Anime of Tomorrow
C3 Cube x Cursed x Curious (review)
Final impression – spectacularly human (9/10)
Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (alternate titles – C^3 – C³ – C Cubed)
When Haruaki received a mysterious package from his father, he should have guessed it might turn into a girl. Fear-in-Cube is a cursed torture device that has accumulated centuries of hate and death, allowing her to manifest as an intelligent being in her own right. She was sent to live with Haruaki so that she might escape the cruel destiny that has compounded into the misery of her existence. But that’s not going to be easy when the slightest trigger of violence can send her into a blood frenzy of flying guillotines. On top that, she’s the target of underground organizations of all colors. Some see her as an abomination to be destroyed while other seek out the power she possesses to use for their own misdeeds. Either way, she’s going to have to depend on wise-beyond-his-years Haruaki to make sure she stays true on her path to rehabilitation.
When I started to brainstorm for my review for C3, my first instinct was to start with something defensive that made an effort to excuse some kind of shortcoming. But then I realized that the brilliant composition of this anime needs no excuses to protect it from simple-minded twits who only want to focus on perceived shallowness when all they’re really seeing is the reflection of their own bias on the surface of a vast, deep ocean. And C3 is splendidly deep. It is a story about the human qualities of our tools—the extensions of ourselves we create in order to enhance ourselves to either our benefit or our detriment. When we use a tool long enough we often start to apply human characteristics and personality to it as it becomes an augment of our bodies; even taking on a share of our own souls. Thus are our tools extensions of our own creative or destructive tendencies.
The theme of C3 is societal responsibility—we must clean up our own messes as well as the messes that happen to cross our paths rather than pass the blame or hope someone else picks up the slack. It’s an uplifting triumph of chivalry and of people who genuinely wish to make the world a better place. Additionally, Haruaki is one of my favorite male characters in recent anime because he’s not perverted, introverted, spineless or shy around women. The overused trope of the weak male lead finally gets tossed out and that makes me incredibly happy. Given this anime’s style, I could very easily have seen it devolve into some ecchi harem show like Mayo Chiki or Boku wa Tomodachi. But C3 decidedly stays away from that territory and keeps things classy, even avoiding an obligatory swimsuit or onsen episode that populate so many anime that seem to lose their creative sparks halfway through.