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「Cultivation (修練)」 (Shuuren)

The whole Financial District system is becoming clearer bit by bit, but I still can’t figure out what to make of the Guild exactly. So far, they claim to minimize the margins they win by, by “knowing their own powers” which allows them to control the deals precisely. With the size and money involved, Mikuni and his Guild have the power to manipulate the entire country’s finances, and can prevent catastrophes caused by huge losses as the economy commits to languish. However some aspects are still fuzzy, and it’s also finally confirmed that the “future” making up the collateral for the deal is very vague in the first place, and no one really understands it (except maybe Masakaki).

Risking one’s “future” is no small matter though, and even losing by a little in the Deals causes very palpable effects in the real world (e.g. what happened to Kimimaro’s professor). A small loss gives Kimimaro failing grades and sends his aunt to the hospital, which sucks but is a small hit given the amount of money that could be made. A big loss on the other hand gives Kikuchi a huge hit in the performance of his company, which in turn affects other industries and the lives thousands of people. Those with considerable economic assets can really affect the lives of humans of lesser means. Interestingly, Mikuni uses the assets of the Guild to purchase the failing company and minimize the effect on the real world, true to his goals. I wonder if he’s in this purely out of good will; however since he also seems to make a good profit in the process, I can’t see why not. He’s an amiable guy on the outside, and perhaps the Financial District and Midas Bank is the true villain.

Mikuni himself isn’t the biggest fan of the Financial District, but instead claims to aim to control the balance between the two worlds. He seems interested in Kimimaro in hopes that he will be a successor to him, and Kimimaro is certainly convinced and is participating in the whole deal. Too bad he’s rather pathetic as Msyu keeps pointing out, and is kind of dumb too. I guess that’s fine though — the protagonist doesn’t always have to be godly. Kimimaro isn’t obsessed with money, which makes him an appropriate candidate for joining the Guild. Money may be the root of evil, but without it our world would collapse, so using one’s power to moderate the system is certainly a noble pursuit. Still, I would find it boring if things were that straightforward. Bring on the conspiracy!

Random Notes:
- Assets need the entres’ orders in order to attack, but I saw Msyu making dozens of attacks at the wall to break out, without Kimimaro’s orders.
- One million in Midas Money only shows up as 100 on the Midas cards, so some of the numbers involved may indeed not be their face value, instead expressed in different units.

May 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm
45 comments »
  • May 15, 2011 at 8:02 pmamado

    maybe the orders to attack is for the entre.
    each of the other members have interesting ways in attacking. I hope we see more complex battles.

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:17 pmdeafvader

      I think since getting into a battle involves fighting. the normal fighting does need command. As the money and asset all belongs to the owner, the asset can’t use their special attacks or sell their own shares by themselves. But if the owner says something like “its a battle, lets fight.” then they can fight by themselves. They are not pokemons who need specific commands to attack. Although the opponents seldom command their assets yet blood (money) flies.
      Qn: Are they limited to one special attack? Scorched Earth is all im seeing.

    • May 16, 2011 at 5:38 amSpacyRicochet

      Kimimaro did already give the ‘Micro’-command just before Masyu was entombed, so that’s probably where the commands came from.

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:08 pmShirt

    I’m actually still a little lost at how the world works. I don’t seek an explanation just yet though as you said they really haven’t told us the whole story yet. Similar to Madoka.

    One thing is certain though. Controlling the outcome of a duel is difficult. One small mishap and your screwed. Also, I wonder if a relationship will form between Msyu and Kimimaro? Msyu is pretty cute in that frilly outfit of hers. Especially when put next to those other hideous creatures.

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:13 pmSerapita

      Some of those others assets are cute too though. Like Mikuni’s ones.

    • May 15, 2011 at 9:07 pmShirt

      That’s how you can tell they are important characters in the story. I guess if they’re ugly, they are practically NPCs.

