M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane Review

This is review number three hundred and two. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup and it’s a big doozy. It’s an anime called M3: The Dark Metal or M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane. It’s a twenty four episode anime about, really nothing but a bunch of awesome clusterf*cks. I’ll be using that word a lot in this review so I think it’s going to be a fun day for everyone. Let’s read on.

Story

This anime is about eight people that joined a team created by an organization tasked to handling the dangerous lightless realm. Since its appearance, trouble has been happening with monsters crawling out of the area and innocent people dying because of turning into Necrometal. The eight people are tasked to train so they can enter the lightless realm and uncover its mysteries. Little do they know though that they used to play hide and seek in this dangerous realm that is now plaguing the world.

Taking the Pants Off

This is an anime I really wanted to love. A story of eight kids with twisted minds caused by a traumatic childhood they all can’t remember and is now creeping back to confront them sounds like a really amazing plot. Layer the story with the unstable personalities of the characters, add some nihilism, mix in some well executed horror and some nicely paced mystery and you basically have a gold mine. The writing sounded brilliant the moment I saw the show and I really wanted to see it develop. To top it off, this anime is directed by Junichi Sato and it’s an original screenplay by Mari Okada. It sounded like the ultimate anime to me. Unfortunately for everyone, this show turned crap the moment you realize the actual story is really weak and every potential to make this an incredible show is crushed to dust as you keep progressing. M3 is one of the most disappointing anime I have ever seen and I get a lot of these. This show stings the most though because I actually wanted to see it succeed and you can easily see how it can do that. Unfortunately, the anime added tons of useless gimmicks on top of its initial premise and became a sad directionless anime as you mercifully wait for it to end. This show has amazingly bad writing and I am particularly pissed off because the whole thing felt half-baked yet it was still made into an anime series. M3 is directionless. It has no main story to stick to, it is nineteen episodes too long and Satelight relying on yet another mecha frame for this show ultimately doomed it. There are a lot of things wrong with this anime and I want to f*cking rip it apart for making me waste twenty four f*cking episodes on something that shouldn’t even have pass the storyboarding process. It’s amazing how no one noticed the anime they made is crap and needs editing. It feels like they didn’t really care and just finished the project without making a final check. It’s as bad as someone writing a review and not proof reading it.

Anyways, the anime opened with a pretty decent premise. It’s about Tokyo being plagued by this thing called the lightless realm. It’s a place where things turn into necrometal when exposed for too long but not before having your mind slushied in a giant freak bath. It’s covered in entire darkness and you’re likely to die if you enter it. The lightless realm needs to go though so an organization called “IX” has decided to form an experimental team that’ll venture the realm and find a way to make everything go away. IX decided to pick eight participants in this experimental project called Gargouille. Most of them are high school students and they’re basically just asked to pilot a bunch of mecha. In order to do that, they need to train. There is a bigger reason for them being chosen though and this experimental team is forced to experience a bunch of bad things that are totally out of their control. They can’t refuse it. It’s for the good of mankind. If the team needs to be sacrificed for the greater good then Team Gargouille will be led to the slaughter kicking and screaming if needed. All eight participants have something in common though despite being very different from each other. In the past, they actually played games as kids together. This connection seemingly qualifies them to be in this experimental team. So it begs the question, what exactly happened to them when they were young?

