M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 3: Child’s play

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Beware the aluminum can with legs! No, really, it’s just an aluminum can. You’ll see when you watch the episode.

• I love how casual the principal sounds at the start of the episode: “From here on, you’re going to actually step within the Lightless Realm and investigate. As you learned from previous lectures, the Lightless Realm destroys the psyches of anyone who enters it.” Oh by the way, you’re all screwed! Nah, I’m kidding. Obviously, they’ve already come up with ways to prevent utter mental breakdown for our characters. Y’see, the Reaper, i.e. the crazy mecha that almost went out of control itself and kill everyone in last week’s episode, will protect the pilots when they’re in the Lightless Realm. That’s why they’ve been hiding it underneath a hospital where tons of people have died. It’s to absorb all the negative chi… or something. Awesome!

• The kids suddenly ask if this is really just a training course to defeat Corpses, which apparently comes as a shock to them. I’m not sure why… I mean, they don’t seem to mind that they’ll have to enter the Lightless Realm at some point. Why is learning how to defeat a Corpse so much out there compared to entering the Lightless Realm?

• But the OP music has started playing, so it’s time to get deep: “That machine being built with combat against Corpses in mind is true. And you all as well.” Whoa, dude! Talk about a mind explosion!

• Speaking of mind explosions, we get to see the researchers run sketchy-looking experiments on Akashi: “Stop it… Don’t touch me… Don’t touch me!”

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Damn, what’s going on! On a somewhat related note, the Reaper (I guess this is slightly better of a name than The Argent) has a Metroid-like ability to draw its limbs in and become a small ball. That’s neat. I doubt it can roll around though, but we can’t have it all, now can we?

• The voice acting on the shady-looking researcher is, uh, something else. Just listen to his line where he goes, “This is it? This is your limit? Hmmmphmhhppmhppmhhh!”

• Later on, the official tells them that Akashi will take the point from now on when they’re in their mechas. As you can guess, Raika is deeply insulted. C’mon girl, the one with the fancy mecha always gets to do all the fun stuff. But seriously, I don’t know why she’s so concerned about it. Yes, I know, it’s her pride speaking, but that’s the thing, man. It’s just a formation. It’s not like the official said, “Akashi’s going to be the leader from now on, and oh yeah, we’re going to give him a reacharound every night because of it!” The Reaper is a fancy mecha, so it gets to go in the front because, presumably, it can withstand more punishment. This doesn’t seem like a very difficult concept to grasp, in my opinion.

• During a training exercise, Iwato remarks that Akashi is looking rather pale. Our hero tells his friend that he’s fine, but as he goes to board his mecha, he doubles over and throws up. Oh dear, I’ve seen this before. It’s morning sickness! Did the Reaper impregnate you?!

• A lady pays Akashi a visit in the infirmary. He tells her how the Reaper makes him feel as though he’s trapped by his past and memories. I wonder if the effectiveness of the Reaper is somehow tied to its ability to feed off of its pilot’s negative experiences. Hey, this would be totally emo and thus fit in with the story’s atmosphere.

• We get a rather lurid shot of Emiru showering. More importantly, her leg is … corrupted?

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It looks like something that might’ve been born from touching the Lightless Realm, but that’s just speculation on my part. Still, the girl’s condition is something the organization must already know about, right? They do health check-ups for all of the students, right? I can only assume, but this would make sense. Oh well, the anime will tell us soon enough what her condition means for the story. Then again, we don’t quite know what Emiru’s real aim is yet.

• Izuriha Sasame joins the cast. She’s the one the main character has been seeing all over the place, recently. Most notably, he has seen her apparition accompany a Corpse.

• Iwato remarks that being normal is a rarity for Team Gargouille (that’s what the group of trainee pilots are called now). It seems like a harmless self-deprecating joke, but Raika takes offense to it anyway. Raika seems to take offense to everything. So far, the only thing she hasn’t blown out of proportion is the rapey things the former instructor had said to Mahmu.