    • May 16, 2011 at 12:09 amSerapita

      Sounds like those SRPG games where all the important characters are good-looking and all the not important ones are generic/bad-looking (Fire Emblem Series come to mind…even the bad guys are freaking handsome.)

    • May 16, 2011 at 2:16 amSpoilerMaker

      It doesn’t make any sense if you look for some reasonable explanation. Before watching the show, you should remember that the authors probably know less of economics than you do. They just made a show for entertainment, without any proper logic behind it. People who are discussing such shows usually find more “sense” than the authors themselves. Putting things together means additional expenses required to consult those who specialize in the respective sphere of theory (or practice) – in Hollywood sci-fi movies they actually do that, but not in anime, there is no budget for that.
      The authors make some basic concept, then they try to cover the countless missing links with some random “ideas” which they discuss among themselves, which lead to even more absurd “explanations”, sometimes they just throw into the story some random meaningless moments hoping that the readers will find some (actually non-existent) meaning.
      This show makes no sense in terms of economics, even imaginary, the authors based the plot merely on the ideas of gambling, which is not surprising, considering their ways of “recreation”.
      It is kind of ironic – the show about “economics” and “money” had no money for receiving consulting about economics (even basic theory).

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:13 pmxcswmboy

    Several aspects got me confused this episode.
    I thought only attacks hitting the Entres will lose money, so I was really confused when Kimimaro lost the deal when Msyu was hit one last time.
    I wish that the battles would show some actual values of attacks so we can actually keep score along with the characters. Like how did that first battle know that getting hit in the shoulder was worth just enough or something like that. Right now it is more of just flashy movements and explosions with an arbitrary winner pronounced at the end.
    I thought only going bankrupt causes real effects. The system portrayed now is less like taking a loan of money from the financial district with your future as collateral, but rather it is more straight up trading your future for money. I would be pretty pissed. I thought it was more like whatever future you gained with the Midas money is refuted if you lose. Kikuchi losing stock in his company made more sense than Kimimaro’s aunt getting sick. Maybe if Kimimaro got food poisoning from the food he bought with Midas Money, then that would make more sense. Once again, I just don’t like how it is so arbitrary.

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:22 pmdeafvader

      agree on the money loss is confusing.
      but they are betting on their future, their potential to do something later on in their live. mikuni has tons since he is rich and has connections. his potential in real life makes him super strong. but that also means he would lose more. the more u bet the more u have to lose. which is why the MC’s changes in life are minor.
      dont understand why the guild dont just use their financial power and capture all the entres back in the normal world and steal their cards.

    • May 16, 2011 at 7:12 amamado

      the reason kimimaro lost was either because he measured his strike incorrectly or his opponent hit him while he was distracted by msyu.
      maybe he should have let msyu get that attack in.

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:18 pmQwerty1

    You could explain the first attack Msyu did when she first got stuck in the box because Kimimaro did give a micro command just before it went up. The second attack though where she bounced around off the walls does seem to go against the whole command requirement thing though.

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:21 pmRicalloo

    “Money may be the root of evil, but without it our world would collapse…”

    Gene Roddenberry is rolling in his grave! His vision was a bit quixotic, though. Enduring evil to sustain normalcy… kind of a sad reality you point out there Prooof.

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:23 pmdeafvader

      world wont collapse,
      we’ll just be back to barter

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:45 pmProoof

      the thing is barter can’t sustain our level of economic growth and population, so the result of currency collapse would be quite drastic

    • May 15, 2011 at 9:29 pmBossun

      Prooof is right. A bartering economy could in no way support the type of life we currently live. The world as a whole may not collapse, people would still live one way or another, but it would be an extremely different place; the world as we know it would completely collapse.

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:24 pminfo600

    if she didn’t have the horns, you’d thought that Mysu was just a girl having trouble using a fork…

    and @ Prooof: both the professor (and presumably) Kikuchi were bankrupt, Kimimaro’s just unlucky there (do note that he’s being paranoid at the time…)

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:24 pmKarmafan

    This is another series similar to Star Driver in that the action doesn’t make much sense but we get caught up in the excitement of it and forget that everything they are throwing at us doesn’t make any sense.