As I said, this anime is directionless. Most anime would have plot points that run all throughout the series and it gradually develops into something more. This show was loaded with a lot of plot points that appears and re-appears with no forewarning. It’s like being electrocuted with no real idea when the shock is coming. A story about an experimental team being groomed to enter the lightless realm eventually transitioned into a story about admonitions (monsters born from the lightless realm) being humans and the characters can hear them suffer which then transitioned into a story of the eight characters being paired up together for no clear reason. It is a freaking mess with the anime darting all over the place. It had gore, thriller, action, mystery, sci fi, mecha and even comedy being presented at the same time. I was personally feeling out the main theme of the show just so I can figure out where the anime is headed. Unfortunately, this anime is really just one big mess.  It had no clear story and it’s just constantly shifting from one plot point to another. At first I thought that it was intentional. Some great novel adapted anime started out messy and it eventually sorts itself out. I thought the same thing for this anime. I thought the first few episodes are meant to be a confusing f*ckfest and there is some satisfying pay off at the later parts of the show. Yeah, we shall see. I don’t want to just jump to it. Let’s take this one step at a time. This review would be a f*ckfest as well if I pointed out all the loose plot points that randomly develop in the show. Instead, let’s divide the show into five different chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different thing that is actually not even mentioned in previous chapters. I think you can also see the shoddy writing with how each chapter is sloppily presented.

The first chapter is about the formation of team Gargouille. Things start out innocent enough. We are introduced to various characters that comprise this team. It was pointed on early on that the team must train to be able to pilot a robot inside the lightless realm. There is even an awesome scene of one of the girls being battered by baseballs and the coach assisting them calls it training. You can immediately feel things are awry though because the anime opened with eight kids inside the lightless realm screaming ”Where are you?” and “I’m right here” yet the show never mentions it again afterwards. Most show would layer its story but M3 immediately shifted with the story of how the team is formed. The annoying part is that we already know they are the eight kids inside the lightless realm and you were hoping for it to eventually become part of the story. Instead, the show constantly dodges it. Sure, there are mentions of the cast being absolutely insane and there’s a subtle mention of their traumatic past but nothing certain. It was a disjointed story of eight people just randomly training with this big plot point seemingly held up in the air not permitted to move. Things go more confusing when it was introduced that monsters exists within the realm. Admonitions are monsters born from the remains of humans and the characters can actually hear the emotions in the monsters. They might be killing monstrosities but they also have a human side to them. Naturally, you’d expect that the story would then build on this angle some more. They introduced “corpses” that are huge monsters also born in the lightless realm and you were hoping that all the loose plot points would connect together. This is even wonderfully topped off by establishing that when people hear corpses sing then they’ll die nine days later. All eight heard the corpse sing one fateful night and you were led to believe an exciting premise was just established. Like a Greek tragedy, it is already established that these characters will die and the story will take a really dramatic turn.

Chapter one held a lot of promise. The story it presented is really beautiful. With the mecha training and the characters unknowingly related to each other, you just had a feeling this anime is going to be epic. Even though this show only got good around the fifth episode, you just had a feeling that there is some amazing pay off at the end. Even with the messy progression, there is still some clear development that you can easily follow. At some point, the eight characters are revealed to share some kind of special power among them. It was still related to that scene where they’re inside the lightless realm so all is good so far. The wrench that screwed up the show is when the unstable character of the anime immediately started to show some crazy affection toward another character. It seemed off and a bit stupid but you kind of trust the anime is doing this because the story needs it to develop. Soon, the anime is plunged in a lot of melodrama. I don’t normally find it bothersome but the sudden shift towards the personal relationships of the characters stalled the progression of the main story. All eight characters were evenly presented at the start of the show and suddenly, the relationship of two characters is put in the spotlight. With no forewarning and no steady buildup, the show just started giving us heavy melodrama between characters. It eventually served a purpose towards the end of the first chapter but this story of eight characters having a shared past and special ability, which are destined to die at some point while being groomed to enter the lightless realm, is promptly tossed out the window. The sudden focus towards the characters and their relationship destroyed the first chapter’s progression. This chapter ended though with one character unceremoniously dying which still left like the show is heading in the right direction. Of course, any sign of hope is crushed further on as the show introduced us to the second chapter.