• Emiru calls Akashi out to a secret meeting. For some reason or other, she wants to show him the thing she’s got on her thigh, but the way she’s clutching at it makes it seem like she has inappropriate intentions. But it doesn’t matter because Minashi ends up crashing the party, and he’s dragged Sasame, the girl of the hour, along. We thus get to watch these emo kids play with fireworks. Sweet. You might wonder why I keep calling this anime emo, but c’mon. Out of nowhere, Sasame is all, “I don’t have many memories of having fun.” I mean, who outright says that in their very first conversation with a person?

• Sasame tells Akashi that she may have met a Corpse in her dreams, whatever that means. But instead of asking the girl what she means by this, Akashi just allows the scene to end. Doesn’t that sound like an odd thing to say? Isn’t he curious about it? I guess not.

• The very next day, Raika is shouting orders at Emiru and Mahmu as they’re going through some training exercise. It sounds like Raika wants to lead, but her leadership style sucks. She’s not really bringing out the best in the other two girls. Elsewhere, Akashi is subjected to even more tests.

• Later that day, an Admonition shows up and brutally cuts down the principal with a tentacle right before some of the students’ very eyes. Uh, the Admonition looks like this:

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• Naturally, the evil researcher wants nothing but data, data, data! As a result, he sends Akashi out to fight the latest Admonition threat even though the kid has been puking his guts out and everything.

• The battle is okay to watch. The repetitive bass line during the scene is distracting though.

• Sasame starts crying at the Reaper’s feet, which distracts Akashi as he gets a vision of her riding a Corpse in the Lightless World. Back in the real world, the girl accidentally kicks a can, which then distracts the Admonition, allowing Akashi to snap out of his funk. I guess she’s just the universal distractor.

• Akashi blows away the Admonition’s exterior, thereby revealing the monster’s core. He then steps back and literally pulls out a mecha scythe:

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Well, it is called the Reaper for a reason… the ending is so anti-climactic though. It simply looks as though the scythe love-taps the Admonition’s core. Nevertheless, our hero saves the day as we a child’s voice cry out, “No… I want to play more… Play with me…” It’s a child that didn’t get to play, y’all. And that’s super sad.

Closing Thoughts
I dunno. I feel like it’s been confirmed since week one that the Admonitions are a manifestation of negative memories left behind. As a result, it kind of feels like the story is spinning its wheels a bit by bringing this subject up yet again. I want to know more about the characters. I want to know what Emiru’s up to. I want to know what the new girl is all about. I want to know why Minashi is so happy-go-lucky. This show isn’t bad, but I feel like it could’ve focused more on the characters in the early-going and less on repeating stuff that it has already established.


6 Replies to “M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 3: Child’s play”

  1. That thing the Reaper holds looks more like a pickaxe to me. But, eh, whatever.

    And ohh, boy! the love triangle has just set foot (you forgot to mention that Akashi felt like he had known Sasame from somewhere else).

    “his show isn’t bad, but I feel like it could’ve focused more on the characters in the early-going and less on repeating stuff that it has already established.”

    Agreed. Okada can throw in some pretty good characterizations (provided you survive the melodrama, of course), but i don’t really see that touch here. It’s as if the characters are just there and nothing else.

    1. The notes aren’t meant to be comprehensive. They’re just things that stuck out enough to me to write down.

  2. The character interactions in school today felt extremely unnatural and just plain bad.This episode just did not feel fluid.

  3. So far after every episode I’ve just sort of gone ‘huh. that was something.’ and that’s it.
    I don’t know why I just can’t seem to have a real opinion about it, I feel like there’s something that just hasnt ‘clicked’ yet to make it either good or bad. When I describe it to someone else I’m basically saying ‘I guess, I really just dont know how to feel about it’- i guess pure neutral is the way I feel??
    I mean at least its not outright hating it (so far) but I’m hoping it picks up speed as the series progresses (especially since this is going to be a two-cour anime, so, hello 24 episodes)

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