Sunday 21 February 2010

Anime REVIEW: Detroit Metal City

A relatively short OVA series comprising of 12 15-minute episodes, Detroit Metal City tells the story of Soichi Negishi, a shy and gentle young man who dreams of a career as a pop musician. Dreams don't pay the bills, so he ends up as the lead singer and lead guitarist of a death metal band called “Detroit Metal City.” In stage costume he is Johannes Krauser II, rumored to be a terrorist demon from hell, to have killed and raped his parents, to wield his giant death penis with abandon, etc. etc. Negishi despises DMC and all that it stands for, but so help him, he's a terrific performer and can't walk away from that. As DMC's star rises Negishi tries to satisfy both worlds, but can't. On top of this he has to deal with a love interest who loves Negishi's (failing) solo work, and dislikes DMC and his alter ego Krauser, and a foul mouthed record company president who constantly keeps him in his place.

It's extremely foul mouthed, some of its implied content is very explicit, but by god is it brilliant. In DMC we have a fantastic tongue-in-cheek look at the world of death metal and its musicians, and the feeling that not all the legendary "monsters of metal" are what they are cracked up to be. The split personality style of Negishi is played very well, and sometimes its easy to forget that he and Krauser are actually the same person.

My only two complaints about the series are these. Firstly, the episodes do become rather repetitive and formulaic quickly. Each episode is split into 2, making the series in reality 24 7-minute (approx.) shorts, and the majority of them follow the pattern of Negishi trying to quit DMC, something happening to make him angry and return, making Krauser more popular than ever or something to that effect. However sprinkled in are some GEMS of episodes like DMC's battle against a femenist punk band, or the series conclusion where American metal god Jack Ill Dark comes to Japan to "destroy" DMC. The second of my complaints in that while this final episode is probably the best of the series, it fails to provide any closure on anything. Maybe this is because the manga is still ongoing and there's a chance for new episodes in the future, but right now I was certainly left wanting more.

If you don't mind a bit of terrible sounding (in a good way I promise!) Japanese death metal and A LOT of swearing, then the wholly original DMC is something I certainly think you should check out. However if you're not so keen on these things, I think you'd better avoid this, or you'll spend alot of time covering your ears (or shutting your eyes since it appears on subtitles!)

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