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:29 pmdeafvader

      Action?? Just the same attacks all the time. Scorched Earth. Star Driver’s fight was more flashy and cool and better graphics and more variety in attacks.
      I’m watching for the plot, hopefully some twist would come around…

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:24 pmdeafvader

    Wonders whether hanabi boyfriend is an entre, and whether they would have to fight…. either way hanabi is screwed

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:32 pmKageho

    *WARNING: TONS OF SPECULATION AHEAD*

    Msyu and Q seem a little different than other Assets. They seem more like business partners rather than like other Assets which seem more like tools. I add Q into that because if you remember when Mikuni tried finishing the fight, he had to restain Q from acting on her own.

    There are three problems with the Star Guild that need to be addressed or I could see Kimimaro using to go against Mikuni and the Star Guild because of. Okay, terrible sentence, but you get what I’m trying to say.

    The first is even though they are minimizing the effect of the damage made in the world, at some point everything will stagnate and you’ll have a huge crash when it does. You can’t bail everything out that fails. Things die because its their time. Does it suck? Yes. But innovation is the necessity born out of those failures (which is what Entres are supposed to do in real life).

    The second is that there’s no indication that you save the person whom you’ve minimally affected. Sure Mikuni bought out the company, but does that mean the old man (Kukichi?) will still have a future? That’s still sacrificing someone for the sake of others and you still effect the people surrounding that person. That’s just limiting the damage to that person and whom he cares, but that’s still hurting people. What’s worse is its probably just as bad, but since its only one person who gets affected it gets brushed aside.

    The third thing is probably the biggest. Mikuni said that using the money to help the world is better than letting it crumble and hurt others but being rid of the money. But here’s the kicker. By using this money to help out other people, isn’t he in essence using this Midas money to make our own world even more dependent on the Midas bank and therefore making everyone’s future suddenly become at stake? What Mikuni wants to do is noble, but he’s basically agreeing to do the Masakaki’s (devil’s) work, which is to be buy everyone’s future up. It also allows Mikuni to end up playing “God” and we all know how that ends up.

    Unless C turns around and proves those points wrong, this will probably position Kimimaro against Mikuni. I apologize if this isn’t too tidy of writing. Just writing on the fly.

    • May 16, 2011 at 8:19 amewok40k

      well, you have just touched one of greatest economic policy dilemmas, namely is government intervention in the markets good, and how much of it is enough/too much? ever since 1930s and Keynesian theories put in practice governments were using “bad” borrowed money (the deficits) to keep economy well running, but this has come at a price of inflation, and rising costs of debt servicing…

      • May 16, 2011 at 5:07 pmGambler

        When Keynes is mentioned there’s a tendency to only think deficit spending and stimulus. No one really brings up that during a boom cycle, government is supposed to tighten and raise taxes to slow growth. But no one gets reelected for raising taxes. So what ends up happening is a very strong boom cycle followed by a crash.
        What Mikuni is doing (buying up gov’t bonds sold to support growth) is something the Japanese gov’t has done in the past (quantitative easing QE). For prolonged periods of time, QE has dire consequences but the Japanese have lucked out so far due to their society’s unique characteristics.
        It’s good that the writer of the anime has touched on QE in Japan because it is a significant aspect of their recent economic history.

        My one prob with this ep is Masakaki had no screen time. Also if I had significant financial status, I’d be walking around wearing an ascot too.

      • May 16, 2011 at 9:27 pmProoof

        so far I just see them moderating any big financial swings, and Mikuni buying the bonds actually takes currency out of circulation which tightens credit (at least until the government spends that money again).

        with counter-cyclical fiscal policy the govt could raise the discount rate or some other stuff which the US Fed manages to control inflation too; I don’t know how the JP system works, but it is true that no one wants to raise taxes to control growth which (along with too much speculative investment) could create a bubble.

        as for the financial district, I think they’ll be fine on that aspect for now since the economy in the show is in a slump so some artificial stimulus would do good; although one person really can’t affect world finances that much I guess with the guild and all it’s combined assets they could pump things up with a lot of air.

