Tarot mysticism and the symbolism in C – Control

When I started watching C, I really thought that the symbols in the Financial District were both arcane and yet strangely familiar to me. Because I absolutely liked the introductory instrumentals, I kept on replaying the ending credits sung by School Food Punishment. This allowed me to look at the ‘credit card’ Kimimaro was holding, and it was strangely reminiscent of the tarot deck. It was then that I discovered that the majority of the symbols in the series were based on tarot mysticism, and the undeniable synchrony between the cards the characters own and what their symbols represent in tarot in comparison to their own personalities made me realize that there was more to the cards than just the pictures: they essentially reflected their entrepreneur’s personalities.

In the opening animation, there were four showed: there was a card with a skull; a card with a sun (Kimimaro’s); a card with a moon (Jennifer Satou’s); and a card with an octopus (Mikuni’s). Three out of the four of these cards seem taken straight out from the major arcana in a tarot deck: the skull represented the death card; the moon represented the moon; the sun represented the sun. Only the octopus seemed out of place, and it was the one that took the most figuring out. I looked closer into the major arcana of the Waite-Smith deck, however, and noticed that the Wheel of Fortune had eight lines radiate from its axis. The octopus also has eight tentacles (thus its name), and when I looked into what the card symbolized, it seemed that it reflected Mikuni’s personality spot-on.

The suggestive symbolism does not end there, however. Midas Money has a devil in its centerpiece, and the devil there is eerily similar to The Devil in tarot mysticism. The meaning behind The Devil, and what Midas Money seemingly represents, are also congruent with each other. Without further ado, let me proceed into the individual ‘credit cards’ of the Financial District. So as to keep things from becoming even more complicated, I will refer to only one reference and consistently refer to it through the course of my discussion.

The Sun

So as to be uniform with the explanations, I will be consistently quoting from Supertarot. Here is the site’s explanation for the Sun:

Quite simply, the Sun indicates wealth, success, and happiness in the family. Look to the surrounding cards for where that wealth and success might come from. When weak, the Sun indicates the reversal of fortunes and problems in the family.(emphasis mine)

The Sun in tarot mysticism is often a positive card: it indicates wealth, affluence, and material happiness. Continuing from the site’s interpretation of the Waite-Smith deck, however:

The card signifies, therefore, the transit from the manifest light of this world, represented by the glorious sun of earth, to the light of the world to come, which goes before aspiration and is typified by the heart of a child.

Not a bright yellow, but a dull orange.

The Financial District may be interpreted as the light of the world to come. The Sun, however, also represents the innocence of a child’s heart: among the characters in The Financial District, I’ve not yet seen someone younger than Kimimaro. It is quite telling that The Sun in his credit card does not shine: it is a dull orange than a scintillating yellow, and this exactly reflects Kimimaro’s condition. He is currently having problems in the family brought about by the downfall of his father from a certain event in the past. He is financially unstable. There is no absence of hope with this card, however, as it is essentially a positive sign – and we’ve seen that with his first battle.

The Moon

One saw that Jennifer Satou’s card in the third episode was The Moon.

Remember that Jennifer’s asset was a huge wolf-like creature. In the Waite-Smith tarot deck, The Moon contains two creatures, and one of them is a wolf. Taken once again from Supertarot,

The Moon indicates deception, chaos and confusion. If this card comes up in relationships, expect a foggy picture – does the client have a boyfriend? She isn’t sure. Does she want the man? She isn’t sure. Does she want to keep him? She isn’t sure. What is he up to? She isn’t sure. Whatever the case, lower your expectations of bringing clarity, however long the reading. Boundaries are ill-defined, vague or non-existent. The solution is usually to work on the client so that she can see certainty in terms of her own life, rather than what other may or not be doing.

Of course, deception, chaos and confusion can also work to the client’s benefit, so if she does not want people to know what she is up to, the Moon is an excellent sign she will not be discovered. This card is good for spies, illusionists, stage magicians, politicians, and anyone else who do not want others to know what they are really doing.

It is also telling that The Moon is the only feminine symbol among the four ‘credit cards.’ Compare it to the players who own a Moon as a credit card – there is only Jennifer.

