「Conversion （転換）」 (Tenkan)
Things get real for Kimimaro when he gets into a deal with his professor, who’s “just trying to make money for his family”. It’s even more clear now that these battles are pretty brutal, with the livelihoods of people at stake as they gamble fortunes. The truth of the “future as collateral” provision is still not clear though. His teacher loses his kids when he goes bankrupt, even the very fact that they existed. This makes me think that perhaps what the entre gains thanks to the Midas Money is taken away if he/she goes bankrupt. For example, the children he was able to support thanks to his deals disappeared once he lost that money.
I can see the pain now of losing it all in the Financial District, especially with how the episode opened, with Kimimaro’s battle against his teacher interlaced with shots of his interactions with his kids and pregnant wife. However entres do make deals out of their own free will, understanding the potential consequences. There’s no one to blame but yourself, and he understands that, holding no grudge since he himself showed no mercy. Kimimaro is still rather naive, and I see it as a kind of process of self-realization for him as he learns that life is pretty brutal with its winners and losers.
However I feel that there are still some informed consent violations in that the conditions and consequences aren’t explained clearly before Masakaki ropes in people to make deals. That might not be a problem now as Kimimaro understands the risks having seen them first hand with both his father and teacher, and really he doesn’t have anything personal to lose either. I do take issue with how a person can go bankrupt with just one attack though. Even after what has been revealed, the whole attack system is still very difficult to understand and doesn’t make sense in some parts. Kimimaro nearly loses it all too, and is only saved because entres can sell off the stocks of their assets on the fly to have more credit to fight.
Luckily Mikuni is looking out for Kimimaro, “investing in him” as a mutually beneficial trade (as he put it). As I thought he is indeed trying to control the Financial District with the “Starling Guild”. Their goal seems to be to moderate the swings of fortune caused by the deals (prevent going bankrupt, but not winning big either), and by doing so minimizing the effect on the real world. His fighting style also confirms that, holding back and just winning by a little bit. So far, I’m still not getting any villain vibes and it’s a noble enough idea (win-win), and as a result Kimimaro decides to stay on board too. Still waiting for those hidden motives though…
Side note: Mikuni does indeed have two assets, Q and Kakuzu and possibly even more, or alternatively they are just different parts of a same one.