Sometime’s, when consuming tons of media in all of its forms, people get overwhelmed and sometimes forget why they were attracted to something in the first place. In this day and age, there’s so much music, comics, video games and all sorts of other things that are nerdy and geeky that not only vie for our attention, but makes us feel as though we’re keeping up with a routine. [C] – Control is an anime that simply reminded me of my love for the Japanese form of animation and is one of the best series to come out from Japan and Funimation, period. The series follows Kimimaro Yoga, a second year college student, who wishes to become a civil servant and lead a normal life, with a wife and a few kids to raise, in the far future. While working many part time jobs in order to pay for his tuition, he meets a mysterious figure, named Masakaki, who wishes to help him pay for school, at the cost of his life and future. This leads Kimimaro to the Finanacial District, a sort of virtual world of the Japanese economy, where he must do battle, with other entrepreneurs, entre’s for short, in order to create a wealthy future for himself, or die trying.
What’s captivating about the series is its ability to show a focus on a complete fantasy world, while having major ramifications in the real one. At first, I had a few issues with the relationship between Kimimaro and the asset that he uses for battles, Mashyu. He feeds her noodles and teases kisses with her, which certainly comes off as otaku bait and fan service, but eventually makes a point. Even though these things happen, the fact of the matter is that Mashyu is a virtual personification of his assets in the real world and it only makes sense for him to truly care about her, his future and the impact that he can have on the Japanese economy. Economics is the last thing that I imagined being an interesting topic in anime and yet [C] – Control makes this possible. While the series is only 11 episodes long, its tightly scripted by Noboru Takagi (Baccano) and remains consistent in its production value throughout its entirety.
[C] – Control comes in a nice chipboard boxed set, that contains two Blu-Ray cases, one containing the DVD versions and the other containing actual Blu-Rays. The video on the Blu-Ray’s were presented in a beautiful AVC encoded, 1080p HD transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Just about every aspect of this series pops off the screen, from mabae’s character designs to Tatsunoku Production’s level of animation that they’ve brought to the table with the series. The overall aesthetic reminded me of another Tatsunoku show, The Soultaker, with its’s heavy use of red and black colors. The audio on the Blu-Ray’s are presented in two Dolby TrueHD tracks, the 5.1 English track and the stereo 2.0 Japanese track. The English track just blows the original Japanese track right out of the water. From the amazing performances, to the great script adaptation, to the range and immersion that the English 5.1 mix gives you is just monumentally better. While the original track isn’t bad at all, the English track just came off as a perfect fit for the series’ characters and overall tone. The extra’s are somewhat slim, but still pretty insightful and entertaining as well. There’s commentary for episodes 5 and 11 by the English production team, C-Conomics 101, which is a text based crash course on economics and important aspects on an episode by episode basis, promo video’s, commercials and textless outro’s and intro’s. The economics crash course was pretty entertaining and I couldn’t get enough of School Food Punishment’s “RPG” that was really catchy and has a cool QR code that you could actually scan.
[C] – Control is an honest to god, breath of fresh air and easily reminded me of why I’ve grown to love this art form in the first place. It provides an interesting take on a subject that would seem an unlikely candidate and exudes both style and substance the entire time. With its high stakes, cool looking characters and interesting plot, you certainly can’t go wrong by watching this short and sweet series! Highly Recommended!
[C] – Control: The Money and Soul of Possibility is available now from Funimation Entertainment.