M3 : The Dark Metal (M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane)

(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Mecha fighting eldritch abominations.


The main “team” assembled in this episode feels so random that even the characters point it out. We have :
– Akashi, a sullen high school student, emotionally crippled by the death of his family a decade ago.
– Iwato, his easygoing best friend. Both of them are quite good at fighting with mecha. (Are those mecha classes ? a club ? It’s not quite clear.)
– Maamu, the creep in another class that keeps muttering exposition at herself, explaining in detail how everyone’s going to die because of the nasties running around, uhuhuh.
– Emiru, the over-eager temp-worker who wants to climb up the ladder. Anything’s better than cleaning toilets, and this is her one chance. Too bad she’s kinda crap at it. Also, the way she latches onto Akashi despite his complete lack of interest can’t be healthy.
– Raika, who used to be a properly licensed mecha worker (although not too good at it), and sees being sent back to training as a demotion.
– Three other members have yet to show up… Wait, there’s this Minashi guy who shows up out of nowhere in the middle of an unplanned op, and that’s totally not creepy.

It’s heavily implied they all were caught in the same creepy event as kids.

Their supervisors range from the utterly bored to the callous assholes.

The cosmology goes this way : there’s some sort of parallel dimension that keeps leaking into our world. It’s populated by crystals that eat the poor people who get trapped in there, and transform them into “Admonitions”, dangerous and nearly-indestructible mindless monsters. Which are then spouted back into our world where they wreak havoc. You’d think everyone would be terrified of the dark, but we’re way past this stage, and most people have just gotten used to it.

There are also “Corpses” ; the one we see looks like a ghost piloting an organic mecha. If you hear their song, it’s rumoured you die within 9 days.

The authorities plan to train the team so that they can explore the parallel dimension, which sounds like a great idea that can’t lead to any sort of disaster.

Production Values

This seems to have some budget, and it pays off in every level : the CG mecha move beautifully, the monsters are creepy, and there’s a dense atmosphere making any night scene menacing.

As a result, the light occasional fanservice is a bit jarring.

Overall Impression

This is the kind of show where you fully expect at least half the cast to be dead by the end of it. Unfortunately, you kind of want them to. Only Iwato’s kinda likeable, with all the other being various degrees of annoying. It doesn’t help that I can’t make head nor tails of Akashi’s flashback backstory, which makes it hard to relate to him.

Still, it’s certainly got some ambition ; I kinda want to give it some rope to see where it’s going. It’d better find its feet soon, though.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 8.

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I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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