M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane – 01
OP: 「Re:REMEMBER」 by May’n
「降星ノ夜」 (Furiboshi no Yoru)
“Night of Falling Stars”
The last anime to premiere this season is a little late from the rest of the pack, but nonetheless, it still delivers a highly anticipated original anime. With strong staff members and cast behind it, M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane promises to be an action-packed, mecha centric anime about the world being plagued by darkness. There are pockets of civilization that’s set itself up to combat crystalized monsters known as “admonition” that reside in the dark. Students are trained to operate robots to fight off the admonition and help defend their cities. Our main cast consists of 8 students that are specially selected to go out into the darkness… and from the looks of it; they’ve all been connected in one way or another already.
This is not a straightforward story about children operating mecha robots that go around killing their enemies, but rather a story about how they go about changing that norm. For so long (or what I assume to be a long time), admonition have been seen as dark crystalized forms of people’s ghosts that need to be destroyed… but it’s evident in this premiere that that’s not necessarily the case all the time. Admonitions seem to have some form of spirit or soul attached to them, but I think the more interesting question is how and why they come to materialize. Are they a byproduct of human creations or is it a natural evolution of humans themselves after a period of time? Or do they manifest from strong feelings that linger on Earth after someone passes? So many possibilities and I love that right off the bat, the viewer is sucked into the world that isn’t what it appears to be. The anime has set itself up to be quite dark and mysterious with the flashes and scenes of the past, but leaving the audience completely out in the dark in the process (Ha! See what I did there? That was unintentional… =P).
The students aren’t innocent high-schoolers anymore either, with the exception of Hazaki Emiru (Hikasa Yoko) who is more genki than the rest of them. Saginuma Akashi (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu), Kasumi Raika (Yahagi Sayuri) and Yuzuki Maamu (Fukuen Misato) – who was our voiceover narrator, all come out determined and serious about the task at hand. With the exception of Minashi Maki (Kakihara Tetsuya), every character fits into a very stereotypical role type-casted by their seiyuus and even their character designs. Maki is sort of the outlier because he appears out of nowhere in the middle of the battle sequence, but seems unfazed by the series of events around him. I’m weary of the large cast at hand because this can either end up one of three ways: a) they all get an equal chance to shine and truly distinguish themselves while adding value to the overall story; b) most of them end up just playing off as side characters and Akashi (or someone else) emerges as the true protagonist; or c) none of the characters truly stand out because the creators forget about character development halfway through and they start to act sporadically for the sake of advancing plot… (I only add this last one because my experience with original anime lately hasn’t been the best). Of course, I’m hoping that even if the characters continue to act as archetypes, they all have a purpose in the story. I’ll be easily satisfied as long as they don’t start acting out of character or get lost and forgotten in the plot.
The biggest issue that I had with this anime so far – had to be the animation and lack of quality. Now, that does not deter me from watching, but it does make it hard to capture some great screenshot when most of them are blurred and not fluid. The anime is not only “dark”, but it’s physically black when the characters move to attack admonition. This makes it increasingly more difficult to grasp a good quality image of the events taking place. Luckily however, the anime is not all action-packed because there’s a fair bit of information given in voiceovers and conversations. There is also mecha involved and this makes me more worried that the quality of the artwork isn’t comparative to other anime these days. Once again, it doesn’t stop me from watching, but it does take away from the production value of this show and makes you wonder how much of a budget they’ve really spent on it. I’m not generally a mecha-viewer, but I’ve got to say, there’s not too much of it in the show so far and if they replaced the giant robots with lightsabers or magic, I would’ve been totally fine with the show as well. It adds flare and different dimensions to the show – but the plot is not revolved around it. In this regard, I’d have to say that these are all secondary aspects to the show that are a “nice to have” and it would be deeply beneficial if the animation was done better.
Coming into the season, I actually had high hopes for M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane because I can’t resist original anime and I love the dark themes that it hints at. Shin Sekai Yori did a great job in combining both a mystery aspect as well as these dark themes about children vs. society and I thought it was executed very well. I hope M3 does something similar along those lines in a different setting and environment – and with robots instead of telekinetic powers. There’s a strong sense of mystery and a deep richness to the setting and the idea of ghosts, and admonition that the audience isn’t fully exposed to yet. I find it interesting for the time being and I hope that this is only going to get enhanced later rather than derailed. I’ve had my fair share of bad anime originals lately and I’ve been jaded… but I can be convinced that there’s a few good gems out there.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: #M_sonokuro was quite interesting for a premiere… Animation could’ve been better but the dark/mecha theme is very prominent and I like it.
Note: There are currently no plans to blog this anime on an ongoing basis. This is subject to change so please keep an eye out on the Spring Schedule 2014 for updates on shows RC will be covering. Thanks!
ED: 「ego-izm」 by la la larks