M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 4: The love triangle intensifies

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I wonder who Akashi is going to pick.

Episode Summary
The team undergoes a training exercise on a tropical island in the South Seas. In reality, the evil scientist guy merely hopes to collect more data. This time, it’s terror-induced data! There’s some character development stuff tossed in there, but it’s all rather bleh.

• You know the evil scientist guy? Yeah, I just know him as the evil scientist guy. Outside of the main characters, i.e. the eight kids, I don’t know the name of a single soul in this anime. Anyway, evil scientist guy is in a meeting with a bunch of random suits. Apparently, something akin to the Lightless Realm follows a Corpse whenever the latter appears. As a result, only the Reaper can stand a chance of approaching a Corpse. The suits, however, are not pleased to hear that despite Akashi being the best candidate to pilot the Reaper, he’s not exactly embracing the opportunity with open arms. Not only that, the company is forced to take on an SDF member as a result of recent events. Still, evil scientist guy pretty much goes nuts on everyone: “All is going according to plan. Their anxiety, their doubts, their bewilderment, their denial… and even their terror!” Then he starts to laugh like a madman. No, really:

M3 - Sono Kuroki Hagane 0401

How can any of the suits witness this spectacle and not think, “Holy shit, we put this freak show in charge of the operation?” But to be honest, after experiencing the train wreck that is WIXOSS, I’m not surprised anymore when one of Okada Mari’s characters exhibits ridiculous logic.

• Anyway, what are the children up to? We see them parachute to a random tropical island in the South Seas. Y’know, standard wilderness training even though the Lightless Realm resembles nothing like a tropical wilderness. But hey, we may as well try something! Not only that, it seems that Heito is on the loose, and he wishes for the students to feel t-t-terror! Man, I’m not even joking: “They’re here! Let’s enjoy the best of terrors.” How did the scriptwriter manage to come up with these lines without cringing?

• Our kids’ objectives are to retrieve a transmitter somewhere on the island and to meet up in one location as a team. And oh yeah, they should probably avoid being murdered by Heito. Honestly, what on earth is he doing here? Hell, why is he even on the team?

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I get that these select individuals have been chosen because they are probably the best candidates in Japan to handle the craziness of the Lightless Realm. Even so, Heito is literally crazy. As in, “I’ll randomly murder you because I can” crazy. In what world would a member of the SDF approve a wilderness training exercise that involves seven children working together with a clinically insane individual? In M3‘s world, I guess.

• Iwato says to Raika, “If Admonitions are remnants of people’s feelings… Doesn’t that make us murderers as well when we defeat Admonitions?” Haha, what kind of logic is that? I can’t help but imagine that our writer thinks this sort of ridiculous conflation is somehow profound. Ah, you see, aren’t we all murderers on the inside! Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Gosh, this really makes you think, huh?

• For some reason, Emiru is feeling a lot of pain around her abdomen. It’s probably the black mark. Still, since she seems a bit two-faced as a character, I wouldn’t blame anyone for not believing that the girl is actually in pain. When Akashi tells her to stay in one place so he can go and search for the rest of the team, she cries, “Wait! Don’t leave me behind!” Somehow, these words trigger Akashi, and he sees this figure waving to him:

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I don’t know whether to be scared or just laugh at the ridiculous way the silhouette twirls its fingers at the audience. In any case, our churlish protagonist is forced to give the girl a piggyback ride. Yeah, just standard anime stuff. She even has the nerve to tell him to keep his hands off her ass.

• For a bunch of students undergoing wilderness training, these kids are not very smart. Yo, do you guys realize it’s raining? As a result, shouldn’t you be looking for some way to keep yourselves out of the elements? Ah, but hypothermia don’t real. Plus, thanks to the show’s shoddy animation, you can’t even tell that it’s been raining on the characters. They certainly do not look the slightest bit drenched.

• Look at those trees undulate in the wind. That’s some fine ass animation right there. I only wish I had some sort of GIF-capturing software to show you guys what I’m talking about.

