M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane – 04 Review
Posted by M0rg0th
Ah, M3, you’ve done it again… Abusing female characters to create drama: What a classy move!
This series is stupid, period.
The Lightless Realm… It’s a thing at a place that does a thing which forces humanity to do this thing with this other thing in order to protect itself from these things. Luckily they have these teenagers who were there when the thing happened and are connected to the thing and they are somewhat able to do these things that aren’t things normal teenagers do which is… a good thing… or a bad thing depending on who you ask.
There’s a new teacher! … again. But this time it’s a woman so that can’t be good news for the nefarious testosterone-laden plans they have. And that new teacher immediately shows off her competence by starting a training-lesson in survival. But she also adds the psychopath to the mix which makes a somewhat relaxing camp-holiday way more stressful than it needs to be considering that nobody has any difficulty at all gathering up and pitching tents for the night.
And Emiru is left alone because Akashi has only eyes for the pure singing chic of the group so she ends up naked at a waterfall when she’s ambushed by the psychopath. Well, at least the psychopath values her… in some REALLY creepy way naturally. But I guess in M3’s universe it’s normal for female character to be looked down upon in some way.
This series always talks about whether the characters should empathize with those poop-monsters… but they never seem to bring up the fact that at this point they’ve already seen two persons murdered by Lightless-Realm-related monsters. Empathy is all fine and dandy but when they’re just being in denial of the danger like that, they just end up sounding like sentimental idiots.
Story is a big thing for me when it comes to reviews. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to their likes and dislikes. I mean, it’s not literally everyone, in this case it’s just those people who sometimes watch animes… or I guess those people who watch anime and then write about then… well, in a review kind of capacity that is… Anyway, story… I like nice stories. If a series tells a good story I will appreciate it and of course I’m not blind to good animation, art and so on but story that’s what my main-focus will always be. But I’m tolerant, patient, I really am. Not everything can be some Shakespearan masterpiece, I’m satisfied by only the basics being done right. Just the stuff that’s the least a series can deliver. A beginning, a middle and an end. That’s it. That’s all I need, just a story that has a point A that goes to a point B and seems somewhat reasonable while doing so. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. Hell, humanity has been at this shit since thousands of years, it really is the least a story could do.
Look, I know what they say: Exceptions prove the rule. And if the stuff I’ve talked about until now presented some sort of rule I think M3 is the big exception that proves it. Storytelling-wise there’s SO much wrong with these four episodes that staring at a white wall for two hours would’ve delivered just as much storytelling. This series seems to be incapable of producing content that would show any sort of progress.
I talk at length about consequences, character-developments and themes each week while reviewing animes and M3 is all that – except it’s the opposite of what a series is supposed to do in regards to that stuff. For four whole fucking episodes the story has just been clearing its throat while the plot is uselessly treading water! Again, the fourth episode managed to deliver the most dimwitted kind of reveals one can imagine – the kindthe audience has already known about for a VERY long time. It’s simply absurd how this series just comes back to the same bulletpoints of the story again and again and again… And it wasn’t even particularly interesting the first time I’ve heard about all the story-elements this series seems to be endlessly juggling. This series simply can’t move on for whatever reason!
And it doesn’t even build up tension because I still don’t know where this story is supposed to go or why any of it should be interesting to me. M3 does a VERY poor job of selling its story – even when you ignore the obnoxious thematic repetition. It’s never established what any of the events in this series mean. The story provides no real context for how to measure the suffering, drama and action. All its stakes are based upon blatant tropes just thrown into the story without being in any way resonant with the world the story is set in. Actually, there are little things in each episode that could be considered new in terms of the story but for the reasons I mentioned I don’t know whether it’s supposed to be a big deal or just nothing. Emiru’s infection may have offered a new detail about her character but the way it’s introduced and treated (even in this episode) is simply meaningless. First of all, this infection doesn’t explain her weird obsessive behavior towards Akashi before the reveal. And second, it’s never really clear what this infection means. Is she gonna die? Will she turn into a monster? I have no idea. It doesn’t change her character, it doesn’t seem to be a motivation and I have no idea what this infection is supposed to do – which makes it just meaningless.
