C³ Review

Hello there. This is review number fifty one. I’m aiming for the hundred this time. I’m still plowing through the Fall 2011 lineup. This time I’ll be reviewing CxCxC. It’s an odd twelve episode anime but it’s charm was hard to resist. Let’s read on.

Story

Yachi Haruaki is a high school boy who is naturally resistant to curses. After his father sends him a mysterious black cube, Haruaki awakes to find a nude girl named Fear standing in his kitchen. She’s the human form of the cursed black cube – and an instrument of torture! Utilizing her special abilities, Fear fights alongside Haruaki to defeat other cursed instruments and their owners.

Taking the Pants Off

You only get one try to make a first impression. It’s always a conventional rule to try and be as grand as you can on your first impression. Some anime has stunning animation on the first episode and then goes below average later (Symphogear) while some anime has an interesting plot on the first episode and then deliver average ones the rest of the series (Guilty Crown). It’s OK though because the first episode promises a lot so the anime may still deliver. You need to have a good first episode because the anime community nowadays are fickle pretending to be elitists and just needs an excuse to drop an anime. It’s part of a fan’s evolving taste and it’s normal to become choosy. So imagine an anime with a horrendous first episode that doesn’t reflect the entire series and the first impression are generally sour. We get C Cube.

This was also directed by Shin Onuma who directed the Baka Test series and ef: tales of melodies. I’m never a fan of his artistic bullsh*t but in a nutshell, C Cube is a combination of Baka Test and ef melodies. I personally would’ve liked to drop this series if not for my golden rule of watching up until episode four before dropping a series. Some anime takes that much episode to get good and this anime is exactly that. The first three episodes was a bit of a mismatch but everything started to make sense after episode three.

The anime is tagged as Action and Ecchi. I was honestly expecting a normal first episode and the rest of the series will be like Hidan no Aria. With the idea of erasing curses and a girl that can turn into a box, the possibilities are limitless. So the first episode rolls in and it was not Action or Ecchi. So Haruaki Yachi gets a box from his father who works overseas. He looks like he already knew what was going to happen and there was no initial shock from him when Fear came out of the box snacking on rice crackers. Fear then suddenly started quarreling with this girl who visits Haruaki as if they already met. It was weird and the feeling was forced. The viewers are still in the feeling out process and the first episode is all over the place. The rest of the first episode is about Fear being cute while she destroys the house trying to clean it. What the hell is this? Ika Musume? It was absurd.

The first episode was like an ordinary episode of Ika Musume. To make matter worse, the second episode is about Fear going to school and we are introduced to some more bland characters while the plot is shuffling out of crazy. It isn’t interesting in the very least and there was no cohesion to the elements. It was Comedy then became School then became Drama and the second episode ended with Action. It was getting good because there it is finally. Action. The problem is that the anime took a huge twist and the action was super bloody. I’m not talking about blood to enhance the action. I’m talking about blood to make the anime graphic. It was insane. It was as if the anime was trying hard to be interesting by breaking norm but ultimately fails at it. It also sacrificed the story by doing so. The pacing was ruined for the first three episodes but the rubble ultimately clears and we get an idea of the story.

The anime is about a cursed weapon named Fear who was created to torture and kill people. She was built to feed on people’s scream and during the action sequences of episode three; you can clearly see how rabid she was. This girl who I pegged as an Ika Musume without the tentacles is actually a blood craving lunatic who enjoys seeing people suffer. Fear actually doesn’t like it. She was built as a weapon but she never wanted to be one and the anime was surprisingly deep. A weapon meant to kill wishes to be normal but her calling was absolute. She fights it and she hopes to be normal. She wants to be a girl who can love and a girl who can be happy.

The anime is divided into three arcs and the first arc is about Fear overcoming her bloodlust and becoming a normal girl while Haruaki and the other characters help her. The second and third arc is essentially better than the first one in all aspects. I think the first arc was just the director trying to be unique or something. You can actually skip the first arc which is episode one to five and just watch the second arc because you’re really not missing much. The only downside is you won’t get to familiarize with the regular characters of the show and it’s not that big of a downside. I know people will be turned off by the first three episodes because even I hated it and I can watch anything. Some anime just takes time to develop and unfortunately, this anime takes up three episodes to get itself in order.