• It’s flashback time as we delve into Emiru’s past. I guess she had to deal with being a foster child for a family that never really cared for her. Oh yeah, remember how I wondered in my very first post on the show whether or not Emiru was really older than the rest of Gargouille? After all, one of her classmates had referred to her as an old woman. Well, it turns out she’s always been called an old woman: “Emiru-chan always smells like an old woman.” So nope, she’s not older than anyone, guys! Somehow, a little girl just smells like an old woman. Anyway, thanks to her shitty home life and the way she’s been picked on at school, Emiru now harbors immense hatred for the so-called scrubs in her life. Naturally, this same hatred is also why her thigh is afflicted with that black stuff, which, in her nightmares, threatens to consume her:

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Good emo-y stuff. If you’ll recall, it’s the same stuff that also threatened to consume Heito when he tried to pilot the Reaper. Despite Akashi’s past, Emiru and Heito appear to be our two most troubled members on the team.

• When she comes to, the girl runs off into the forest. Akashi tries to follow her only to find himself lost amongst a bunch of trees with the words “Akashi” and “Reaper” carved into them:

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Right… I’m guessing Heito’s not too pleased that the Reaper had rejected him.

• Iwato and Raika find a crate of their luggage, but all of their stuff has been strewn about. Oh, that crazy Heito! Elsewhere, Emiru shows off her magical ability to sense that her teammates are… lost? Whatever. Minashi then whistles a song, which then gets the girl to sing that song we’ve heard before. Not only that, the song serves as a mating call for the entire team. Mysteriously, they just know exactly where to go in order to gather together. It’s the power of the song!

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And yes, we see chibi versions of all the characters in the Lightless Realm as they shout out to each other. Ugh, they are somehow all childhood friends with one another: “We gathered like this in the past.” And I guess this is why a deranged murderer is on the team. After all, he too shares their ability to group up as one. It’ll be useful in the Lightless Realm, guys! So just bear with the insane Heito!

• Speaking of Heito, the guy finally rears his ugly face. He rambles a bunch about his need to feel terror then leaps at Sasame with a knife, but the manly Akashi leaps in front of her and suffers nary but a scratch!

• First, Heito screams for terror. Then he calms down, looks depressed, then just slinks off into the jungle. Welp. Meanwhile, Akashi and Sasame gaze in each other’s eyes, and it’s making Emiru jealous as fuck. Looks like that black mark is going to get worse tonight.

• At a campfire later that night, some of the kids feel that they would like to quit the team. Since Akashi’s got a score to settle, he won’t be doing that anytime soon. We cut to the evil scientist dude, and apparently, he’s somehow able to monitor their vitals. Not only that, the eight kids are supposed to pair up somehow. Mahmu and Heito are a bit of an anomaly, no? Still, we see Emiru wander off to take a bath by herself. Great, let’s get naked on some tropical island where a known murderer is on the loose.

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Lo and behold, Heito shows up, grabs the naked girl, and spots the black mark on her upper thigh. He proceeds to rub his face all over her crotch. Great. That’s just great. I have no noteworthy closing thoughts on the episode, so we’ll just leave it at that.

8 thoughts on “M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 4: The love triangle intensifies

  1. Anonymous

    I’m not even watching this but it’s too painfully obvious that it wants to be dark and edgy, that it comes across as too forced and unappealing.

  2. flamerounin

    Hmmm, looks like Okada is trying to do a sort of darker and edgier version of AnoHana, with Sasame probably filling in the role of Menma. I wouldn’t be surprised if they reveal later that she is indeed dead all along and is that childhood friend they keep on hinting the kids left behind in that lightless realm.

    Aaaand Okada’s signature love whathefuck-gon has officially began.

    1. E Minor Post author

      If the characters can avoid crying for the entirety of the last three episodes, then it’ll be a step up from Ano Hana already.

      1. flamerounin

        Would “If the characters can avoid crying for the entirety of the last episode” be enough? She did manage to end last fall’s NagiAsu (already way better than AnoHana) without a cryfest after all.

        But then again, I highly doubt she would do that here. Cause y’know, this is a “dark, psychological, teen-angst-ridden drama” *snickers*

  3. elior1

    @e minor you should read what i posted in episode 5 of no game no life before you will watch episode 6

  4. Mocha

    The scenes with the characters panicking on the island were cringeworthy, but they helped set up a nice emotional payoff when they assemble on the beach. I don’t know how you felt watching this episode (besides how stupidly bad the script sometimes managed to be), E Minor, but I rather liked the handling of the tree-graffiti scene, and Emiru’s sexual assault by Heito, once you get over the stupidity of her taking a bath alone on an unknown island, wasn’t badly done either.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I differ in that I didn’t get any emotional payoff. The only expression on my face whenever I watch this show is slight bemusement.


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