I suppose it was inevitable that C would come down to a deal between Mikuni and Kimimaro. There’s been such an avalanche of plot these last few episodes that it’s actually a bit difficult to figure out exactly what’s happening in detail, but this much is clear – this looks to be a battle of the present vs. the future.
The flaw in Mikuni’s reasoning seems obvious enough. He’s playing by the house rules, and the house wins every time. Pay me now or pay me later, Masakaki and his masters don’t mind either way. The parable Kenji Nakamura is going for here is fairly obvious, but this show can use some obvious so I don’t have a problem with that. We’re mortgaging the future to pay for the present. Got it.
What’s less clear to me in the context of the anime is just what the upside is if Kimimaro wins. His short-term goal is obvious – use his newly acquired darkness card to prevent Mikuni from spinning the rotary press and trading more future for cash – in fact, if the instigator Masakaki is to be believed, Kimimaro can even reverse the press and theoretically “buy back” future with cash.
But what then? While it’s clear that what Mikuni is doing is ultimately self-defeating, what’s less clear is whether Kimimaro’s path does anything besides make the end come sooner. We’ve already seen that by the rules of this universe, entire countries can disappear as a result of events in the Financial District, as the C wave hits them. Well, it’s coming – America (boringly and inevitably painted as the villain) sending it back on Japan by devaluing the dollar. How does Kimimaro – and how did Satou – plan to save the present without mortgaging the future? Maybe there’s another political analogy there, too, for the no-win economic situation most capitalist nations seem to be finding themselves in. For for the purposes of the anime, I’ll be very curious to know whether Satou had anything in mind beyond stopping Mikuni.
Alas, poor Satou – I’m sure she died dreaming of a meal. Whether she was an IMF stooge or a free agent, she finally ended her role as caustic observer and comic relief and entered the fray, only to be finished off by Mikuni. As her last act she bequeathed Georges – her asset and her future – to Kimimaro, flush from his win over Mikuni’s lieutenant. The plan – suck the power from the Guild’s combat capability by devaluing the yen – was a clever one, but Mikuni had one too many tricks up his sleeve.
Meanwhile, all of the assets seem to be feeling the pain as the rotary press grinds away. Mashu is so bad Kimi won’t even let her fight – confirming again that he sees her as his future, if not the specifics of what that means – and even Q is feeling the hurt. The personal side of things is again somewhat lost with the mad rush to get all of the political commentary, combat and plot development in – and I hope there’s time for some real interaction between Kimi and Mashu in next week’s finale. Haruka Tomatsu continues to own NoitaminA this cycle, with her Mashu the best performance in this series – standing almost as tall as her great work with the AnoHana ensemble. Both roles are new ground for her – interesting twists on the acid-tongued, insecure personal she’s developed as an actor these last couple of years.
Lots to do, and 22 minutes to do it – I’m anxious but modestly hopeful. In those 22 minutes they have to unravel the catch-22 at the heart of this plot – how can there be a future if there’s no present?