The second chapter is about Akashi and his brother. The other seven characters are cut off from this second chapter. With no proper transition, the show suddenly shifted the story towards one character. This chapter is your typical mecha story. A very angsty boy is asked to pilot the only robot that can save mankind. So it’s no longer eight characters destined to die. It’s now one character destined to pilot one important mecha. At this point, I kind of knew the anime is a hopeless cause but I still watched hoping the second half will provide some decent pay off. Anyways, Akashi is piloting the same robot that his brother used to pilot. The poor bastard died in the lightless realm and Akashi kind of grew up hating the guy. Akashi had a rough childhood and he always blamed his brother for all his misery. By itself, it is a pretty good story. Sure, the first chapter and the second chapter don’t make sense together but as a standalone, it’s still entertaining. The anime was nicely layering this story of a guy really hating his brother so hard that he even curses the poor dude long after the guy is rotting in the ground. His hatred is immense and the past is really hitting him hard in the stomach. Akashi is undergoing a sort of rebellious phase while not accepting the fact that he doesn’t want to pilot the only robot that can save humanity. This is peppered with this story of how much he hates his brother. When a mission to retrieve something inside the lightless realm is given to Akashi, he soon discovers something truly horrifying about the robot he is piloting. It’s a nicely executed twist that I actually liked and convinced me to keep on watching. If the show can present such a gripping story between two brothers then it’s a clear sign that the show is finally progressing favorably. This, in turn, made me really excited with the third chapter.

The third chapter is about the LIMs. This one does nicely connect with the second chapter wherein team Gargouille discovers that the LIMs possesses something really f*cked up that made everyone shudder in terror. The thing established in the first chapter about the characters dying is re-incorporated here. Yes, things seem to be shaping up. The experimental team is now really just experimental subjects as this really crazy scientist tries to advance his research on the LIMs. I love this chapter a lot because we are introduced to the terrifying character named Natsuiri. He was present in the two chapters but he played a big role in the third one. He is a scientist really just concerned about his research. He treated humans as nothing more than lab rats to help advance his studies. He would manipulate people, force them to do things they don’t like while dangling this idea that they need to do this for the sake of mankind and even laugh at how easily suggestive and manipulated these people are. He is evil as f*ck and his studies on the LIMs really gave this show some renewed life. Soon, the anime was presenting this story of how science can often lack morality when it really wants something bad. It’s like those upsetting stories of doctors injecting cancer cells to infants for the sake of studying how cancer grows. If you find that idea deplorable then you’ll hate Natsuiri with every fiber of your being. The wonderful thing about this chapter is how the eight characters are being re-introduced into the mix. It’s already established that Akashi is the big shot here but the seven characters are also given some decent roles. Knowing how f*cked up things are progressing, some of them are forced to choose if they still want to participate in Natsuiri’s sick games. They often don’t have a choice though because they are really the only hope to get rid of the lightless realm. Backed into a corner unable to accept their fates, some of these characters can go downright insane.

The third chapter is almost perfect if it wasn’t for one thing. This chapter is also bogged down by more melodrama. The one in the third chapter is particularly more annoying though because, for absolutely no reason, Akashi is in love with another character. It came out of nowhere. One moment, Akashi is thwarting off this girl’s advances with his cool “I don’t care” personality and then, f*cking out of nowhere, he is asking to be cradled like a baby by another girl. The melodrama is easy to stomach because you already see the show stupidly incorporate it before. The misplaced romance is tougher to swallow. The second chapter blocked out all the characters except for Akashi so it just doesn’t feel right that he’ll suddenly have feelings for one of them. This is easier to accept if the show introduced it beforehand and gradually develops it. While this love story really does play a big role in the overall story, I think it’s all the more important to introduce it as an important plot point. You don’t just suddenly tell audiences that Akashi is in love with someone for no reason. That’s as stupid as having him fall in love with a random cow. The setup of that romance will be just as abrupt. There are moments where the girl would be hot and cold towards Akashi as well and it’s really annoying. At some point, you’ll just feel lost. Seriously, what the f*ck is happening? It gets really tiresome to see situations popping up randomly and then overhauling the progression of the show. This romance bullsh*t killed the nihilistic potential of the anime and the whole deal of the characters hearing a corpse song and dying after nine days is also flushed down the toilet. Apparently, this romance is more important. Try to accept the fact that this anime is just erratic because it goes into a seizure once it enters its second half.

