Archive for May, 2011

C – 07: continuing the philosophical debate, tarot symbolism, and Q’s monologue

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The episode was, once again, great. It featured the backstories of Mikuni as well as developed the relationship between Msyu and Kimimaro more. I can’t help but think that the assets truly reflect the figurative futures of their entrepreneurs. Mikuni seems to care for no one but his sister, and his future seems to be mired with his sister perhaps getting well. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Q looks a lot like his sister.

Change her hair color, and put horns on her head, and you'll see Q.

I don’t know what to say about Msyu and Kimimaro, however. They’re clearly developing, and Kimimaro’s falling for Msyu just as she is for him. This may suggest that Msyu is his future – that they will end up together, or that she may be one of the important people in his life later on. I can’t say Msyu looks like Hanabi, however. There are certain points in the episode that I’ve noticed, but they were disparate from one another so I divided the post into sections.

The philosophical debate continued: the temporality of Heidegger against Merleau-Ponty’s

What's this?

One of our lectures in a philosophy subject featured a discussion on temporality. The essay was written by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and I remember that it featured the concept of ek-stasis prominently. While I may have mentioned this term tangentially in the past, the concept states that man follows a continuous arc of time, and his egress into the future is a jumping out of his self (thus the term ek-stasis) into the future. Of course it’s a lot more complicated than that, and it doesn’t help that it’s been more than three years since my last lecture in philosophy. As I have had a lot more of philosophy than economics, I feel a lot more comfortable discussing the philosophical concepts imbued in this character drama that has economics as a backdrop.

I know I have rusted over time, however, but I have never forgotten the general gist of ek-stasis as explicated by Merleau-Ponty. I read more about it, so as to hone and remind myself a bit of that knowledge I gained back then, and so as not to be ignorant. The ethical battle occurring in Kimimaro’s mind is closely related to this philosophy of time. With more reading, clear similarities could be noted between the stance of Mikuni and Sennoza to the stance of Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger.

Ek-stasis is a philosophical concept introduced by Heidegger and elucidated further upon by Merleau-Ponty. In a nutshell, Merleau-Ponty illustrates that our then (past) and there (future) has to be situated in a here, or the present. I can’t go into the nitty-gritty because clearly, while I’m not ignorant I know not much about the nuances of philosophy in depth. Merleau-Ponty used the term ek-stasis in the sense that man, from his present, can jump into his past and his future. There can be no there without a here, and no then without a here as well. Everything is seated in the present. This is much similar to Mikuni’s philosophy, and more light has been shed on why he has been acting as such: it was because of his father’s lack of focus towards his family that his sister has been in a coma for quite some time. Because of his father’s failure to act, his sister technically has no future, because she is a vegetable in her present. Those last words her sister made towards him may have been what cemented his actions in the Financial District. In contrast to this is the Heideggerian priority of the there, or the future, reflected upon by Sennoza Kou. It is more mystical, but both have some merit in them: if there was no future to look up to, what is the use of the present? It’s a difficult debate with no easy answers.

More tarot symbolisms

The card the car is driving over seems to be The Empress. The next card will feature Death, as was made obvious by the skull.

I couldn’t help but notice in Mikuni’s flashback that the path illuminated in his way to the Financial District was the Empress placed alongside Death. From Keen.com,

Another intense card combination with similar results is when the Tarot card Death appears alongside The Empress. This means a longtime relationship will end because of a perceived grievance you have delivered to the other person. So much of The Empress card revolves around not realizing the effect you have on others as your pursuits of pleasure take you out of the daily struggle just enough to lose touch with how the world conducts itself. Death is numbered 13 in the Tarot, a higher echo of the number 3 held by The Empress. Both of these cards signal detachment. Death has no relationship to what came before or what ill comes after; it simply moves through with impunity, ending one chapter before another begins. The Empress is detached from having to worry about day-to-day affairs. She can get by on her looks and coast on her money, and she usually does.

Guess what happened between Mikuni and his father? Who is the one who seems to have lost touch with how the world conducts itself because of his pursuit? While this series will probably have no true relation to tarot symbolism and the Qabbalah, the fact that it’s accurate with the small details make me happy.

