakamura, both showed the desire to help Japan despite their divergent opinions on how to do it. Even more, they made clear that Japanese people should act and that they could choose between having stability and poverty or chaos and wealth. Nakamura concluded that indecision on wheter path to take led to ruinous consequences so to wait was not an option and people should design the future in the present. At the same time, he was worried about how Japanese were abandoning their concern for the future generation by pushing financial risk to the future. By hearding inspiring stories, Nakamura pondered why people would try to help someone they never met. This question and the necessity to act to build a better future are consired by Nakamaura to be the main themes of C.
In the end, he appointed Naoki Osaka, the editor-in-chief of Toyo Keizai, an economics publisher, to be the anime's advisor and he concluded at once he could not make a "light" economic story. So he purposely made the Financial District setting seem to be something from another world, although it is in fact connected to the real world. This way he can fulfill one of the missions an anime has in his opinion: to bring a difficult and specialized theme in a soft way to an unfamiliar audience. So he kept it as a battle anime as a mean of keeping it entertaining, which also gave him the possibility of changing it into a more in-depth media, gradually introducing finance and macroeconomics jargon metaphorically through the battles. On portraying the characters and their reasons to battle, the team they tried to avoid depicting money as something that would unequivocally make people crazy because they read the gambling-themed manga Kaiji and felth this path should be avoided.
The series' eleven episodes initially broadcast one after the other over Fuji Television's anime-dedicated block Noitamina from April 15, to June 24, 2011. All the episodes had "Matryoshka" (マトリョーシカ? Matoryōshika) sung by Nico Touches the Walls as the opening theme and "RPG" sung by School Food Punishment as the ending theme. The series was licensed to be simulcasted on the Internet in six territories, including the English-speaking Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Funimation Entertainment and Anime on Demand simulcasted the series starting from April 21, 2011 on their own respective websites, while Siren Visual made it available through Anime News Network Australia on April 22. In the United States, the series also aired on the Funimation Channel, beginning on January 14, 2013, and on Pivot TV from October 5, 2013. In the United Kingdom, after Anime on Demand went defunct, it was added to Animax UK streaming site; the first episode was available on March 6, 2015.
The episodes of C were later published on DVD and Blu-Ray in Japan by Toho, who released it into four volumes between August 19, and November 25, 2011. A rental version of the DVD was also made available by Toho from September 9, and December 9, 2011. In the United States, Funimation released an English-dubbed version of the series in a DVD/Blu-ray combo limited edition on October 30, 2012; a budget-priced re-release followed on July 19, 2016. In Australia and in the United Kingdom, it was released on a DVD box with English and Japanese audio available on November 15, 2012 by Siren Visual, and on October 14, 2013 by MVM Entertainment.
- Originally known as [C] - The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, it has been licensed by Funimation as C - Control. However, Funimation also inconsistently lists it as [C] - Control and [C] Control, and also gives the subtitle The Money and Soul of Possibility. MVM Entertainment and Siren Visual refer to it as C for Control. Out of consistency, this article will only refer to it as C.
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