M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 11: Please save my kokoro

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This may or may not be the last dedicated post that this anime gets. If something turns out to be more interesting in the upcoming slate of Summer shows, I may just relegate M3 to the weekly “Everything Else” catch-all post that I like to do. But I mean, it wouldn’t be much of a loss, would it? We’ve gotten through the entire Spring season, and M3 has yet to deliver the goods. Right from the very start of this week’s episode, Mahmu goes on and on about the red color of the moon, surely a terrible portent of things to come. I get it; we’re establishing the mood! The problem, of course, is that M3 has been establishing the mood for the past three months. When are we going to stop establishing the mood? But enough about that. Let’s get into the latest episode.

— Oh, now Iwato is mad about Natsuiri and what the mad scientist has been doing. I doubt his newfound gumption will amount to much of anything, though. But y’know, he’s paired with Raika, right? Between the two of them, who do you think is more disposable? In other words, who would we kill so that the other person gets to have their own very special mecha? I’m thinking Raika has been a more prominent character in the story so far — granted, not by much — so I’d watch who you piss off, Iwato-kun…

— Raika confesses that she’s too scared to do anything. So… why stick around? I mean, it’s not like she actually gets to do anything but be an observer on the sidelines. If the situation is so scary and you’re not even needed, then why not extricate yourself from it?

— As I’m sure you’re all well aware of, Sasame’s body is slowly turning into Necrometal. Her teammates don’t know this, though. Of course, Natsuiri could just ask the girl to reveal the truth to the rest of the world. But why ask nicely when you could just rip her blouse off right there on the spot, revealing her Necrometal cleavage to the entire room?

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— So we’ve had a pervy instructor, a potential rapist in Heito (who knows what he did to Emiru that night?), and now this. What’s the takeaway? Apparently, blouses are made of tissue paper. Or maybe the coffee-chugging mad scientist is just super strong. Either way…

— Literally, a long silence passes by as everyone stares at Sasame and her Necrometallizing body in shock. But wait, wait, let’s hear what the narrator has to say: “A long silence passed.” Well, that’s a relief. I wasn’t sure how to interpret this awkward cessation of visual and auditory change in the anime, but thankfully, Okada is kind enough to tell me what to think.

— So in the immediate following scene, we see Iwato shooting some hoops. Okay then… Anyway, he and Raika talk about their ignorance, their fears, etc. Eventually, Iwato confesses that he’s glad that the two of them are synchronized. Somehow, he also ends up calling her beautiful. God, I hope one of them turns into a LIM. At this point, I’ve long given up on these characters. Okada has failed to get me to care about them after an entire cour, so I’m just going to start hoping for their hilarious deaths.

— Then we cut to Mahmu being weird and antisocial–… y’know, what she’s always been since the show started. She seems to think whatever she writes down in her notebook comes true, but with a twist. So she’s crying because this isn’t how she wanted Emiru to stay alive. In any case, a scene that should be powerful ends up feeling hollow because Mahmu is poorly developed, and Emiru has all but disappeared as a character in the past few weeks. I mean, sure, she appeared as a ghost to briefly speak with the main character in last week’s episode, but still, it’s rather hard to get emotionally invested when the depth of these two girls are as ethereal as Emiru’s current existence.

— We’re going through the pairings or non-pairings one-by-one, I guess, so next up is Minashi and Sasame. Ever contrived in his enigmaticness, Minashi mutters that they both knew this day would come. As a result, he stands up and tries to plant a big fat one on Sasame. Yes, that sounds like a swell idea. Did the mad scientist just humiliate you by stripping you down to your bra in front of your teammates? Well, let’s get romantic, baybee! C’mon, give ol’ Minashi a chu~ In the end, they end up bumping foreheads, so I’m sure some of you are like, “Hah! He didn’t want to kiss her! He just wanted to link brains with her like some weird alien species.” Well, if that was really the case, why did he purse his lips and close his eyes as he leaned in? Oh, is that just the anime trying to throw us off? Well, I wouldn’t put it past Okada…

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— Anyway, a series of ritualistic images flood Sasame’s mind as a result of this… brain-link, but y’know, there’s not much to say about these images ’cause they have no context. At the same time, however, weird Japanese villages and their bizarre practices leading to something monstrous or unnatural have been a pretty big mainstay in Japanese horror stories across all mediums. Off the top of my head, I instantly think of the Siren video game series. I quite liked their gameplay, in fact, and I’m a little disappointed we haven’t seen a sequel since Siren: Blood Curse. But I digress. My point is that while we don’t really understand what these images are, it’s probably nothing original as far as anime is concerned. M3 can feel free to prove me wrong.