The fourth chapter is kind of like an answer arc. I think fifteen episodes later, the fact that the eight characters were once in the lightless realm is finally acknowledged by the show. It took this long for the very first scene of the anime to actually be part of the damn story. Anyways, their special power and their traumatic past are explained in this chapter. It provided some needed answers concerning the events of the anime but it doesn’t really improve the narrative at all. This chapter is also bogged down by uninteresting character relationship melodrama that doesn’t really mean much. It’s basically just seeing random characters b*tch and moan for a very long time. With the lack of action and episodes having nothing but dialogue heavy scenes, any hope of the show becoming good is promptly killed at this point. Watching beyond the fourth chapter is just punishment. The romance is continued at this chapter and it isn’t really all that interesting. It’s all the more annoying when you discover the truth hiding inside the lightless realm. Apparently, the world is being destroyed because of a ten year old grudge. At this point, I just honestly didn’t care. The story darted off into another new plot point that randomly came out of nowhere and more melodrama is added to give the show more bulk. To be fair, I find the origin of the corpse to be interesting but I don’t like how the anime, once again, single out characters in this chapter. They even slowly forget five of the eight characters just to make the romance more compelling. This chapter hits a climax when the grudge is given action and an even darker past about some random characters are revealed to be the cause of the lightless realm. It’s an answer arc so a lot of things are decently explained even though they didn’t really help into making the story that much more compelling. How can you recover from some romantic melodrama? The anime kinda killed itself early on which led to one clusterf*ck of a final chapter.

The final chapter is basically just the ultimate climax of the show’s utter f*ckfest. Every episode is standalone as it features different things littered all throughout the anime. It’s short sighted storytelling at its very worst. One episode would feature the story of Akashi and his brother with the next episode featuring Natsuiri with the next focusing on Akashi’s coming of age with the next featuring the disjointed romance with the next featuring a random character suddenly going antagonistic. Each episode is topped with their own melodrama and every one of them is unfulfilling as the next. The sad part is that you can feel the show realized it shot itself in the foot and had trouble ending the show. It darted all over the place with no clear focus on the story and just miserably reached an ending. I personally felt embarrassed for the show and just hoped to gawd it ends quickly. The final chapter even pulled a fast one on us by forcing one of the characters to be a bad guy and then somehow flipped the story with Akashi apparently having an awesome ability that far exceeds what other pilots can do with their LIMs. While you can say that each episode featured closure for each chapter, the fact that this mecha anime started from a story of eight characters that ended up into a pathetic story of one guy saving the world is absolutely horrible. It’s actually beyond horrible. You actually can’t hate it that much because you’re actually embarrassed by it and massively embarrassed for the people that worked in it. It’s an embarrassing anime. I’ve seen three hundred anime in my short time as TPAB and this has got to be the first time I didn’t hate the anime or felt that much pissed at how potential is wasted. I was embarrassed. I want to rub this salt in the wound some more. This Satelight studio anime directed by Junichi Satou and created by Mari Okada is f*cking embarrassing.

