At first I thought the battle scenes felt too quick, and then I've realized that I almost forgot that [C] ISN'T a typical shounen series, haha! It doesn't waste time on making flashy fights longer but focused on going deeper to its story and making some plot development.
(Entres coughing "money" instead of "blood" was really WICKED xD)
[C] gets more and more amazing in each episode, and each had been spectacular in their own way. Episode 3 introduced some mysteries behind the Financial District; while Episode 4 shows what the characters, who have the capability, are doing about it. We learn more about the leading character's past and personality in the previous episode; now we see him in a dilemma and finally make a decision on what he wants to do during the Deals.
There are a lot of expectations on Kimimaro's second battle because of the outstanding results in the first. Supposedly he had improved already, battle-wise, though in actuality he hadn't changed much.
Yes, he's no longer as ignorant as before, but he's still unwilling to be involved in Deals and didn't exactly undergo battle training. He's still being protected by his Asset, and it's his Asset who teaches him the moves he should make. The only command that he did on his own was the attack he learned in his previous battle.
Kimimaro didn't upgrade in an instant. He's still a newbie in his second battle and still has a lot to learn. I'm glad that Kimimaro didn't suddenly become a professional fighter out of the blue.
Though yes, Kimimaro's win is out of luck, but it ISN'T from some dumb miracle. He won his first battle because the embodiment of his future is just that awesome, while on his second battle he happened to be favored by someone really really powerful. He became victorious because of he had good connections. Apparently, that's also what happens in the real world. Sometimes skills and hard work aren't enough without the goddess of luck by your side... scary.
And no, contrary to the popular anime theme, having someone/something to protect or a reson to fight for isn't enough to make someone victorious. Though it's true that it can be applied in real life; still, things don't always turn out okay with that alone. One can attain achievements even without a reason or much effort. [C] had presented that reality to us in Kimimaro's second battle. Despite the "monster card battles", the way to win in [C] isn't exactly the typical shounen way.
Kimimaro had been a RARE example of a leading character who lacks motivation yet he achieves something. But of course, he's not gonna be like that for long. At the end of the episode, he was finally resolved on how he wants to do his fights.
He had listened and opened himself to various opinions and perspectives, yet he still sticks to his initial morals and ideals. Mikuni's convincing words weren't enough to persuade and influence him. I really admire how UNeasily swayed Kimimaro is. Watching Mikuni's battle in this episode should have affected him somehow. The audience, even Kimimaro's Asset, have nothing but praises for Mikuni. But depite that grand show, instead of idiolizing Mikuni, Kimimaro just congratulated the dude with an unimpressed tone. Even saying that he doesn't even want to become like Mikuni. Seriously, Kimimaro's something.
And his reason for that roots back to his hatred towards seeing people hurt. It's cool to see a friend win, but having another person suffer from that isn't something to enjoy either. He has an idea of what it's like to go bankrupt in the District; and he doesn't want having people to go through what he and his father did... at least, not if he can help it.
He had expected his professor to commit suicide like his father did, but to his surprise, that didn't happen. It was more horrible than death though. But even if Kimimaro feels guilty about it, he's not a self-sacrificial idiot either. That's another "heroic" leading character cliche that Kimimaro ISN'T once again~
But at the end of the episode he had finally found the solution that would will not cause much damage either to him or his opponent. It was the first time for Kimimaro had accepted what Mikuni points out to him. Mikuni had failed in persuading and convincing Kimimaro, and the idea of his that Kimimaro has acknowledge is actually something that doesn't contradict to Kimimaro's personal beliefs.
Kimimaro's changing, yet he's still the same.
The remarkable Entres in the Distrct are those that can stay long; while the truly spectacular ones are those that can control his gains and losses. Kimimaro's aiming to have that ability now; while Mikuni is presently the one who already does.
This is the second Mikuni battle that we've seen, and this is more exciting because his opponent this time is really challenging. Mikuni used two Assets this time... but is relunctant to use his main Asset as much as possible. It appears that Q would go berserk if she's not being restrained by Aurore and sees her Entre in a pinch. If Q goes all out, Mikuni might not be able to achieve his limited profit goal.
Mikuni only had minimal damages, but also had very little gain... and that was all according to plan. This was the method he had seen to minimize the effects of the Deals to the real world. Mikuni might have been merciless to the newbie in the first episode, but he's not really that coldhearted. Kimimaro's not the only Entre he's helping out. Mikuni isn't self-sacrificial, but like Kimimaro, he doesn't seem to enjoy making other people's lives miserable either.
He has even built a Guild for that purpose.The Starlight Guild limits its members' profits (it should be as minimal as possible) yet won't let them go bankrupt. Those who are wealthy enough won't have a problem on this, which is why Mikuni had tried to recruit his fellow dark card opponent even in the last minute. Too bad, those who need more money, or who are too greedy won't like the profit limit.
There are those who regretted not joining the Guild, like the professor. It has been clarified in this episode that the price of Entres going backrupt isn't exactly one's life. "Future" as a collateral is pretty vague at first, but now we have an idea that the price you have to pay for being banished in the District is losing a "possible future"... losing opportunity of achieving what you were fighting for.
I'm impressed Ebara didn't go emotional on Kimimaro and blame everything on the boy. No killing intents at all. (No anime cliche! Hurrah!) He was mature enough to accept that it was he who got himself into the mess. He even values Kimimaro's existence more than ever now because he's the only other person who remembers his children. But still, oh Ebara's loss was very tragic. ;_;
How the "ghosts" of those children was really eerie. There are dark themes in this series despite it being so colorful. Come to think of it, being involved in the Deals had been like having a contract with the Devil. Like Yumekichi11, it felt like the children were sacrificed as compensation to the Devil. That's so chilling. Oh this series has portrayed what a sick monster the Devil really is.
It makes me wonder what Kimimaro's father's loss had been. My guess is that having Kimimaro's family live a comfortable life.... which obviously hadn't happened unless Kimimaro becomes successful in his (soon-to-find) goal in the District, maybe. Whatever it had been, it was tragic enough for Kimimaro's father to be driven to suicide. Losing sucks.
As Mikuni himself said, losing is hell; so is winning. Let's pick the lesser evil and try to avoid the worse hell. But one man can't do everything alone, that's why Mikuni's got a Guild.. and people helping him out.
Deals aren't always one-on-one battles. Entres can work together and help each other out. Wow, just like in the business world.... even those who aren't exactly operating in the corporation (or "in the fight") can extend a helping hand: there are investors, shareholders, other firms, etc.
The economic/business references aren't only seen in that of course. Such terminologies had also been used in attack moves. Like Kimimaro's Scorched Earth, there are also references to Poison Pill, Pac-man Defense, and even White Knight! Whoa.... and those moves really do have relations on their actual meanings. Wow~
There are also occult references on their attacks, by the way *_* It turns out that [C] has Tarot and Kabbalah references as well!!! *_* We're dealing with cards that involve magic, death, and someone's fortune after all, there's no way it won't have connections to mythical stuff *_* SOOO COOL!!!!
Oh there are so many interesting stuff in this series. What I liked best in this episode is that the Entres are using their brains and not letting themselves be used just as pawns to play with by the District. For the upcoming episodes, I'm really curious whether the Guild will give into temptation by the time they do gain 50% control of the District. Sometimes things that started with good intentions turn out bad later. Mikuni can't be an exception. I can imagine things going wrong inspite of his noble acts.