Q’s monologue

From our esteemed translator anon on /a/,

I am nothing but an asset.
I have no interest on the Entre’s feelings, personal life or on his activities in the real world.
Deals are all the relation between the Entre and the Asset.
That is the principle I believe in.
Nevertheless, my entre often summons me outside of duels, and under the pretext of “dates”, takes me on walks around the Financial District.
He will talk all the time, and enjoy meals alongside me.
To the other entres, it is quite an eccentric sight.
To me it is an unnecessary conduct, but as I see no reason to oppose it, I follow him.
The entre seems satisfied with just that.
However, when I am with the entre, my body enters an unexplainable condition.
As if my chest is tightening, or as if I want to reach out and feel his warmness…
Unique sensations not usually found in assets.
Perhaps that has something to do with the entre’s lost future.
However these are not debilitating and I can carry out my part as an asset.
That must be what the entre desires as well.

Beyond the episode: Kimimaro’s monologue of foreshadowing

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

A certain anonymous translator had provided me with a transcript of Kimimaro’s current monologue that (as of this writing) may have been taken down already. I think it is very telling, but it is difficult to interpret due to the unpredictability of this series. For everyone’s benefit, here it is:

The words that man said. That the true thrill of deals is not in winning or losing. It`s creating, without losing too much or winning too much, the maximum amount of profit while still taking into consideration the effects on the world around you. I believed those words. To accept your destiny of living in this district, and to avoid bringing misfortune to those around you. That that was the right thing. There`s no mistake about it, he said. I was completely convinced. But Sennoza, he rejected the things that man says and does. He said that if all that’s left is a hopeless future, there’s no meaning for the present. What does that mean? How is it different from what that man says? If the objective is to diminish the effects on the real world, aren’t they doing the same thing? But that man says there’s a difference. He says that’s the reasoning of the big fish. I couldn’t understand it. And so I had to fight. That was my only option. However I do not feel as if I won. I was supposed to be fighting for the people around me, but maybe that was wrong.
If Mashu is the representation of my future… If Mashu is the future that was lost… It’s not about sacrificing the present to protect the future, it’s about returning to the future what was supposed to be there from the start. I don’t understand. What is right, and what is wrong. What am I meant to do?

A fluent anon interpreted it as such:

Personally I think that the future that is “lost” is actually a future that would have taken longer to obtain….The potential is there, but since in todays modern society people want everything in their hands instantaneously no matter what the cost. So instead of living your life out normally, you are effectively speeding up your own life span (since if you lose, you tend to have everything you ever wanted to achieve taken away from you.). What I feel that assets in general mean, are what is it that a person wants the most in their life. For Kimmimaro it is someone to love and appreciate and take care of, and at the same time care about him just as much. Msyu essentially is for all intensive purposes the future he most desires. Hanabi could actually be a physical representation of that, or she might not be the actual person, but a stepping stone towards the person he truly wants to fight for.

How about you guys? What do you think about this monologue in light of the aired episodes?

C – Control: a color analysis and chromatology of the series and the ED

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

I was very intrigued with the ED, even from the very first episode. It only escalated my curiosity when I discovered that the QR codes differ from episode to episode and actually mean something. When someone posted the first QR code for the fifth episode, I couldn’t help but notice three colors being mentioned: cyan, magenta, and yellow. This was tangentially mentioned in a physics lecture about light. It had been quite some time, but these colors were the colors that established the modern scientific color theory, if I remember correctly.

I immediately recalled that the ED contained these colors primarily. After re-watching the ED, the color combination was indeed intended; I thought that it reflected the antagonism among the three different forces. While I mentioned two in the previous posts, it cannot be denied that Jennifer Satou represents a third party: she is the party who desires revolution. She is the nihilist, especially in regard to the Financial District: she wants the Financial District totally destroyed to obviate the disruption and the future destruction of the world economy, and from the ruins start anew. The colors can be taken as the three primary ideologies and ethics in the show, or the colors can be interpreted as how the author interpreted it:

According to a certain translator on /a/ who kindly provided me the service of translating the first QR code from the fifth episode,

Good evening. Are you feeling well? As you can see right now, the ending theme of TV series [C] mostly uses three colors, and does that on purpose. These three colors are cyan, magenta and yellow, and these colors were chosen to represent Kimimaro, Mashu and the Financial District, respectively. They were deduced by the color of worn clothes and overall visual impression. Basically, cyan = Kimimaro, magenta = Mashu, and yellow = the Financial District. This is why the cube that is the central point of the ending visuals stays cyan for the whole time and without changing its color to magenta, for example.