There is one common theme among the three arcs and that is the burden of curses. The second arc has this beautiful tale of a forbidden love maimed by a curse. The third arc is about cursed items overcoming their curse and living normal lives. They were all great and the pacing was smart. The story was really well developed and each arc stands out on without much help from the other ones.

The characters are all great. They start out as heavily generic with little personality that makes them unique. We have the loud girl with the small chest, the caring girl with the big boobs and there was even a klutzy maid. It also attributed to the weak first three episodes because the characters couldn’t carry the anime until episode four. The surprising thing is that they do transform and they do develop. Each character was given time to break out of their generic shell and become unique on their own. Whether its Fear who was cute at first then becomes a f*cking psychopath or the class rep who is into bondage, the characters get to develop and provide some uniqueness to the story. There was one character that didn’t change though and provided nothing to the story. I’m talking about the only significant guy in the series, Haruaki himself. The story called for it so you can’t blame him. He was mostly the buffer that helped Fear control her bloodlust.

The anime is not just Action/Ecchi though. Those two genres are the most prominent with a good chunk of the episodes dedicated to them but the anime has a lot of elements. It’s not just Action/Ecchi. The anime has subtle hints of Drama and some serving of School and Comedy. There is even Mystery thrown into the fold. The most unique feature of the anime though is that it features some fairly graphic and bordering on gory scenes. There are scenes like a girl drilling someone’s stomach or the villain opening a wound and squeezing the victim’s liver. It was graphic and unbelievably cruel. You can’t let you guard down for one second in this anime because it goes like this:

And then becomes like this:

Both of those came from the same episode. The anime is bipolar, I guess. One moment it is cute and without prior notice, it can go Ecchi and much better, it can go Gory. There was a lot of competing elements in the anime and it is virtually impossible to pull of an Action, Ecchi, Mystery, Comedy, School and Drama genre but the anime does it flawlessly.

If you think the gore is extreme, the Ecchi does the genre proud too. There are some moments in the anime where the characters would just talk and then they suddenly grab each other’s boobs. There are a lot of panty shots ranging from Fear to even the loli character introduced later on. You would think these things would be out of place but the execution was flawless and it makes the anime interesting. I personally love the class rep that enjoys bondage. There was an extreme scene where the class rep would bondage herself and break her fingers one by one as she reaches orgasm each time. That is pretty extreme.

It was certainly a crazy ride watching this anime but you got to give it a chance. Some anime wants to throw conventional rules out the window and some of them rarely succeed but a true mark of an anime is getting you to enjoy it despite having a bad first impression. This anime is great. Make no doubt about it.

Sight and Sound

The art is closely similar to Baka Test. The colors are bright and there was an artistic presentation very similar to that anime. The character design isn’t that great but there was enough to deliver a good ecchi and still make the characters fight. There were some scenes like a manga without color and there was no reason for it besides the director trying to be artistic.

The action sequences aren’t that noteworthy but they do move the story along. The short fight scenes are nicely animated and the effects were nicely utilized. There was some CG done in Fear’s torture devices and some of the artsy scenes but it doesn’t really make the anime great. There was very little CG to help improve the action. There was a lot of blood though. It was more than enough to improve the story too. It was excessive at times. It makes the fight scenes memorable though.

The OP song was great. It reflects the rather sad but triumphant mood of the anime. The opening sequence is outstanding too with brilliant key animation. We have this very nicely done sequence of Fear dancing in a cherry blossom filled park and she moves the cherry blossoms along as she dances gracefully. It’s brilliant animation and the opening sequence gives us a taste of the rest of the anime without spoiling it.

The second OP was more serious but it still had a nice animation to it. We see the class rep dancing along the snow covered park. Haruaki was introduced and the rest of the established cast appears too. The ED song is a bit sadder. It is basically the same as the opening sequence with the girls in a melancholic state. The song has a nice slow ballad to it with a nice piano arrangement to accompany it.

Overall Score

6/10 “The horrid first three episodes hides the anime’s true beauty”

It was an amazing ride watching this anime. The stories were brilliant and each of them was paced brilliantly. I still can’t get over the fact that the anime downplayed itself for three episodes but a great anime is a great anime. I highly recommend it.

Thoughts~

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