      • May 17, 2011 at 5:32 pmGambler

        I think it’s the other way around. Mikuni buying bonds adds more currency (Midas or not) into the real system. In the scene with the minister, Mikuni asks him to maintain an expansionary (fiscal) policy by not reducing the budget. So he’s willing to take up the difference in Japan’s budget deficit. It’s what the Bank of Japan has done in the past (ryoteki kinyu kanwa).
        US Fed and BoJ along with other central banks are run similarly in that they use the same tools (asset purchasing, rate controls). The difference is in execution and goals.
        I’ve mentioned this in the past but in order for Mikuni to be successful in shouldering Japan’s debt, assuming he has full control of the eastern district, the amount displayed on the scale has to be given some sort of multiplier (like 1M JPY = 100Midas cards points). If you take the current scale at face value it’s less than 100B USD, which is a rounding error compared to the size of the debt market.

      • May 18, 2011 at 12:24 amProoof

        yea I see what you mean; as for the counter, it could be an arbitrary value too

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:34 pmRicalloo

    Prooof brings up a good question. Who the heck is the villain?

    I’m not sure how I feel about Mikuni yet myself. Is he the burdened protagonist who’s self sacrifice is holding the fragile mosaic of the economy and future together, or does he hold some ulterior motive? If he isn’t the antagonist, who is? The Midas bank? Can a plot device be the bad guy? Maybe the cliche atypical “American suit” is the real enemy. That wouldn’t surprise me.

    I don’t know yet, and I find that to be the most annoying question at the moment.

  • May 15, 2011 at 9:20 pmDurifto

    Assets need the entres’ orders in order to attack, but I saw Msyu making dozens of attacks at the wall to break out, without Kimimaro’s orders

    No they need the entres to activate their mezzo/micro/macro-flation special attacks.

  • May 15, 2011 at 9:21 pmClick

    I’m pretty sure the real villain is the Midas Bank. I mean, who do you think gets the money when you invest for a Mezzoflation? The bank.

  • May 15, 2011 at 9:25 pmBossun

    “Assets need the entres’ orders in order to attack, but I saw Msyu making dozens of attacks at the wall to break out, without Kimimaro’s orders.”
    Before she gets trapped in the wall, he does say “Msyu, Micro!” or something like that, so perhaps this order carried over to the following attacks. Or, once she was trapped and the wall was advancing towards Kimimaro, he says something like “Msyu, please!” asking her for help. Perhaps this counts as an order even though it wasn’t exactly explicit.

  • May 15, 2011 at 9:39 pmamado

    judging from the comments, this anime is looking eerily familiar with madoka magica…

    the enemy is the system but cutting it off will result in a lot of trouble for mankind(like what kyubey said in madoka magica)
    everyone who gets in has no way out. they have to keep winning or get bankrupt by the others. and in their place, the others go bankrupt.
    masakaki(or mikuni) is kyubey.
    people suffer.

    the diff is that someone is trying to reduce the damage done by the system(star guild). also they have help(assets).

  • May 15, 2011 at 9:46 pmkaineng

    Another nice episode anyway.

    “One million in Midas Money only shows up as 100 on the Midas cards, so some of the numbers involved may indeed not be their face value, instead expressed in different units.”

    Quite easily expressed is that they just calculate transactions in ten thousands? in the eastern context maybe it’s easier, like 1 million equates to “a hundred (ten-thousand)”. It kinda makes some sense after that…

    Maybe we all shouldn’t mind the logic of this parallel world and just care about the story and action? I’m trying to anyway…

    • May 15, 2011 at 10:02 pmProoof

      that’s exactly what I meant; I’m addressing previous comments that the values used seem crazy sometimes

    • May 15, 2011 at 10:58 pmDCLXVI

      The unit used in the counter that showed up is in ten-thousands, one million is hyaku-man (hyaku=100, man=10 thousand) so it makes sense. I guess in the Financial District the minimum fee for any transaction must be ten thousand yen, which would be ichi-man or one ten-thousand.

