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

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.


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.

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6 Responses to “C-4: tarot symbols established, and an explosive beginning”

  1. The Hermit /a/non Says:

    It’s always nice to have your insight on this series, I’m glad I could help you even a little with these pictures (honestly, I didn’t even think to compare them to the minor arcana until you mentioned it)
    I absolutely love the kind of attention to details this series is having and I’m sure we’ll see more and more of this tarot symbolism with each new episodes.
    I look forward to read your next post about this amazing anime.

  2. Michael Says:

    Thanks for the help, and thanks for the comment! I also love this type of attention to detail which is the reason why I can write about it so much. Thanks for the compliment, hermit /a/non!

  3. vendredi Says:

    This sort of thing just keeps reinforcing the Shin Megami Tensei vibes I got going into the series. Great screencaps, and good catches on the minor arcana – they’re not quite as well known and they’re more difficult to catch.

    Although C’s animation isn’t the best looking show I’ve seen it certainly has a lot of style and character – the design work for the cards in particular is gorgeous. It’s the sort of show where I wish there was more funding to do it justice.

  4. Michael Says:

    Hey, vendredi!

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen you around. Hah. As I’m unfamiliar with Shin Megami Tensei, can you explain how similar it is to C? Thanks for the compliment.

    C’s animation isn’t the best. It’s not as fluid as Tatami Galaxy’s, and there’s probably a struggle with the budget. I do agree that the design in the cards is beautiful, and I also agree that this show should have more budget to do what it wants.

  5. Sapphire Pyro Says:

    Oh they really can’t be just coincidences *_* It seems that the staff did more research than we think O_O

    The tarot references in the series made me more impressed with it. It’s about money after all… someone’s FORTUNE… which has more than one definition yet very related. I’m amazed that the series managed to connect the occult/mysticism and economics/finance to each other. The Tarots also had something to do with money… oh wow wow wow wow wow

    “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. ”
    = ditto~

  6. Michael Says:

    Sapphire Pyro:

    Ten instances of ‘coincidences’ really just doesn’t cut it. They did more research than it seems.

    And exactly – tarot deals a lot with one’s fortunes, and I guess that’s a very essential point that’s dealt with in the series. Thanks for your comments!

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