The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Detroit Metal City

Title: Detroit Metal City
Genre: Comedy
Company: Studio 4°C
Format: 12 OVAs
Dates: 8 Aug 2008 – 28 Oct 2008

Synopsis: Negishi Soichi is a recent college graduate with a very mild-mannered disposition who dreamed of one day becoming a kindergarten teacher and living an ordinary life. But life didn’t quite work out that way and now, Negishi finds himself moonlighting under the pseudonym Johannes Krauser II, the lead guitarist and vocalist for the death metal band Detroit Metal City. It’s already hard enough trying to conceal this aberrant lifestyle from his family, but to complicate matters even more, Aikawa Yuri, a girl he used to have a crush on in college has entered back into his life, making it all the more important that she doesn’t discover his Krauser alter ego.

The Highlights
Comedy: Has a few odd moments, but it’s generally consistent and it works.
Pacing: Rapid-fire, which means there’s hardly a dull moment.
The manager: Appalling, but hilariously so.
Art: Has a manga-fied look about it.
Romance: Definitely the series’ weakest part; somewhat pointless.

Detroit Metal City’s unrepentant spoof of the death metal genre is certainly far off the beaten path in that it’s utterly ludicrous, and hilariously so. To set a few things straight, one should note that this series is far from a highbrow comedy as it shunts all concepts of a cohesive plot aside in favor of its satirical take on the death metal genre as well as the humor that comes from the dueling Negishi-Krauser persona. The result is a highly entertaining series that takes a gleeful delight in pushing its parody of the death metal genre to the extreme by sparing no one from its assault on the genre.

Detroit Metal City satirizes the music itself by taking one of the most demonized musical genres and defanging it through its ridiculous portrayal. The music is packed to the brim with profanity and the acts described in the lyrics would make anyone with a puritanical outlook squirm uncomfortably. But through the series’s use of hyperbole, the parody becomes readily apparent and delightful by revealing the extent to which death metal is a hollow, harmless genre that aims to cash in through pure shock value. Definitely try to pay attention to DMC’s hilariously over-the-top lyrics (one of the songs is about killing and raping one’s own parents) as well as the song titles including the comically titled “Death Penis” to get an idea as to how far this series goes in its mockery of death metal.

But an even more important reason to read the lyrics carefully is to get at another facet of Detroit Metal City’s comedy: the conflict between the Negishi-Krauser personas. Throughout the series, Negishi attempts to write trendy, but campy pop music fares poorly, a setback that isn’t all too humorous if it weren’t for the way his music becomes the source material for many of DMC’s songs. The series cleverly juxtaposes Negishi’s words alongside DMC’s and a quick comparison between the two sets of lyrics reveals that DMC’s amusingly vile lyrics draw inspiration from Negishi’s original works. As such, seeing the manner in which his original lyrics are perverted to suit DMC’s idiom leads to a load of laughs, especially considering how appalled Negishi is at the messages contained within DMC’s music.

Naturally, this internal conflict between Negishi’s mild persona and his raging Krauser alter-ego brings with it the sort of hilarity borne from schadenfreude because of how horrified Negishi is with Krauser’s actions and how his attempts at controlling Krauser fail miserably. Furthermore, DMC’s raucous fans do him no favors by goading the Krauser part of him on and in doing so, add to the Krauser legend by having him perform stunts that are then reinterpreted to propel Krauser to divine status. And of course, DMC’s foul mouthed manager deserves a special mention for her reactions to DMC’s music and behavior. I’ve never seen anyone possess knowledge of so many ways to describe female sexual arousal, each one more outrageous than the last.

As I watched Detroit Metal City, my mind kept coming back to Monty Python’s Life of Brian because the two are so similar. Both works feature a protagonist who isn’t all too comfortable with the hand fate had dealt them and though they futilely grapple with the world around them, their efforts are in vain, but the comedy is downright hilarious. Detroit Metal City is certainly not on par with Life of Brian, but it does come pretty close, and it sure is a lot of fun to watch by providing a lot of laughter from start to finish.

The Rating: 7
7/10

Reviewed by: zzeroparticle

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