Money….the one thing you definitely need in this world to survive whether you are on your own, with a partner or significant other or family. That is especially true once you’re in college and you have to be super frugal with the way you spend money. Although that might be hard with your peers who got all the money in the world (mostly due to “Mommy” and “Daddy”) that spends it on partying, drinking, fucking….you get the memo.
But imagine if there was something that can get you all the money and wealth in the world……at a price.
Not gonna lie, something like this would sound like a good idea at the time and definitely something I do see noitanimA being interested in but the further I got into the series……well, you see. First, THE PLOT!!
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 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.
OK, the most interesting thing about this show is how the idea was made as director Kenji Nakamura (series director of Mononoke, Trapeze and Gatchaman Crowds along with Insight as well) was effected by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy during the time we were going through the Financial Crisis around 2007-08 that led to the Great Recession and he thought of doing something about economic battles and for what was presented, I was fascinating and surreal at the same time of seeing people engaging in these shounen-type battles for cash although if you’re one not into the whole economics jargon and all that, you could get lost into some parts of the story but if you are someone into economics, this could interest you the majority of the time.
I do also like the after-effects of doing these battles and what happens when you lose or bet it all, that your punishment will be more tragic than going broke and some people who did lost or at least one for myself, I truly felt sorry for that character and it shows the dire consequences that will happen once you enter that life. The show does capture the themes of financial risk for the future even if it felt like a typical doom and gloom scenario out of any other anime.
As interesting as the story and concept of this is……I wish the characters were, too. There aren’t bad per se, in fact they’re alright characters with the simplest motivations of doing what they do and why they do it but I wasn’t all that concerned with them. Kimimaro Yoga is our lead and yes, he’s actually a college student this time and of course, he’s trying to live a stable life and yeah, I see why he entered that battle world. Dude needed some extra cash….all of us know that feeling he’s going through. However, I will say that his whole thing about finding out about what happened to his father….that feeling came and went and I barely care about his friendship with his Asset Mashu [Oh, an Asset is a special creature who personifies their futures paired with each Entre (I.E. entrepreneur)], considering near the end they were trying to do something with those two hooking up and I couldn’t care less. Masakaki is another character who did his part of showing Kimimaro the world of the Finanical District and elder Entre Soichiro Mikuni, who wants to control the Financial District and of course, he got some back story to explain all of this.
The animation and art style is oddly surreal and unique especially with the design of the Financial District and the digital vibe in its surroundings and Tatsunoko Productions are definitely the studio that can deliver a crazy and expressive art design here. As I mention before, the battle scenes does felt like something from any shounen series. Hell, it almost feel like something you see from any Yu-Gi-Oh! series.
OK, I got nothing big to say about the score….it’s the standard action anime score with a bit of techno fare added in there. The opening theme “Matryoshka” sung by Nico Touches the Walls and the ending theme “RPG” sung by School Food Punishment are OK for what songs they are. The sequences and animation for said opening and ending themes have stellar animation but the songs aren’t all that memorable or worth looking it up to revisit.
Oh…..and as for the dub…..first things first, it is a serviceable dub with the usual performances you get from Todd Haberkorn (Kimimaro), Brina Palencia (Mashu), J. Michael Tatum (Mikuni) among others and yet there is one elephant in the room that I have never mentioned before in my reviews when it comes to dubs, especially FUNi dubs and that is the voice of Masakaki aka Scott Freeman. Who’s that? He was a voice actor for Funimation dubs who has notable roles such as Issei Hyodo in the first 2 seasons of High School DxD and England from Hetalia: Axis Powers but….in 2014, he was arrested for eight counts of possession of child pornography and has been terminated from that company and his roles since then has been filled by other VAs. Yet it’s not the first time I covered an anime dub that got a VA that later on got in trouble with the law although I did forget to mention that in that review. Anyway, his acting in here is OK. He’s fine in this role and that’s it.
FINAL VERDICT: [C] Control has a lot to admire about its premise, its ideas and the execution and on the surface, it does succeed but on a character level, it’s only goes halfway as our main characters aren’t worth that caring much about and we can see their reasons coming from a mile. In Layman’s terms, it’s good but not great. I would recommend this if you stream it first.
So, how much is this show worth?
[C] CONTROL is available on DVD & Blu-ray via Funimation (their S.A.V.E. Edition – hey, you’ll save some cash) and of course, streaming on their site, Hulu and even on YouTube via FUNi’s account.
I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and remember Cash Rules Everything About Me….don’t let it rule you.
[C]CONTROL: THE MONEY AND SOUL AND POSSIBILITY – animated by Tatsunoko Pro / licensed by FUNimation Entertainment