But wait, sorry, I was wrong because Akashi and Emiru actually had a rather normal, pleasant moment of interaction in this episode. Both Akashi and Emiru are suddenly somewhat reasonable in their dealings with the other characters. And Emiru all of a sudden is a haunted girl who just wishes for a better lot in her life and she really loves Akashi but is too shy to admit just how much she needs him to love her back. That’s another thing: Character-developments happen with the subtlety of a sledgehammer hitting a light-switch in this series. The Akashi and Emiru of this episode are VERY different from the snappish, weird assholes they were at the beginning of this series. And they haven’t changed; they are simply different people all of a sudden! Another thing that’s a big part of this episode’s setup: Akashi doesn’t really wanna pilot the Reaper. Okay… WHY?! It’s never explained! And I can guess what this shitty series thinks motivated this change: He feels remorse over killing the poop-monster from last episode because it was based on a kid’s memories. A couple things regarding that: First of all, he did the same thing in episode 01. Second, someone DIED because of that poop-monster and once again this episode just ignores a character’s death. In fact, nobody of the characters since the last third of last episode even acknowledged that the second teacher was ever present. And the third thing is that he still isn’t voicing any real remorse or talks about the poop-monster in a way that hasn’t already been talked about in one way or another. Another reason for his unwillingness would be the whole nausea-thing of course which is just… well, stupid is an appropriate word, I think.
He’s still one of the good guys for some reason.
The actual plot of this episode is about the characters doing survival-training on an uninhibited island. Oh, and it’s of course training for when they will go into the Lightless Realm… because guess what: They are STILL training for whatever reason! Nope, still no Lightless Realm action this week. At this point I guess they will train for 75% of the series while moping and realizing that all the things the audience knew since the first episode are true. Also, the training-exercise is fucking stupid. So, they are dropped off on an island in a way so that they all land in different locations and there’s also a box with a lot of luxurious camping-equipment put onto that island. And the task is for those kids to find that box and have a nice campfire. Sure, I bet that’s gonna prepare them to go into some nightmarish realm full of mutated monsters.
And the episode rightly proves that the real challenge is the fact that the new teacher (that’s the third one in four episodes if you’re counting) has also put Jack the Ripper Jr. on the island because why the hell not? Also, it’s the worst kind of storytelling considering that psychopath was introduced in episode 02, just fell unconscious in the same episode and was then in a coma in episode 03 but in episode 04 he’s all of a sudden running around on the island. What’s the purpose of such a chaotic plot-structure?! This series really seems like a team of writers under the leadership of Mari Okada, I presume, acting like headless chickens each time they have to produce a script for an episode. There really seems to be no plan or focus to what the story is doing so far. It’s just random stuff loosely connected by saying the same stuff over and over again theme-wise.
Fuck this series. Dropped.
- Despite the fact that this is written by Mari Okada, a woman, this is a very misogynistic series. And it isn’t really objectifying female characters by attributing moe-stereotypes to them or something like that, no, this series is all about ridiculing or questioning women at every turn for some reason. Not ever dialogue is like that but at least one scene in each episode so far had a scene where a male character vocally abused a female character in some way. And with that context, when for the first time there’s a sort-of board-meeting with the doctor and all the other hotshots of IX talking dismissively about the new teacher that was forced on them who’s a woman and the whole room is filled with men… Then it most certainly becomes a gender-thing even if the story doesn’t explicitly aims for that.
- And I guess no one’s supposed to be surprised that Akashi’s real love-interest is the pure, emotional, singing girl while Emiru who’s in love with him is left alone with her feelings and coincidentally she’s “soiled” in some way because of that infection.
- Also, this new teacher despite coming into the story to stay, I assume, is as much a non-person as the other two teachers at this point. And I have no idea why she let the psycho-kid go free… if it was her decision.
- Despite four episodes of training I somehow still doubt that those teenagers are in any way prepared to competently investigate the Lightless Realm.
- And the Corpse-thingy really isn’t a thing anymore, it seems… Fuck this series!