Moreover, cyan, magenta and yellow become black if you mix them together. This is, in a word, the future. The future, a mental phenomenon that cannot be observed, stays covered in darkness to us who can only live in the present (This is why the words about “bright future” have such a great impact. Because the future is usually dark, and one is relieved when there is hope about it). However, as the future is always the result of your own actions, like when cyan=Kimimaro, cyan=Mashu and yellow=District are mixed together, everyone should not hesitate and mix other colors together. As this theme will get developed in more detail soon, I thought I should take the risk and tell you about it now.

Doesn’t the ED take on a whole new meaning from this?

Kimimaro disintegrates and becomes a comet. The colors of the comet are cyan and magenta, with magenta at the forefront, just like Msyu acting as Kimimaro’s shield during deals.

Their combination breaks through the yellow rays,

but dodges the blue rays, and again breaks the magenta rays.

The blue squares aren’t broken by the comet; they are already broken when the comet moves past them. While it suggests the destruction of the Financial District, the ending also creates a disturbing image for us: the magenta cap is no longer there, and all we see is a blue comet striking at the magenta heart found at the center of the Financial District. I sincerely hope the series does not end in such a tragedy, but it is only rational that he will destroy the foundations of his future if he destroys the Financial District itself.

Let’s look at it from the alternative standpoint, however, one that hermit /a/non and I initially proposed. What if the colors indeed represented the major players in the Financial District? Hermit /a/non insinuated who was who with a simple scene in the sixth episode: the cheeseburgers of Jennifer (pun not intended) showed it. While she was playing eeny-meeny-miny with the cheeseburgers, she was really only willing to part with either the color cyan, or the color yellow. Yellow seems to represent Mikuni in this regard because he lords over the Financial District. Guess what she does? She devours the yellow cheeseburger: it signifies that she also seeks the destruction of the Financial District. The magenta may have represented her stance, as it was really the only burger she did not think of sharing to Kimimaro. I think it’s also apt, as magenta is considered a rather feminine color compared to cyan. Cyan may have represented Sennoza’s stance, and it’s quite telling that even in their chats she is a lot more sympathetic to Sennoza’s stance than Mikuni’s solely because she kept quiet about it, while she disagreed vehemently with what Mikuni was executing. Going back to the suggestion of the QR code, however, it’s also telling how she leaves the cyan and magenta hamburgers alone.

Observe Kimimaro’s gear, too. He often wears a coat which is colored cyan. The tips are tinged with magenta. His bag is yellow but inside the yellow are magenta squares. It reminded me of how Msyu can only really exist within the Financial District. They are important parts of his person, however it is very noticeable that the bag is only an extension of him whereas he truly wears the coat.

The colors of the show tie in with the CMYK color model, by the way.

A backdrop of economics in a battle of ethics: C – Control – 06

Friday, May 20th, 2011

I have said, even in my previous posts, that this series was marginally about economics. With some reading as well as asking the right people, I think I remain steadfast in that stance of mine: there are major inconsistencies with what the series presents against real-world economics.

With the wings and the woman, the card is reminiscent of the Major Arcana card, Lovers. It suggests love. From what we've seen of Sennoza's actions, he's also quite full of love. It's pretty apt.

First, it’s simply utterly impossible for one man to shoulder a nation’s debt. With regard to the ballooning debt of Japan, it is downright impossible. As of the episode’s airing, the ‘ballooning debt’ of Japan stands at about 750 trillion yen. Mikuni can’t resolve that, even with his guild: that’s what the recent episode confirmed. Mikuni’s actions are mere stopgap measures, but they will eventually sink Japan even lower than it currently is. It’s quite basic economics that an excessive inflow of money into the economy will devalue it.