I really do think that the only problem this anime had is editing. For some reason, no one was bothered by how disjointed the story is. It had too much going on and not enough cohesion to really give justice to the story. I think everyone had a hand to play in this anime’s destined failure. When I was just an enthusiastic anime fan, I always hear people praise Mari Okada. She did a lot of series composition for a lot anime. Series composition is basically the person in charge that decides what appears in an episode. She handled some anime like Black Butler, AnoHana and Toradora. The list of shows she was involved in is pretty long and amazing. Recently though, her work is looking pretty sloppy. I reviewed a lot of shows where she handled the Series Composition and they aren’t that good. AKB0048, Zetsuen no Tempest and Nagi no Asukara are all sloppy mess that she apparently had a hand in creating. In fact, Nagi no Asukara was so disappointing for me that I still have it in my drafts folder and I refuse to finish that review. It just sucked so badly. I must admit that her job isn’t easy. She basically plans out the show and make sure everything makes sense. Still, if you’re so good then explain this goddamn anime. The baffling thing though is that Junichi Satou accepted the Series Composition and directed the anime. I always loved how effective his anime are. He always seems to know how to establish mood and inject emotion in dry scenes. He has a directorial vision I always respected. How in the holy hell did something so embarrassing come from such an amazing guy? How did he not look at the script and realize the story is awful? I mean, my gawd, producing twenty four episode of disjointed crap had to bother him, right? No? So he just accepted the script as is and then animated it? All right. Let’s be fair, some internal bullsh*t always happen when it comes to making anime. It’s especially risky for shows with an original script. The embarrassing effort of Junichi and Mari is something I’ll just try to forget with a bottle of beer. Looking back though, I think Satelight also set this anime up for failure. They love mecha anime but I honestly think that M3 didn’t need to be a mecha anime. If you strip away the giant robots then you can kinda see where the show was actually headed to. The mecha is just a gimmick the show didn’t really need but I had a feeling a certain studio wanted to flaunt its mecha designs once again. If this was just a straight up thriller about eight teenagers experiencing angst while their traumatic past is haunting them then I think a lot of the plot points would make more sense. It could’ve been a deep character study instead of this stupid mecha anime that is just embarrassing to watch.

Anyways, I think I made it clear how disappointing this anime is. Let’s talk about the characters next. They were the victims of a poor story and they often needed to catch up with the erratic progression of the show. So, in other words, the characters are also erratic. They’re all one dimensional but their demeanor changes as constant as the show shifts focus of its story. So a timid character that had no dialogue in one scene would be a flirty little b*tch in another with no buildup or fleshing out. Early characters had a stable personality but everyone else is slowly butchered by the story. Akashi would be the main character of sorts. He doesn’t really possess a personality and he is mostly defined by his misplaced anger on the world which is veiled by his distant personality that often becomes affectionate when the script calls for it. It’s absolutely horrid because he often insists that people leave him alone and then suddenly, he’ll be chasing a girl as if his life needs companionship all of a sudden. The show established this thing where a character claims Akashi can’t protect anyone and he is often protected by others. I think it’s a good side of his character but it wasn’t developed well. He is often asked to be the only main character of the anime but I think the show itself can’t decide exactly where they want Akashi in. Do they want him as the lead or among the eight characters? It’s frustrating seeing him go main character then side character as the series progresses. For Akashi, we are really only missing growth. He “shuts off his heart” and I think it could’ve been a great way for him to develop as a character but the show doesn’t really know what to do with him. Hell, it doesn’t know what to do with all of them.