Death

Mikuni paid Taketazaki for some information regarding Kimimaro’s father in the third episode. His credit card was notable for containing a skull. In tarot mysticism, the only card with a skeleton in the foreground is the Death card. Supertarot describes it as

Death and transformation are the obvious interpretations. Death is related to Scorpio and the 8th House, which is about other people’s money, secrets and sexuality. So, finding about into the sexual proclivities of someone is one interpretation. If you want to know what or where the secrets are, the cards around Death will give you a clue. This card has strong obsessional connotations. The money, values and sexuality of our partner is indicated. If the Death card is surrounded by Disks cards, this is a generally a good sign of improving finances.

The viewer does not know much about this player, but the symbol is certainly apt from what we’ve seen of Taketazaki.

The Wheel of Fortune

This was the symbol I had the most difficulty of relating to the series. After all, the series featured an octopus instead of a wheel. Notice, however, the Wheel of Fortune according to the Waite-Smith deck:

Its axle branches out into eight different lines. Although I do not know of the symbolism, I do recognize that an octopus has eight tentacles: it has eight ‘branches.’ I think what further convinced me of the symbolism’s synchrony with Mikuni’s character is the description of the Wheel of Fortune according to Supertarot:

The Fortune tarot card is great to see when a client wants change. Generally there is movement and transformation, but you have to look at the cards around it see where the change is coming from or going to. When weak, the client may be fighting the change, or alternatively he is going round in circles. The client may feel at a loss or bewildered by change that is going on around him. While Fortune is a positive card, remember to check what it is transforming – it may not be what your client actually desires.

Among the characters we’ve seen, it is Mikuni who desires the most change among the characters of the financial district. As to what his ends are, we are unfamiliar with as yet, but he is no doubt the catalyst to the world’s acceptance of Midas Money. Of note from the Waite-Smith deck is the bull-like creature in the lower left of the card, as Mikuni’s asset during the first episode is also a bull that gives off an Egyptian aura. In fact, he seems akin to Anubis at times. The card contains a creature that looks like Mikuni’s asset in the first episode, and it is the creature serves as the foundation to the Wheel of Fortune.

Notice the similarity between this figure and the figure in the tarot card?

The similarities don’t end there, however.

The Fool

Masakaki looks a lot like the deck’s Fool, especially because he looks like a jester and carries a staff that is reminiscent of the Waite-Smith’s Fool:

Let’s look at Masakaki:

Tell me if he doesnt look like a jester.

SuperTarot says:

The Fool card is the first card of the Tarot deck; it represents the beginning of something. It is almost impossible to predict exactly what will happen, since it is invariably something new, and not based upon what has gone before. The Fool defies rationality or logic. This creates an excitable sensation, a frisson or shock to the system.

The Fool can represent the desire for rebirth, or making a new start to life, but with the proviso that the future path is not mapped out. The Fool is Nothing and Everything. It is the Empty set that contains all within it. The Fool is associated with fertility and the primal energy of Spring with the connotations of birth, rebirth, and transformation (Jesus died on the cross and rose again).

As a strategy, the Fool is all about avoiding the common path that everyone treads. It is finding new viewpoints, new ideas, shocking concepts, beliefs, or views. For hints as to where the Fool might be going, look to the cards around it, but remember that we may also be seeing nascent energies emanating from these cards. If you desire something different, a fresh start, the Fool is the card for you.

The Fool represents crazy wisdom that shocks the listener into new states of consciousness. You can never retread a tyre when the Fool is around.

The Fool is an indescribable state of consciousness that works on impulse. It can never allow an external influence – everything is from within.

When the Fool struggles, there are problems getting out of a rut – nothing new seems possible. In the past, there are regrets over a new start that never materialised.(emphases mine)

It must be noted that Masakaki essentially exists only in the Financial District, although he invites new potential customers from the real world: everything in the Fool is from within.

The Devil

Last, but not the least, we have The Devil.

Look at the staff that Masakaki also brings.