Second, it’s quite jarring that no one audits Mikuni on his assets. He could bribe people, but it won’t take long for people to notice his immense wealth. Quite frankly, 75 trillion yen will take hundreds of years to pay, even with the robustness of his Starling Guild, essentially because it’s just a really huge amount. The series can’t centrally be about economics because it doesn’t even follow its tenets. It only simulates the situations of the real world, and is a backdrop to the character development and the plot of the show.

Having said that, I think the recent episode elucidated the true nature of the series. It’s essentially a clash of ethics where money serves as a background. The fact that the series stayed away from the actual battle between Sennoza and Kimimaro this episode meant that they wanted the viewer to focus on other things. Most prominently among those ideas is the clash of ideologies primarily between Sennoza and Mikuni, with Jennifer as the third party attempting to resolve the growing problem in Japan as fast as she can.

I think I can safely say I’m a jack-of-all-trades from my excellent academic performance during high school and university. I know quite a bit about different stuff, but I can’t call myself an expert in either philosophy or economics. I could definitely say, however, that I’m more familiar with philosophy than with economics because I have had four philosophy subjects compared to one basic economics course. I can’t say I’m flawless with the nitty-gritty, but I can say something general about what I learned.

I had a Philosophy subject that was Ethics. I got a satisfactory score, but I read a whole lot because our philosophy professor was known to give pretty low grades. He was a great teacher, however. What resonated within me this episode was the utilitarian ethics of John Stuart Mill (I think personified by Mikuni) against the deontological (duty-based) ethics of Sennoza. From what I remembered of utilitarianism, its central tenet was really ‘the greatest good for the greatest number.’ It doesn’t mean that Mill prescribed murder, but from what I remember he was not above that if it was to provide the greatest happiness for the greatest number. The arbitrary part of utilitarianism is that it admits of exceptions that may have a snowball effect later on. It’s obvious that Mikuni attempts to maintain the Starling Guild so that a lot of people can enjoy their lives without being affected by the repercussions of the Financial District. A good example that presents his utilitarian method of thinking is him taking over the entrepreneur with the Pac-man defense asset so that jobs would be preserved and the economy becomes a bit more stable. By doing that action, he weighed one man against thousands, and aided the thousands.

In contrast are the actions of Sennoza, which are ultimately Kantian and deontological. I only remember primarily the central tenet of Kantian ethics, which was the categorical imperative. I also remember that for an action to be morally good, it must consist of a good will. Kant’s three significant formulations of the categorical imperative are:

  • Act only according to that maxim by which you can also will that it would become a universal law.
  • Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.
  • Act as though you were, through your maxims, a law-making member of a kingdom of ends.
  • Among those three, the most easily intelligible is the second. Sennoza has performed all his actions in the Financial District with good will and the future welfare of the different children of the world in mind. He saw humanity as something to foster, whether good or poor, and saw each and everyone he helped as human. He wanted to avoid fighting with Kimimaro because he wanted no harm to occur in the world, and he did not want to harm his children. He was truly benevolent: if everyone acted with the welfare in the world in mind, no one would mind it becoming a universal law.

    Sennoza is genuinely a good person in any iteration of the categorical imperative. Even in his battle with Kimimaro was for the purpose of protecting the future of the children he had helped. He did not change his philosophy even in defeat and was frankly grateful for his independence from the Midas money.

    Kimimaro is at the center of all this. He eventually has to choose how to act, because Mikuni’s actions are inevitably destroying the economy he has thought of protecting. Things don’t get any easier for him when Jennifer illustrates the eventual apocalypse that Mikuni’s actions on the economy will trigger. All he wants to do is protect those who are close to him: Msyu’s battery from Angel’s attacks have greatly affected him, and it is no secret that he’s slowly growing closer and closer to Msyu. Both Sennoza and Jennifer exhort him to find a way to destroy the city, and that will probably be the focal point of the next episodes: he will have to find his own ethics, and stick with that to the very end.

    Ano Hana 4 and 5: waiting and transformation

    Sunday, May 15th, 2011

    It may seem as if I stopped watching Ano Hana because I stopped updating. That’s not really the case: I really just don’t have much to say about it, even if I do like it a lot. I’ve already said as early as the third episode that I doubt Menma is just a hallucination of Jinta’s, especially because she affects physical reality by that much. She can eat, drink, and even cook muffins. Schizophrenics often have auditory hallucinations, and not visual ones, and these auditory hallucinations are often accompanied by god complexes, something that Jinta does not possess.