There were a lot of wasted characters in this anime. A good example would be Heito Isaku. He is the white haired dude that is basically a psychotic assh*le. He is an amazing character. He is unstable, he is downright insane and he is emotionally fragile. It’s like watching a weeping Doberman while it mauls a kitten to death. From the start of the series though, it’s clear that the show really have no idea what to do with him. He acted insane and excitingly unpredictable but he also lacked growth and a sense of direction. He had this uncomfortable fling with another character but it didn’t amount to anything. He soon got pushed to the side and basically just did nothing for majority of the series. If he was properly fleshed out, he could’ve been the yin to Akashi’s yang. He could’ve been this guy Akashi doesn’t like but they somehow share a bond the story could’ve easily filled in. Towards the end of the series, he completely lost a role in the show and laughably just came back for sh*ts and giggles. Heito is awesome by default though. After finishing the anime, I still consider him a great standout for this embarrassing show. The character that the show really mishandled would have to be my favorite of them all, Maamu Yuzuki. She is the quiet girl with a beautiful piercing stare and she is so anti-social that she retreats to writing fan fictions of everything she sees and feels. When someone acts like a b*tch in front of her, she’ll be writing a story about them secretly and then creepy laugh in a corner weirding everyone out. She had massive appeal since she was established to be the only character with no “partner” as part of the storyline for the second chapter. The show could’ve used her as a wonderful emotional anchor to improve the story. If all the characters are busy cradling Maamu then there is a steady chance for development and a sure clear way to balance all eight characters. Akashi is the sun and Maamu could’ve easily been the moon. She could’ve been the quiet person that knows everyone secrets and it could’ve bonded the large cast. The show could’ve then used every character more effectively instead of the pointless melodrama that heavily plagued this show. The thing that annoys me the most is this undeveloped plot point for Maamu. It was established early on that, for some reason, her fanfics somehow comes true and Maamu goes on a guilt trip every time it happens. There is your nihilism. There’s the mindf*ck element to turn the story juicy and the show chose to not further develop it. It was frustrating. You had amazing characters with compelling elements to them yet you chose not to utilize them.

I like Emiru though. She was a persistent nag and just continues to be one until she exited the stage. The show tried to inject some depth to her personality but she really didn’t need to be fleshed out. She could’ve been the headless magical girl for this series. Her exit should’ve triggered the nihilism and I’m just a bit pissed that they wasted the opportunity. They even try to being the girl back in the loop but she really didn’t need to. From the moment you see her, you wanted her to die and it’s a shame the show can’t even do that. Raika and Iwato are two characters that had a really wonderful relationship. The show just badly mishandled their importance. They had a blossoming relationship that the anime didn’t utilize. If the nihilism was triggered by Emiru then Raika and Iwato’s situation would’ve made more sense. They give hope for each other in a world where they are destined to die. It could’ve been f*cking amazing. Unfortunately, they just floated aimlessly in the series. They are as directionless as the story itself. It’s a shame because Iwato is Akashi’s close friend and Raika is a skilled mecha pilot. I can’t comprehend how they were unceremoniously shoved out in the story when they were setup to do more than just suck each other’s faces. Sasame is a bland character. She is the worst kind of blandness where you really don’t care if she exists. She was just there smiling and doing stuff you don’t really care about. Someone flipped a switch though and somehow, Akashi was attracted to her. Her role in the show is as confusing as seeing a f*cking cow milk itself. That’s weird, right? Sasame, the bland character, is even weirder. The show just constantly shoves her in our faces and it was truly annoying. I’ll give points to when she was introduced to the LIM but everything before and after that is just bland stupid stuff. I guess I just really don’t understand her. The anime explained at the end exactly what her deal is but I personally don’t care. Her odd relationship with Minashi is probably the best thing about her but it’s only because Minashi is the better character.

Actually, I take it back. Minashi is probably the most erratic character in the show. He started out as this childish guy and then he became an antagonist. For no reason, his entire personality gets warped and twisted just because the show needed a villain to close the show. He was a stupid antagonist. He suddenly had problem with Akashi, he acted like a blinded person with gawd complex and assumed an arrogant personality seemingly out of nowhere. Minashi is a clear sign that the show is just pulling things out of its ass. I’m guessing the childish act is just a guise though but the show never gradually let him shed the guise. He just erratically became savage. If the progression was slower and more meaningful then Minashi could’ve been an even bigger psycho than Heito and it’s too bad it wasn’t the case. There were also other characters like Akashi’s siblings and a few staff of the experimental team. They were badly mishandled as well who often floated aimlessly like the other characters in the anime. I do think they had a really important role to play in the show but the story was such a clusterf*ck that they didn’t amount to anything. If there’s one character that I actually liked then it’s have to be Natsuiri. This crazy bastard is the only consistent character in the show. He was just batsh*t crazy and he enjoyed being mentally unstable. He manipulated people, toyed with their emotions and even laughed at their despair. He will get under your skin but you also can’t help but admire how brilliant he thinks. He is always two steps ahead of others and he actually does create solid plans to save Tokyo from the lightless realm. He was just lacking morals while he pursues it. Humans are convenient test subjects for him and you’re either with him or against him. If you’re against him then he’ll find a way to make you agree with him so he always wins in the end. The show didn’t properly utilize him though. He was such a strong antagonistic presence that he could’ve actually used the lightless realm as a toy gun and achieves a gawd like status if the show wished for it. I give points for revealing his backstory which makes him all the more interesting as a character but I think the f*ckfest of the final chapter ultimately ruined him.