— Last but not least, let’s see what our main character is up to! Oh good, he’s kicking over a chair. From one angsty teenager moment to another, huh? He’s mad that Sasame didn’t tell him about her Necrometallizing condition, but I don’t know, man. You gotta admit you’re not exactly the easiest person to open up to. Remember the whole Emiru thing? Yeaaaaaaah… Plus, every time Kasane wanted to talk to him about his brother, Akashi threw an angry bitchfit about it. Let’s face it: the main character’s a dick, so I have no clue why anyone would love him, much less his teammates.

— Through Akashi’s memories, we see how the rest of the meeting with Natsuiri might’ve unfolded. I only say “might’ve” because memories are unreliable and I feel like being pedantic today. Anyway, as expected, Sasame runs off all embarrassed and whatnot, and Akashi turns his attention to the mad scientist. But I can’t take this shit seriously. It’s just the dialogue, man. Damn me? No, DAMN YOU!

— So Natsuiri ends up playing them for fools, claiming that if they can defeat the Corpse, he might be able to “do more research on that Corpse,” and therefore, “find a way to stop the progression of [Sasame’s] Necrometal.” Based on what, though? What current evidence even remotely suggests that defeating the Corpse will somehow help them cure Sasame of her bizarre disease? Like I’ve said, Natsuiri are playing these kids for chumps, but hey, it works. Akashi swears he’ll crush the Corpse. It’ll be a regular ol Corpse party.

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— Eventually, our hero leaves his room and conveniently runs into Sasame. She has set up shop on a patio as she intends to sleep under the stars tonight. It feels like one of those things you’d do if you’ve given up hope, and sure enough, the girl has seemingly resigned herself to the fact that she’ll soon become a LIM one day. But hey, she’ll be able to help the rest of the team by becoming a mecha component! What anime girl doesn’t want to be the disembodied voice from within the machine?

— Sasame claims she’s “never felt the emotion of happiness” until she came to live here with the rest of the team. Riiiiight. All her life, she has never felt any shred of happiness until now. I mean, sure, it’s possible that she may have had a shitty childhood before the start of this series, but that just leads us to another point: we don’t know anything about these characters! Out of nowhere, Sasame hints that she’s lived a shitty life up until now. ‘Cause c’mon, if you’ve never felt happiness before in your entire life, you must have lived a pretty shitty life. In any case, this is not a revelation that should be casually mentioned in a conversation. Rather, this is what our reaction should be: “Holy shit, you’ve never felt happiness before? Wow, that’s messed up.” But for M3, it’s just “Ho-hum, being with your tomodachis is the only time you’ve ever been happy, so let’s just emphasize that and address none of the questions that are naturally raised as a result of said revelation.” I’m actually beginning to enjoy the anime, but not in the typical, straightforward fashion that one might expect. Rather, I’m enjoying M3 because it’s such a great example of everything that is wrong with serious anime storytelling.

— Our hero decides to turn the tables on Sasame. If she doesn’t want to save herself, then save him! If she gives up her life, his heart–… no, his kokoro will never be the same again! Gasp, won’t anybody think of los kokorones! Actually, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I’m just combining languages now because, well, it’s just hard to take this show seriously anymore.