    This series also has one of the best OP-ED combinations of this season.

    The show isn’t exactly told solely from Jinta’s perspective to be considered as told by an unreliable narrator. The narrator is omniscient more than anything, and is a distant third-person observer, who simply shows their lives as they unfold. Having said that, I admired how they were able to transform Yukiatsu’s character as someone empathetic, who clearly had his own share of problems due to Menma’s passing, but despite that is still able to be a good human being to Anjou even after years of separation.

    It was in this episode that the Honey and Clover vibes intensified for me, especially because of the complex web of relationships that surround the major characters. The two central men love a ghost; the girl who treasures Jinta can’t get past her feelings of regret, and the girl who treasures Yukiatsu can’t get past her cold appearance and aloofness. Both women have been waiting in their own ways for their respective guys to act, but both have been saddled with problems that they themselves have difficulty surpassing.

    The series is essentially a story of friendship and the progression as well as rediscovery of that friendship. The series is not deep in the sense of the philosophical, but it does dig deep into one’s emotions and is a heartfelt series of moving on and living life. It’s shaping up to be one of the best of the year. I was touched with the fact that the extant ladies have been waiting all that time, in their own unique way, not only for their friends, but for their men to sweep them off their feet.

    Potential and entelechy in C – Control: reflections on episode five

    Friday, May 13th, 2011

    As a concept, potential is difficult to grasp as it’s more about the impression the viewer gleans from what he had just seen. One can roughly gauge how much potential a series has, however, even in its very first episode. I have observed that series with high potential are often the series that end up to be the best examples of anime, but this potential can be misleading at times. One of the most notable examples of this (most of the denizens of /a/ actually agree regarding it) is Eden of the East. Some weeks ago, I wrote about how good Eden of the East possibly was (it had a very high potential, judging from its first episode), and yet it smoldered into embers at the end of the series. The movies did little to augment the ending’s failure: it only prolonged the agony and turned more people away from recognizing it as among the best.

    I thought this was a sweet scene.

    Certain series, however, build much expectation and possess such a torrential potential even before the airing of its first episode. A very recent example of this is C – Control, as the title of the series and the absence of information regarding it seemed to project an aura of mystique and intrigue around it. The exemplary director of Mononoke and the Bakeneko arc of Ayakashi certainly helped bolster that expectation. The most that people knew about it was that it revolved around business and finance, and that was certainly enough for me to watch the series. (more…)

    A return to mysticism: C and the tetragrammaton

    Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

    My siblings and I were properly raised to be readers by my father, but I was the most receptive among us. In one of our chats regarding religion, my dad mentioned that the ancient Jews noted of God in the bible as a tetragrammaton. A tetragrammaton is a four-letter word that represents God. To present God’s inscrutability, the tetragrammaton is utterly unreadable and is composed of only consonants. It needed the ‘tongues of wisdom’ for people to pronounce the word, and modern readings of Yahweh are mere approximations of it, but it’s really spelled as YHVH.

    In Qabalistic philosophy, the tetragrammaton is just as important as the Tree of Life represented by the ten sephira, as mentioned in this previous post. Undoubtedly, both are important in the understanding of the (Judaic) God and his ways, as I will elaborate later. How is this tied into the symbolism of C?

    The Midas Card was introduced to us during the first episode of the series, and its potency knows no boundaries. It could summon assets, sell stock, and generate money with successful deals. It had an iconic symbol at its center (presumed to be from the tarot, as I’ve surmised here), but aside from its devilish number is accompanied by a four-letter ticker symbol at the bottom right side of the card. Look at the posted pictures. Are the ticker symbols readable?

    How does one read QFWK?

    While this may bear no significance to the progression of the story, I find the consistency of symbolism with regard to the Financial District laudable.

    The central symbols in the card represent or reflect a tarot symbol. The tarot, in turn, is connected to the tree of life and the sephira as they serve as the connections among the emanations, as can be seen here. The Qabalah is a way of interpreting a connection between God and His creation, or his universe, and one of its primary illustrations are the Sephira.

