At last, after all these years, we finally have an answer to all those fairy tales with their touchy-feely messages of how it’s best to live for the present instead of the future or the past.
Out of all the words I’m searching for to describe this latest frustrating, ambiguous ending from Japan, “obfuscating” seems like the most fitting. Look, I hate convention and tidiness a great deal, but it’s tough to feel a climax when your protagonist is acting like an idiot and the narrative's somehow still presenting him to be in the right. This isn’t a gray morality situation like in DEATH NOTE where you have some latitude to agree with L or Light depending on your own moral compass. This is like an undergrad arguing with his professor over semantics because he wants everybody in class to think he’s a profound thinker.
Yoga’s upset with Mikuni because he sacrificed entres in the financial district to protect Japan from getting snuffed tight off of the Pacific, correct? If they embody individuals' futures, and this is supposed to be a metaphor for short-sighted policy, what exactly does it mean when Yoga's having a cute make out with his own future (Mashu?) The narrative equivalent of mixed metaphors, I think.
I really shouldn’t be surprised that the ending of what’s essentially MACROECONOMICS 101: THE MOVIE would be solved by something akin to the intervention of Adam Smiths’ “invisible hand.” Essentially it’s a deus ex machine - - or maybe, more accurately, a "god from money" - - wherein all this fury and drama ended up serving to just stir up a personified market that would ultimately act in the better interests of everybody. I was guessing that was what [C] – CONTROL was going for, at least, until impish pimp Masakaki showed up to throw a cryptic, inconclusive “THE END…?” on it all. Didn’t they spend a bunch of episodes stressing that a country would disappear if it’s Financial District ever collapsed?
You know, I’ve always preferred original works over any reboots, remakes, rebuilds or re-dos, but I’m starting to wonder if they’re a necessity for a story like this which stems so directly from current events. There’s a fantastic premise, stellar animation and an absolutely bravura final battle here (dark matter and cotton candy confetti make for visual delight,) but I truly feel like this would benefit from somebody coming along later and doing it over to make all the inventive ideas actually fit together cohesively. I described this as being like TRON meets WALL ST. at the beginning and, while I initially appreciated how it wasn’t falling into another Faustian allegory, I almost wish it did now because that plot - - while familiar and predictable - - would have at least tied up coherently.
I still stand by my praise that this is a fantastically-creative work that’s years ahead of the curve. However, maybe it’ll actually take a few years for somebody else to have the distance and perspective to touch on the same themes in a way that isn’t obfuscating (like I said.)
Watch this episode “Control" below, decide for yourself and then read my comments on the previous episode here.