Sight and Sound

m3-14

Character design is pretty ordinary. It doesn’t stand out that well. Apparently, this anime was somehow inspired by the manga “Mortal Metal” by Ryuichi Sadamatsu. He just draws clean lines and doesn’t put emphasis on the characters. They all have rather ordinary looks with the hair design being the only standout. Even the mecha designs didn’t look as awesome but he makes up for it with consistent drawings of the characters and perfect illustration of various emotions. His style is somehow adapted by Onigunsou for this anime. This dude does amazing illustrations. His black and white artworks are so amazing that you can see how masterful they are created. The amount of details and shadowing on his work is pretty amazing. Sadly, his style wasn’t translated into the anime. The characters all look a bit cliché. There are some cute standouts like Maamu’s design but it’s not enough. The lack of details for the characters often makes you lose interest in them. The only thing I liked about the designs is the details on the eyes. It’s the only part that really has any shade of detail in it despite looking like your plain old anime eyes.

The animation is inconsistent. It goes from decent to bad to embarrassing in various episodes. Sometimes, close up shots of the faces looks good but then they’ll look distorted from a far. Certain scenes like walking and talking looks awkward from time to time and the expressions of the faces are also a bit disappointing. The fight scenes are also pretty bad. Satelight is proud of its mecha and I don’t understand why. They kinda suck, hard. They use stiff CG for animation which makes the robots look awkward and the enemies are a bit uninspired. The mecha designs they are so proud of flaunting often just looks sad because the fight scenes are grainy and it lacks depth to truly be enjoyable. The fight scenes are also very few so it’s annoying to know that they didn’t even give effort in short scenes like that. The low quality look of the show is really just th final nail in the horrible coffin of this goddamn anime. I can recommend Guilty Crown to people because it excels in animation despite the horrible story. For M3, the writing sucks and the animation is just as horribly bad. It’s just bad all around.

The anime has two OP. The first one is “Re:REMEMBER” by May’n. I like this song. It’s haunting and a bit mysterious. May’n has a nice voice but it’s the chilling lyrics that make this song special. It’s about holding onto hope even though you are already in a dire situation. It nicely reflects the supposed nihilism involving the eight characters. In fact, the OP sequence tells a better story than the anime. It has a very sad montage of the characters enveloped in ruins. It feels poetic and the song just adds more depth to the whole thing. This is a very misleading OP though so don’t trust it. The content of the actual anime doesn’t have anything compared to the opening sequence. The second OP is “Replica” by Maaya Sakamoto. This one is very vibrant and hopeful. It’s a song about people choosing their own destinies and it’s a complete opposite of the first OP. The nihilism seems to fade as if a brand new day is ready to take over. The OP sequence is even more amazing opening with a bright shot of the sky and the characters, draped in ruins, but welcoming a sunrise from afar I hate how the love story between Akashi and Sasame is seemingly displayed in the sequence though and it even hinted how important it is to overcome the lightless realm. It’s stupid.