    The proximity between the tarot symbols and the tetragrammaton-like ticker symbols again seem to be coincidental. However, it has been noted that the tetragrammaton is the other ‘numerical’ illustration of the Qabalah. Just as the Tree of Life is linked by the tarot and branches out into ten emanations, so does the tetragrammaton represent the unrepresentable in four letters. Both are important entities in the qabalah as one relates to the connections between God and his creation, whereas the other presents God in all his inscrutability and complexity.

    Masyu, for example, is MSYU. Mashu is just an approximation, as the tetragrammaton is to God: the tarot, the sephira, and the tetragrammaton are all closely connected with life, and I think it’s all but apt because the Midas Cards are the lifeblood of the people in the Financial District. Bankruptcy, after all, is signified by the card’s breakage.

    The Inferno and Greek mythos in C – Control

    Monday, May 9th, 2011

    Once I start finding a show’s symbols and symbolism to be attractive, it often heightens my appreciation for the show and makes me passionate in my pursuit of understanding more about the series as well as interpreting the symbols in relation to the series. This was the case with Tatami Galaxy, and it is what’s currently happening to C – Control and me. I always loved series that were subtle with their symbolism, especially when they contribute to the milieu of the series and its further development.

    I’ve tried to prove in the past that mysticism has an integral part in C especially in the Financial district. Although the reasons remain to be unclear, one is already more than a third into the series and I sincerely doubt all those symbols to be mere coincidences, as I’ve stated in my three previous posts.

    Since this post is going to be sprawling, I think I should begin with the intricate link between the Qabalah and tarot mysticism, and work from there.

    The Qabalah and the Tarot

    The Qabalah is an important part of Judaistic philosophy that presents, through the Sephirot diagram, God’s relationship with his creations, or with the universe. Among the ten different emanations (marked with a circle), there are 22 relationships that not only correspond with the number of Jewish letters in its alphabet but also of the number of cards in the major arcana of tarot. Occultists did not take long to notice the parallels between tarot mysticism and the Qabalah, and developed that link with years of passionate study. While I honestly read five articles on the relationship between the Qabalah and the tarot, I cannot cover for a half millennia of intense study in just a few hours. I must also admit that I lack knowledge about both entities. What I did glean from the different articles I have read is that both the Qabalah and the Tarot observe and interpret the Tree of Life, or life itself: the two are not merely mystic and occult in nature; they also present life. I find it notable that these arcane symbols of life are solely seen in the Financial District. They do not appear in the real world, which seems contradictory, as the real world reflects more of life than the Financial District.

    This, however, makes sense when the viewer discovered in the past episodes that the Financial District has such a hold in the real world that any major occurrence in the Financial District tornadoes into catastrophe in the real world, as explicated upon by Mikuni in the fourth episode. The real world shivers and quakes from the actions of the FD, but the converse is not true. The real world seems to be the puppet existence in this series.

    Anyway, I also found it amusing that in my research, the Malkuth corresponds to a suit of pentacles in tarot. When the exchange of Msyu’s stock was being done between Kimimaro and Mikuni, guess what suit appeared: it was the suit of pentacles.

    A Mix of Historical Mythology

    Many people have noted that the Financial District presents an infernal image. I think they are correct, but to specify, I think the district channels Dante’s City of Dis. Wikipedia states that:

    Dante emphasizes the character of the place as a city by describing its architectural features: towers, gates, walls, ramparts, bridges, and moats.

    The viewer sees a desolate city with tons of towers, gates, and walls around. I don’t think it’s accidental. Furthermore, the natural inhabitants of the city, the assets, seem to look like the Furies that guard hell’s city. Not only does Q look like a Fury, so does Msyu.
    Wikipedia describes Erinyes physically as:

    The heads of the Erinyes were wreathed with serpents and their eyes dripped with blood.

    Q nearly berserk

    Compare this to the historical portrayal of the Erinyes.

    It sure reminded me of Msyu and Q and of Ebara's asset.

