M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane: Episode 05

“Self in Vain”
[己虚シク]

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My impressions these few episodes into this show is that it’s really not for everyone and that even for those whom it is for, can still find some areas of critique and intrigue. I, for one, enjoy this show – not as much as some of the other series I’m following this season, definitely not, but it does have its highlights and does pummel with quite a shock factor this episode. I’m not by any means saying that it’s up there with the best anime series of all time – not even close – but there is a certain charm if you get into the nitty gritty and pay attention to certain scenes.

It seems as if nobody’s entirely happy with their synchronised partners, apart from Sasame and Minashi, who have both got this mysterious I-know-more-about-what’s-happening-but-I-don’t-think-it’s-necessary-to-say-anything-because-it-makes-me-seem-more-mysterious type of attitude going on. Sasame still annoys me for no good reason other than she just seems like the typical, poorly created female character who’s all innocence and dark destiny ahead of her and, just…eugh. I just don’t think she’s been fleshed out as well as she could have been and yeah. Maybe she’ll get cooler later on? I dunno. But it’s an episode where we really delved into the minds of Emiru and Akashi, neither of whom are particularly happy about their partners. Emiru’s got a crazed Heito to deal with as well as the blight that’s consuming her body, and Akashi’s mind is a lot more warped than what first impressions seemed to suggest. We always suspected that he felt some sort of internal rivalry with his older brother, who was well-liked, nice and sociable. At some point, though, his brother was consumed by the Lightless Realm and his reaction to it still haunts him today. That’s no wonder because you don’t really expect a kid to actually smile at the death of a sibling. Nevertheless, Akashi’s slowly becoming a little bit more interesting, considering the absolute bore he’s been since the start.

Now Emiru, oh dear. My dear, dear Emiru. She really opens up this episode and we really get to see the internal conflict that plagues her. Having been raised in foster care by an uncaring and greedy family, ogled at by men for her pretty face and body from a young age and learning however she can to become independent and prove to all those who hurt her in the past, well, she’s a perfect recipe for a troubled soul and that’s exactly what gets her into trouble this episode. The blight that’s been eating away at her and that seems to synchronise her and Heito so well, is the result of all those negative emotions and her rising fear that she’s going to die. She and Heito are sent on their first mission right outside the Lightless Realm to test the strength of their compatibility but it seems that such close proximity to that dark place is just what the Admonitions needed to start taking over her body. Heito taunts her as they get closer, that Akashi’s going to despise what she’s become and that they’re going to kill her and use her body as a test subject. That’s all the encouragement needed for Emiru’s fear to surface and for the Admonition inside of her to rise and start attacking Akashi while she’s cowering in her suit.

I really liked the defensive form her Admonition took as I think it really reflects the kind of person she is; always on guard, always putting up a front no matter how horrible she knows she is and doing her best to never show her inner weakness except to those who matter. Apparently Akashi mattered enough and so I find it tragic that things have to go downhill for her so fast when she’s just beginning to open up to someone and when she’s just beginning to trust someone. I wasn’t quite sure what happened at the end with her Admonition forming a crystal around her body, but whatever it was it seemed bad. I guess it sets the stage for someone like Akashi to swoop in and save her – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but I like how she’s never been the typical damsel in distress and has had this strong sense of self-preservation. She takes care of herself and doesn’t expect others to do it for her and I like that she’s taken charge of her own fate.

Again, though, this show isn’t for everyone and a lot of the time it’s not even for me. But I do appreciate the hidden gems it has to offer and the moments of real development and uniqueness of plot, as far and in between as they might be. Five episodes in and I’ll give it 3/5 stars for now.

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