The anime has two ED. The first one is “ego-izm” by la la larks. I love the opening instrumentals with the pictures of a regular street being eaten by the lightless realm. The song is a bit confusing. It feels a bit rebellious as if the singer is rejecting everything he sees and wants to run away. It’s poetic in a way but a bit puzzling. The ED sequence is pretty decent though. It’s the same as the OP sequence with the characters draped in ruins. This one ends though with the characters suddenly vanishing as if erased from existence. It is f*cking beautiful. It also had a couple of spoilers though by introducing Tsugumi early on. I suggest you don’t watch the ED if you plan on watching this crap. The second ED is “SABLE” by nano. This is probably my favorite song of all in the anime. It’s completely in English with the singer nicely vocalizing the words. It’s a pop rock song about having your own way. It’s as hopeful as the second ED but a bit more rebellious and this is accompanied by a sequence of Tsugumi acting out. It’s pretty awesome because the song feels like a conversation between Akashi and Tsugumi inside the lightless realm.

Overall Score

2/10 “This is a disappointing waste of potential too embarrassing to even fully hate”

Normally I don’t mind if an anime sucks. Sometimes, you just can’t help it. M3 is different though. It was like no one really knows what to do with this anime. It was directionless and a massive waste of time. The worst part is that it’s twenty four episodes of nothing but absolute waste. If you enjoy torturing yourself then you should watch this anime. If you like to see how a show can throw away all its potential and just slowly kill itself with a noose slowly tightening around its neck then you’ll love this show. The world is now a lot more useless because M3 exists in it. I do not recommend this.

11 thoughts on “M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane Review

      • Have you watched “Gekken Shoujo Nozaki kun”? It is such a funny anime I think I haven’t had such laughs since “Watamote” and also they made a comedy series with magical boys called “Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love” that I have to watch for laughs too 🙂

  1. I applaud you for your perseverance in finishing this series. I was just in the middle of watching episode 3 and I gave up so I looked for reviews to see if this anime was worth watching and I found yours. Fantastic review, this made me laugh and I’m so glad I found this. Not going to continue hoping for anything on this show then. 🙂

    • Seriously, reading this made the horrific experience worth it. Do not watch M3 but spread the word, it’s one of the worst anime out there. Most people don’t have will power to disprove it. 😄

  2. OMG! That review was PERFECT!

    You wrote down every single problem I had with this series, starting with the huge waste of story potential to awful characters until reaching the disastrous romance.

    Really, at some point ( which was episode 5 or so) I gave up trying to understand what the studio wants to do.
    And I ended up shipping Emiru and Akashi because their chemistry was a lot more appealing than the lame, out of nowhere one of Akashi and Sasame.

    Actually, the romance was the thing that annoyed me the most. I had the feeling the studio didn’t know whether it should be Emiru or Sasame. One time Akashi was all “Emiru, I’m sorry! I want to see you one more time!”. The next time it was all about Sasame. In the end, Emiru was nothing but a plot device. She got tossed away like Heito was halfway through the story. They even had less importance than Raika and Iwato which only Maamu (and Kasane) could top.

    I don’t have anything against romance. On the contrary, I like it if it is included. But the way M3 did the romance was horrible. Akashi x Sasame was just shoved in the viewer’s face like there was nothing else to focus on. (I can’t count the many times I rolled my eyes whenever those two had their meaningful scenes and phrases.)
    Worse, this relationship had nothing to be excited about. It worsened two characters. Akashi was turned into a boy who magically falls in love with a girl that is suddenly everything to him.
    And Sasame just turns from a bland character to a plot device.

    It’s no a surprise that all characters annoyed me with no turn into the other direction. Everyone was one dimensional and kinda unimportant. Half of the cast’s characters got ignored in favor of an terrible romance.

    I’m really thinking about dropping this show entirely. After episode 3 I thought it would get better. But that isn’t the case. It’s more suffering through the episodes than enjoying them. Each episode gets me more confused and frustated…

    Wow, M3 might be on top of my “Most disappointing Animes”- list paired up with Glasslip.

Thoughts~

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