    I disagree, however, with the people who think Masakaki as the Devil himself, with the sole reason that he seems too disjoint from the action in the Financial District. He is more of an observer than an actor, even after a third of the series has already past. I think he was based more on the image of Pluto, who is not merely a god of the underworld, but is also heavily involved with wealth. I thought of this when I thought of the term ‘plutocrat,’ which was a person who domineered an aspect of society or government through his sheer wealth. I think this is closer than thinking of Masakaki as the devil.

    Pluto, according to Wikipedia – one doesn’t really have to look very far, is:

    Pluto (genitive Plutonis) is the Latinized form of the Greek Ploutōn. Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father.” Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place.

    Most people are sidetracked by his abduction of Persephone and his being synonymous to death that they ignore this part of him. I think Masakaki as a pagan god is more apt than the obviously devious devil, and his actions reflect this.

    Conclusion

    To conclude, as these are all just speculations, I think an aberration occurred within the Financial District that connected it to the real world. As it is the realm of gods (or a god), the actions within this area have major repercussions in the real world, just as the actions of gods in Olympus affected how the world ran in Greek mythology. It’s obvious enough that the name of the circulating money in their world is Midas money – it doesn’t take much to connect it to another god known for his wealth, Pluto. I don’t think the infernal method of portrayal of the FD is a representation of hell; I think it presents an ‘underworld,’ and what more can remind us of an underworld than the City of Dis?

    The symbols of life found in both the assets and the players and the mysticism behind them reflect the priority of the Financial District over the ‘real world,’ and it could be seen when one player became bankrupt: this was essentially where life was. Tarot and the Qabalah are known to observe not only one’s current life, but of one’s future lives. It also can be used to predict what will happen. It symbolically applies to the future collateral of the players in the FD.

    I think Kimimaro was led into the FD by his father to correct this aberration (remember the mysterious notebook), and to free the real world from being affected by the actions within the FD. In contrast, Mikuni seeks to stabilize the FD to produce the same effect. There is something devious within the FD that I am as yet unfamiliar with that will propel Kimimaro to want to destroy the source of it all, as the ED suggests. Kimimaro will probably want to break the puppet strings between the FD and reality; Mikuni wants to maintain it with his guild and way of winning. I think this will be the source of friction between them from what I have researched, although all these are just guesses.

    C and mysticism: the Qabalah, the Sephirot, and the Tarot

    Saturday, May 7th, 2011

    When Kimimaro sold Masyu’s stock in the fourth episode of C, the symbol struck me as something I’ve seen in Evangelion before. It was actually the symbols of the Qabalah: it was the Sephirot. The Sephirot is the symbol for the 10 emanations of the Qabalah. The Qabalah is a Judaic school of thought that discusses the relationship between God and the universe He created. As I’m not expert in its philosophy, I’ve provided links where one can read about it. (Kudos belong to wasabi of MAL for telling me what the diagram for the Qabalah was actually called. He reminded me of something I already suspected.)

    The stock that Kimimaro sold was actually the location of the Malkuth, or the Kingdom. It is the only attribute of God that does not emanate directly from God. It emanates from God’s creation (one could perhaps interpret it in this series as the players’ assets). The description, as always, fits:

    [The Malkuth is a]Female vessel for the pregnant nurturing of the male lights of the emotional sephirot into action/becomes the Keter Will source for any subsequent lower level in Creation/accomplishment/realization of the Divine Plan.

    Msyu’s Kingdom is actually located in her womb (her vagina), the location where a normal lady can get pregnant. It is the location where the female vessel can and will get pregnant. Msyu, as a woman, is also the source of the realization of Kimimaro’s plan. Finally, tarot symbolism is heavily related to the Qabalah, as this picture suggests.

    What connects the emanations - are actually the major arcana.

    It may not really affect the plot in a major way, but I’m glad with the series’s attention to detail. The tarot and qabalah are quite closely connected, as they both explore the tree of life.

    C-4: tarot symbols established, and an explosive beginning

    Saturday, May 7th, 2011

    With the continuance of my observations regarding the previous episodes, I’ve become more convinced that tarot symbolism pervades the series especially in the Financial District. I think that it’s only apt because the Financial District is a mysterious, alternate reality that is out of reach to most existents in the real world. Whereas the major arcana depict the major players in the series and the cards that they possess, I’ve noticed that actions within a deal often show not only concepts in economics but reflect the meanings of certain cards in the minor arcana. In the succeeding paragraphs I will attempt to correlate the minor arcana with their appearances and their interpretations in the desire to create a link beyond mere coincidence and solidify tarot mysticism’s place in the Financial district.