Again, according to SuperTarot:

The Devil is an excellent indicator for success in business and career. Ambition of all kinds, which could override the wishes of others, is very likely. The desire to dominate is strong. Astrologically this card is Capricorn and the 10th house, which is also the position of the father. When the Devil is weak, the client will often feel put upon, under stress, unable to move or change careers. There may be repression or bullying at work. Alternatively, the client is obsessed about work and career, and their place on the greasy pole.

Look at the Midas Money:

There are simply too many similarities for it to be mere coincidence. From how the symbols were presented, however, it helps the viewer be hopeful regarding Kimimaro. Although his Sun is not yet shining, the card that he was dealt with is undeniably strong and positive. All he has to do is have faith in himself. His Sun will shine yet.

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7 Responses to “Tarot mysticism and the symbolism in C – Control”

  1. Taka Says:

    Awesome post, I always love when I show can incorporate symbolism into the show without it being blatant. Something there for someone to research and think about. Eden of the East to me had a lot of symbolism but it didn’t seem to have much significance on the story. The tarot card symbolism does seem to work for each character. Also I’m curious what Mikuni’s card actually looks like, did you save a picture of it?

  2. Michael Says:

    Taka:

    Thanks. I always love series like these where symbolism is presented to heighten the appreciation of those who could pick it up. The tarot card symbols actually reflect the personalities of the characters themselves and I feel that it will gain meaning through the succeeding episodes.

  3. Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: The Tetragrammaton and C « Says:

    […] of a series of posts about C and these connections.  Earlier, Michael went into detail about tarot mysticism and discussed the Qabalah […]

  4. Tarot Says:

    Very interesting Comments, and I agree with most of what you say

  5. Love Tarot Says:

    Lots of people look at Tarot as a pure divination method. But Tarot is way more. Tarot will show you more about yourself. It shows you exactly what your needs and wishes are. It reveals your deeper motives. In this way Tarot really helps to get a better life.

  6. Miracle Falcon Says:

    Hey, about the number eight – in Christian symbolism, at the very least, it is the number of the resurrection – rebirth. Also, taken from http://www.whats-your-sign.com/spiritual-meaning-of-numbers.html:

    Eight: The symbolism backing number Eight deals largely with business, success, and wealth. This is due to the fact that Eight represents continuation, repetition, and cycles. Such elements are seen in arenas where success is obtained simply because of dogged determination and repetition. Also, matters of business and wealth largely depend on cycles to fulfill their manifestation. It’s like the snowball analogy: As it continues to roll, in gets bigger and bigger with each revolution. Eight represents that kind of momentum.

    This is something I’ve been thinking about Mikuni: his way of doing things doesn’t put an end to the problem he’s trying to mitigate, it just continues it. This seems to fit for me.

  7. Vinh Says:

    I recently finished [C] – Control and loved it. This information regarding the tarot cards only adds further to it. Thank you very much for this!

    There were a few points here that I had interpreted differently.

    * SPOILER WARNING *

    “The Sun, however, also represents the innocence of a child’s heart: among the characters in The Financial District, I’ve not yet seen someone younger than Kimimaro.”

    I don’t think this has anything to do with age, and if anything, lends further credence to the possibility that Msyu is Kimimaro’s future daughter. Msyu represented his future and his future was a child. From the beginning we’ve known that Kimimaro thought a lot about stability and normalcy. He wanted a family and to be able to provide for them–no doubt resulting from his feelings of abandonment from his own father.

    “Among the characters we’ve seen, it is Mikuni who desires the most change among the characters of the financial district.”

    Actually no! Mikuni wanted the LEAST change. His aim was to preserve the present at all cost. In fact, the sentence that should be emphasized here is:

    “When weak, the client may be fighting the change, or alternatively he is going round in circles.”

    This describes Mikuni perfectly. He appears strong, but he is in fact very weak. He clings to the life of his terminally ill sister and does not want to let her go, and so he fights change.

    In this way, you might say that Mikuni was not worthy to hold the Wheel of Fortune card and thus it was passed on to Kimimaro. Kimimaro recognized that to save the future there had to be change, and the Wheel of Fortune card allowed him to do that in the end.

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