— Akashi sees his reflection in a nearby clock, and is thus scared out of his mind at the fact that he happens to be smiling during this sad, tearful moment. Sasame says, however, that he’s actually crying. Man, c’mon, the two expressions of emotions aren’t even that diametrically opposed. I know what the story’s trying to do here. He’s smiling, but he’s also crying! How paradoxical! Has Akashi thus gone off his rockers? But smiling and laughing aren’t uncommon responses to stress: “Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran states ‘We have nervous laughter because we want to make ourselves think what horrible thing we encountered isn’t really as horrible as it appears, something we want to believe.'” Sorry, M3, but you’re going to have to try a little harder. But oh well, Akashi gets to spend the night buried in Sasame’s half-metal chest as she comforts him, so I guess he wins out in the end.

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— We see some flashback involving Akashi’s parents. Apparently, when he had gotten lost that time, he was actually lost in the Lightless Realm. Anyway, he says something about how crying doesn’t get you what you want, so he subconsciously tried to stop crying. He comes to the conclusion that this is why he smiled when he first heard his brother had died. But anyways, the guy finally admits to himself that he was actually sad at that very moment. Oh well, no big surprise here; the main character is no weird sicko like Heito. He just didn’t have a good handle of his emotions.

— More pointless narration. Naw, I didn’t realize that these two had just shared a tender moment. Please, tell me more about it. A lot of times, narration is just an example of pure laziness. Any idiot can write narration to explain the thoughts of the characters. What this tells me instead is that we’ve given up on trying to convey these characters’ emotions in less direct means. It’s too hard! Too much work! Or maybe the audience is too stupid to realize that Akashi and Sasame would never want their tender moment to end! As a result, let’s have some disembodied voice spell everything out instead.

— The next day, Sasame wakes up to find that she had slept all night in the upright position. That couldn’t have been very comfortable. Also, Akashi is nowhere to be found, but eh, fuck him. Minashi is here to creep things up a bit, though! First, isn’t it convenient that he happened to have walked by just as she woke up? It could be that synchronization thing that brought him here. Or more likely, he’s been standing there beneath the patio waiting for her to wake up. Told ya he’s creepy. Not only that, he might be somewhat jealous of the ever-increasing closeness between Sasame and Akashi. Looks like this love triangle could slowly morph a love polygon. Besides, if Sasame ever becomes a LIM, it’s not like she would replace Aoshi as Akashi’s LIM.

— Minashi goes, “That emotion you harbor in your heart right now is the driving force for everything.” Alright, asshole, I’m getting real tired of your enigmatic schtick. Shit or get off the pot, man.

— Meanwhile, Suzaki tells Kasane that the both of them better prepare themselves “to bear the burden of sin.” Sorry, but who in the real world talks like this? Next time I watch a guy throw his cigarette butt to the ground, I’m going to tap him on the shoulder, and tell him to prepare to feel the burden of his sin weigh down his kokoro.

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— Anyway, this post is getting a little long, so let’s speed things up a bit. Natsuiri approves of another excursion into the Lightless Realm. After all, we still haven’t recovered the Sable and its lunatic pilot. So this will be what? The third time we’ll head into the Lightless Realm? Who wants to bet the third time will be the charm and we’ll see something — anything — interesting from the upcoming mission? Akashi then says something to make Kasane cry — the reason the Reaper had rejected her was because no man would have his lover do anything dangerous, blah blah blah — and then the episode ends with Akashi back on the train tracks to hell. Whoopee, great episode.

— So more of this show or not? At the moment, I’m not sure. If I stop blogging M3, I’ll need something else to take its place. None of the upcoming midweek shows for the summer, however, look to be any good, though.

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4 thoughts on “M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane Ep. 11: Please save my kokoro”

  1. How can you watch this crap? I gave up long ago when I realized this was just Aquarion EVOL all over again, I’m no writer but even I can tell this anime is full of shit.

    It seems Amazon jas canceled the pre-orders of this anime, also from an interview with the director it seems that he liked Emiru and thought that Okada was going to keep developing her into a more interesting arc so he let hwr do what she wanted (wrong move), then whem he saw how she killed Emiru off so easily he was just as surprised and pissed as the audience and it seems this is isn’t the first director to have this kind of experience with Okada, take this with a grain of salt since it was something I read somewhere else but it does make a lot of sense.

  2. if you stop blogging about this, maybe you could make time for that kindaichi post that you mentioned months ago?

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