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Watch & Learn: [C] - CONTROL #11

Another inconclusive and frustrating ending in a long tradition!

Like Rambo would say... NOTHING IS OVER!!!
Like Rambo would say... NOTHING IS OVER!!!

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.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

ninjadude853on July 11, 2011 at 6:22 p.m.
Wait, this is the last episode? Really?
ReyGitanoon July 11, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.

Don't you see Tom? They don't need to explain to why living for the present is better than living for the future, because obviously people are now happy instead of totally depressed and disappearing like before!

Enough sarcasm.Yeah, nothing about this ending is justified. This series felt like an interesting idea that just never had the thought put into it needed in order to make it work. That said if they end up making more of this, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested; it was still one of my favorite series of the season.

Rxanaduon July 11, 2011 at 6:36 p.m.
In a weird way, I'm both glad and a tad shocked that you didn't like this show's finale.  I'm glad because you saw the same contradictions that most people saw when this first aired; I'm shocked, however, since you usually have some sort of opposing opinion about something the majority has with something that occurs in a show (i.e. the Euphemia incident left you in stitches, whereas everyone else was a little shocked by the events that transpired). 
I think the rest of us agree with you: the story had some promise, though the execution was a tad disappointing in the end.
Rexicon July 11, 2011 at 6:45 p.m.
well if this is over i dont see why you cant finish mushishi here.
metalsnakezeroon July 11, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.
The problem this series has is that it is too short and could had a lot more to give with its subject matter. As of now, it is a interesting piece of work and I'm happy they made this. 
zombiecookieon July 11, 2011 at 9:15 p.m.

... You mixed up Mikuni and Masakaki.

edit: fixed

Dunchadon July 12, 2011 at 2:14 a.m.


It wasn't made clear, what the Assets really were. The theory was that they represented the Entres future - but in what form? Msyu could've easily been the personification of Kimimaro's future love or happiness. Or if you want to take the clear link between Mikuni's Asset and his sister as proof that Assets are actual people - then Msyu could be Kimimaro's lover in the future.

But considering his father's Asset looked the same (or was the same?), I think it means that Assets are just personifications of possible futures - not actual people. Which makes Msyu disappearing kind of sad.

Dunchadon July 12, 2011 at 11:26 a.m.


Oh... was there a scene like that? I have no recollection of that. :)

Hmm... that does put a weird spin on things. Msyu disappearing was not meant to be sad - but I found it so. Because the Msyu that had existed up until that point was gone and next time Kimimaro would meet "her", "she" could be someone or something totally different. So in my eyes - the Msyu we knew, died.

As for Q - she does have weird emphasis on it, but it's quite normal. It just means she always uses keigo. Polite way of speech means using "masu" and "desu" after verbs and using "o" prefix on stuff besides things like tea (ocha). There's a good Wikipedia artical about all this which is a good read (Japanese Honorifics), if you're interested.

zaldaron July 12, 2011 at 3:39 p.m.
I really have to disagree.  Our main character here wasn't acting like an idiot and he was in the right.  Giving up the future to protect today is not the right thing to do.  But like the Gods of c said, everyone was right there is no right :).  They had to tie themselves to the economic fortunes of America and so loose some of their economic freedom but everyone survived and had a future.  I expect it wasn't that the countries dissapeared as in everyone died but they went to a future where they were no longer economically independent.  
Remember that he wasn't just killing entre's but people outside the system as well.  The children were going away right in front of him.  Now his professor has his children back.  Of course it is always true that the future could still be frittered away...thus the financial district survives.

I am very much a future orientated person like our main character.  The future of myself, my family and my country are of much more importance to me than the present.  Japan is very much that way as well, this is why they all work so hard, the community is more important than the individual.  This is why I disagree with the huge deficits my country is running.  Living for today only is never the right thing to do.  But again, it is an argument that people can always have there is no right answer :).
As for the assests, his was his sister that his father lost before he killed himself (or perhaps it represented his girlfriend either works) his antagonists was also his sister (hence why they looked similar) who he was willing to sacrifice the future for.  Thus was the battle joined. 
Edit: after reading comments above.
Wow...people really didn't like this?  I really didn't find it that hard to understand....
Check out what I posted above and comment.  Perhaps it comes from personal philosophy but I loved this show.  I think I will like steins gate better but that is only because it had another season which this could have used definitely.    Still even if this didn't work completely (which I think is arguable) it at least tried to say something which makes it better to my mind than much of the moe stuff that comes out currently.  
Tom and rest.  As you are finding ambiguous endings are par for the course in Japan and anime.  Much of Japanese culture is encapsulized in the man upstairs saying there is no right or wrong just differing viewpoints.
Darokion July 12, 2011 at 8:58 p.m.

I think I have a grasp on the last episode, although it's ambiguous enough that it's left open to some interpretation, or misinterpretation. Demons like Masakaki feed on the futures of the countries they inhabit, and once they're is nothing left to mortgage for the present from the future, the country is so far into it's own debt that it collapses and disappears. So Mikuni's mortgaging of that future gives Masakaki and those he serves what they want, and he's fine with that. Meanwhile Yoga is trying to reinvest the Midas Money, the "future" back into the system and since there's a mine of "futures" for Masakaki to obtain in Japan, he's fine with that too. He's just hit the win-win situation which allows him to take Ryuk's role in Death Note of just letting it fly where it might, for he's either going to obtain the future now, or maybe even more of a future later.

It may be inconclusive, but are economists conclusive about when you pull funds out of your 401K and take the penalty? It was thought to be an absolute that you NEVER do this, but now more people are saying that maybe there are times where you should. In doing so you're effectively mortgaging your future stability for potential short term gain, a mirror to the situation Mikuni and Yoga are fighting over. Mikuni wants to withdraw now to protect against a current situation, Yoga wants to leave the investment be to protect the future.

zaldaron July 13, 2011 at 11:26 a.m.
Oh I was upset when this only got one season or cour as they call it in Japan.  Definitely could have used even more fleshing out.  This and Steins Gate are the best shows of the season.
Fat_Magnumon July 13, 2011 at 5:02 p.m.
@zaldar: Yeah, my fingers are crossed that it gets enough publicity to be given more time in development =D
zaldaron July 13, 2011 at 7:34 p.m.
yeah me to will be coming over here so I will be buying it.
Orlandu84on July 17, 2011 at 11:24 a.m.
Tom, I agree with basically everything that you said. Also, great use of "obfuscating!" I liked C - Control, but I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, it lacked the perspective to see how confused its thinking on economics really was. Still, having an anime about economics that was engaging is an accomplishment worthy of praise.

Dig Deeper into C - CONTROL

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