    Five of Cups

    I think this episode established that the tarot symbols are anything but consequential: they are very deliberate, and they present themselves not only as reflections of the major characters that hold the cards, but are also seen in the actions during battle that the characters make. When Kimimaro was forced to sell a part of his asset, for example, the action he made seemed to create a picture of five cups (I actually counted them).

    Not very obvious, but I'm assuming that's the five of cups.

    Although the Waite-Smith deck does not reflect the picture as much as I would like, here is its picture:

    It is a card of loss, but something remains over; three have been taken, but two are left; it is a card of inheritance, patrimony, transmission, but not corresponding to expectations; with some interpreters it is a card of marriage, but not without bitterness or frustration.

    The description, as taken from Supertarot, again fits the actual incident in the show: Kimimaro is down on his luck and was quickly losing money because of the Poison Pill attack from his professor. He needed some help, and he inherited money from Mikuni because of that.

    The Poison Pill: the Queen of Cups

    The Queen of Cups

    When Ebara enacted his special attack, the Queen of Cups was the predominant imagery shown, although there were also parts from The Moon (the lobster), and The Star. Like the Five of Cups, this card belongs to the minor arcana. According to SuperTarot,

    [S]he sees, but she also acts, and her activity feeds her dream.

    That’s pretty much the professor pat down. He acts because he wants to let his family prosper, but he also dreams. I’m glad he didn’t have any anger toward Kimimaro despite what Kimimaro did to him, although I also think he expected it given the nature of their competition. In the end, just like in real-life business, sometimes one gets lucky with the people he or she knows. What happened to his family was truly tragic, however, but I am glad that he has taken it with a bit more levity than his contemporaries.

    The Trade: the Seven of Pentacles

    Per SuperTarot:

    The Seven of Pentacles suggests borrowing money to finance a project.[!] Coming up against obstacles to success. Hard work with no sign of success. It is a card of money, business, barter; but one reading gives altercation, quarrel — and another innocence, ingenuity, purgation.

    I myself was surprised at how apt it was at that juncture: Mikuni traded for a stock in Kimimaro’s asset, essentially borrowing money to finance his survival in the financial district. I assumed it was pentacles because it was the only round object among the minor arcana. It’s undeniably apt.

    Scorched Earth: The Queen of Wands

    Notice how the flower looks like the ball in the series?

    From SuperTarot:

    […] love of money, or a certain success in business.

    I am not even making any of these up. The tarot symbols overlap with the events of the story.

    White Knight: The Knight of Wands

    This will be the last post that I will correlate the symbols of Control and the actions during deals. All I can say is that more than ten points of synchrony is a lot more than just mere consequence, and that the symbolism of this show is really heavily based in tarot mysticism. An /a/non helped me with more pictures, so a lot of thanks to that guy.

    The final symbol we’ve noticed is the White Knight of Mikuni.

    Compare this to the Knight of Wands:

    SuperTarot says:

    suggests the precipitate mood, or things connected therewith.

    I rest my case. That’s a lot more than just coincidence.

    Conclusion

    I honestly thought that this was the best episode of the series as it is the first episode where Kimimaro realizes the full repercussions of his actions in the financial district, as well as the episode where he has finally made up his mind regarding his participation in the financial district. I was utterly floored not because it was only smart, but because it finally showed a heart that was lacking in the previous episodes. That simple declaration of determination by Kimimaro at the end of the episode introduced to us that beneath the cutthroat economics [Scorched Earth, Poison Pill, and White Knight are terms used to describe company takeovers in general] and competition lie the perseverance of a boy unwilling to lose against his demons. It gives a whole lot of significance to the introductory animation of the ending where Kimimaro stands on top a pyramid of money, raising his asset while nearly simultaneously appearing with the message ‘I HAVE CONTROL.’

    The aptness of the ED only bolsters this love I have for the series, as it’s just so apt: it’s not merely a role-playing game he’s playing, especially in light of his teacher’s defeat. He is in to play for his life, and for the people he loves.