M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 10: Bro envy

M3 - Sono Kuroki Hagane 1001

Yo, this is why you don’t want to have unprotected sex with random partners. Tch, that crotch rot. On a more serious note, I honestly found my mind wandering during Akashi’s first encounter with the Reaper-looking Admonition. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop. There’s just something very uncompelling about this series. On paper, it should sound interesting. A bunch of kids form a task force to investigate a bizarre region of the land that causes people to go crazy. The reality, however, doesn’t quite match up with our expectations. The problem is that there’s nothing really all that crazy or disturbing about the Lightless Realm. I’m thinking to myself, “Man, this place should be fucked up.” But it’s so dinky, man. It’s all grey and shit, but otherwise empty. There are Admonitions and a Corpse running about, but they’re ugly and dumb-looking. I naturally can’t help but think that this is all child’s play.

For whatever reason, Saya no Uta, one of those visual novels from Japan, comes to mind. In that story, the main character really does go off the deep end, seeing and feeling some pretty messed up shit. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like Saya no Uta, and no, I don’t want another loli-raping story. But surely, there’s a middle ground somewhere between the visual novel’s nightmare and M3‘s nice little picnic in the park. Y’know how Mahmu tries to serve as the show’s unofficial narrator? She sits there and she mumbles all this dark, foreboding shit about the Lightless Realm, but the execution in reality is really lame. Case in point, she says, “You search and search, but all you find are pieces of emotions you don’t want to know about.” But what are the terrible emotions the characters oh-so-terribly do not want to know about?

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Well, this week, Akashi finally spills the beans, and lets us know why he hates his brother so much. All this build-up, however, and his angst turns out to be, well, quite tame. Basically, Aoshi was the golden child who got all the attention. As a result, he felt abandoned. Whenever Akashi did get any attention, he was only being compared to his accomplished brother. But y’know, Aoshi never treated his otouto poorly. In fact, most of the flashbacks we see seems to paint Aoshi is a pretty good light. Look, I’m not saying that a little kid should have all the cards. Everyone reacts to every situation differently, and for whatever reason, Akashi couldn’t get over it. He couldn’t just be happy for his brother, and his jealousy and envy poisoned their relationship. This isn’t about how much Akashi sucks as a person. This is more of an indictment of how modern society has continued to lag behind on mental health. Kids like Akashi need accessible and affordable therapists or counselors to talk to.

Still, for a show about some bizarre Lightless Realm that turns people into “Necrometal” and supposedly causes the mind to go crazy, this is lame. No, seriously, this is so lame. I sympathize with the kid, but at the same time, his emotional pains are not disturbing nor are they even gut-wrenching. My only thought is, “Hm, you should probably seek help for that,” and that’s it. If we’re going to go the emotional route, I should be sitting here with a pit in my stomach. I should be thinking, “Wow, this is heavy.” But a kid being jealous of his golden child brother? Puh-leeze. Hey, if this was an after school special, that would be just fine. But for a series that wants to paint itself as dark and mysterious, Akashi’s angst is fucking mundane, man. You go talk to someone about it, maybe over some beers — oh wait, he isn’t old enough — and that’s that. Like with a lot of anime series, M3 is a failure of the imagination. Enigmatic and disturbing? Nah. Just Akashi’s personal Tumblr.

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Anyway, there isn’t much else to talk about. Once again, the other kids are useless as Akashi ventures into the Lightless Realm alone. Hell, he didn’t even bother to tell his “teammates” why he had returned, so all they can do is sit there and speculate. Like I’ve said, all Mahmu does is serve as the unofficial narrator of the series. She’ll say something stupid in the middle of a mission, then the other characters sigh. That’s what her character has basically come to. Minashi, on the other hand, tries to be all sagacious and everything. When Akashi is just about to lose all hope, Sasame sings that dorky song that he likes so much. As a result, it gave our hero the resolve to crawl his way out of the Lightless Realm. How does Minashi react, though? He asks, “But what is it you want Akashi to do once he comes back…?” What kind of fucking question is that? Maybe she doesn’t want him to do anything. Maybe she just wants her friend back. Stop trying to be all mysterious and wise when you end up being neither.

One final note: Akashi failed to retrieve Heito or the Sable, but he did get to see Emiru’s spirit one last time before the Corpse presumably made off with her. So that’s cool. He’s got that going for him, at least. I still can’t believe this is a two-cour series. Oh well. Maybe there’ll be something decent next season to replace M3. Then again, maybe not.

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5 thoughts on “M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 10: Bro envy

  1. Anonymous

    As I’ve already said in another site:

    Emiru is going to get the Zessica treatment (damn you Okada) until she either fully dies or the series end, while Sasame Mikonos her way throught the story while being boring and bland as hell.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    This show should have really just gone straight to the point with that Sasame-Akashi-Emiru “love triangle”. Would have been more watchable despite the Okada melodrama

    Reply
  3. IonCaron (@IonCaron)

    The Lightless Realm is built up like a crazier R’lyeh but it doesn’t seem to get the point of that fictional horror city. It’s not about how mushy and “creepy” it is, but rather the bizarreness of it. TRUE bizarreness. People aren’t scared by “scary” but rather “strange”. An “Other realm” should be a place that makes you feel uneasy by looking at it, like that fleeting feeling you get when tilting your head on a picture of someone’s face with the Thatcher effect.

    Use of simple but effective visual illusions (Thatcher effect, facial distortion, body deformation, etc.) can do wonders in fucking with people. When our perception is messed with THEN we feel uneasy, and that lingers with us longer than any other type of horror. Sound design should also mirror this. Things should sound just as unnervingly distorted and strange like a track from the creepier moments in the Black Lodge (Twin Peaks). Kubrick’s “the Shining” is still mostly effective because (aside from great performances) it goes batshit crazy in the latter half and is just strange. Lovecraft’s work has issues, yeah, and his creatures just don’t hold up in the visual medium (fucking Yog-Sothoth looks like flying spaghetti), but their descriptions are timeless and effective because they denote the strange and incomprehensible.

    Saya no Uta had flesh on everything and thought that was effectively creepy. It’s memorable, sure, but only because the concept of ONLY being able to see that all your life is unnerving. The imagery wasn’t creepy. Similarly, the descriptions and mental damage the Lightless Realm inflicts are memorable, but the imagery is hack. Don’t just make it mushy/slimy and gray thinking that’d be creepy. We’re in an era where people make octopus porn! They need more than that to be creeped out!

    Anyway, point is that there’s numerous ways to do this. You can go all Silent Hill/Berserk and have the creatures physically embody PTSD night terrors but the average audience will grow numb to that over time (like Berserk readers not actually being creeped out by the monsters anymore). You need the strange, the bizarre, the incomprehensible without being just random and “oh no! Now I’m morphing into a potato! I’m so insane right now!!” laziness either.

    Man, I typed WAY too much on this. haha It’s just a particular subject I’m invested in.
    tl;dr Yeah, shit’s lazy and deserves to be ridiculed. Haha!
    Also Minashi is shit.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      My only point with Saya no Uta is that despite its flaws, it at least went for it. The Lightless Realm is so lame in comparison to something that isn’t even disturbing in the first place, so that doesn’t leave it in a very good spot.

      Reply
      1. Boytitan

        Gantz 344-around chapter 350 took fear and a unusual environment and created complete despairI would truly kill myself in such a environment, it was just one form of hell after another. And inside the guana base in one of the newer manga issues of knights of Sidonia.


        Also manipulating human figures is not the only thing that is needed to create fear. The flood from halo in the library level in halo 2 and inside gravemind just make me uneasy I love the games but really do not like replaying those levels.

        Reply

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