  • May 15, 2011 at 10:18 pmKumakaori

    image 20; Kimimaro, uhhh no I’ll just bring you your own. XD. I’m not sure why I find that interaction so damn funny, but I do ^^;.

    She’s “just an asset” why are you so easily flustered ;P!

  • May 15, 2011 at 11:00 pmDCLXVI

    I think it’s better that Kimimaro is a pathetic dweeb right now, because you can’t really have much character and to some extent story development when the main character is godly from the start (yes, I’m talking about you, Jesus Yamato).

    The cleaner the slate is, the more you can write on it, or something like that.

  • May 16, 2011 at 12:36 ambearzerger

    I only hope Kimimaro gets over his crush on that blue haired girl. She doesn’t see him as anything more than a casual friend at best.

    Btw anyone care to bet that it was Mikuni who bankrupted Kimimaro’s father in his first duel?

  • May 16, 2011 at 3:02 amZaku Fan

    In the end it won’t change anything, the opponent will just die by paper cut losses rather than a straight loss.

    The best that can be done with their method is if there is a set deal that X will olose to Y and Y will lose to X later, probably how the guild does it but that nets nothing for either sde only preventing losses.

    The more interesting point i find is the attempt to use financial jargon as move names, like white knight, pacman defense etc

  • May 16, 2011 at 5:33 amShirikatsu

    One of the very puzzling things are that, Mikuni was able to gain indirect control and ownership of all or part of Kikuchi’s pharmaceutical company however when Kimimaro was discussing it with another person (forgot who it was) they said that the company that was owning or part owning the pharmaceutical had bought it out a few years ago. So does this entail some of that ‘future’ business as Mikuni was able to make the changes he needed to make in order to stabilise the real world but the changes possibly could only be restored if the pharmaceutical was bought those years ago. It’s confusing, i don’t even know what i’m talking about but I think the practical effects are also taken into consideration, not only the financial position of some entities with direct influence upon others. Also, without an order, Msyu decided she wanted to take a hit at Kimimaro’s opponent after he stabbed him, he had to order her to stop, causing her to be hit and therefore a loss in money. Inconsistent.

    • May 16, 2011 at 8:23 amewok40k

      the company Mikuni used as front was SET UP five years ago, which means he was prepared for Kikuchi eventually bankrupting all along…
      Mikuni is evidently a chessmaster here, looking few moves ahead…

  • May 16, 2011 at 8:02 amvp

    I am confused – how will the guild be able to stabilize the real world when they are not making money out of deals? Is Mikuni´s capital so vast that he can buy companies at a whim, and for how long?

  • May 16, 2011 at 12:14 pmCroos

    I’m still abit confused with the system. oh well :>

  • May 16, 2011 at 8:03 pmChaos

    basicly injuring your opponent loses money some attacks cost money and you gain money baised on how much damage you do however the values are not equal just because you do a set amount of damage to your enemy you won’t get all of it plus the cost of your attack. Personally i want to know how people can have more than one asset do they just appear to you after a while of doing well or do you have to buy them and select them. Also i think i know what the MC’s represents -his future with that girl. Basiclly i think the asset takes the form of what ever your future would be. Which i think is also the case with q as she is also human form i think she is a representation of the guys sister as she probably means something important to him. But thats just one idea-the other thing i want to know is the symbols on the cards-their some kind of type or class system i think there is probably going to be a game at some point.

  • May 16, 2011 at 10:34 pmLectro Volpi

    That teacher gives a crap about anything now. Maybe something just broke.

    Mikuni is a good person for me, I will trust him 100%. If he ever became an opponent (which looks granted) it will be for a greater good.

  • May 17, 2011 at 12:41 amRyan

    “Money may be the root of evil”

    Actually it’s the “love of money” not “money.”

    just sayin’