What They Say:
Get ready for the ear-splittingest, skull-smashingest band to ever assault your senses! Led by phallus-waving terrorist-from-hell Johannes Krauser II (guitar/vocals,) and given pulsing, throbbing life by indestructible drummer Camus and bassist Alexander Jagi, they’re Detroit Metal City, the hottest ticket on the concert circuit! There’s just one catch. That “hottest ticket” is just a meal ticket, and beneath the makeup these ultimate headbangers are hired doppelgangers who don’t even LIKE what they do!
Jaggi is actually Wada, who wants to play Glam Rock, Camus is Nishida, an anime fan with an appalling weakness for curry and NSFW videos, and Krauser is – oh the shame – street-singing Soichi Negishi, whose dreams of singing happy pop seem hopelessly doomed by the success of his rage-fueled alter ego. Worse, he can’t even tell anyone who Krauser is. Not even the girl he likes, who hates DMC!
Will rage against the corporate machine consume Negishi’s tortured soul? Is there life after Death Metal? What’s it like to put your head in a jet engine and turn UP the volume?
Contains episodes 1-12.
The audio presentation for this release contains the original Japanese language track in sterep encoded at 224kbps. It’s unfortunate because I’d love to hear what they’d do with this show dubbed. The series has a basic stereo setup to it where it’s mostly just loud and in your face, which works in its favor. There’s a lot of loud music, yelling and more here so it all just dominates things. The few quiet moments come across well since it provides the balance to it and fits with the way the main character is when he’s out of his costume. The show isn’t one that plays heavily to directionality or placement but that’s just part of what it wants to be like so it’s not a problem. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2008, the transfer for this twelve episode OVA release is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show is spread across two discs with four on the first and eight on the second. Which isn’t bad at all considering that the episodes are just under fifteen minutes each. It’s still an odd breakdown of episodes across the two discs, especially since the extras are so meager. The color design for the show and the detail is decent but it goes with a certain subdued look in some ways when it comes to the colors. The detail is definitely here and in some ways it feels like the manga covers have just come to life. The show has a lot of fast-action humor bits but it’s all well handled and holds together very well. There’s a touch of grain here and there but overall it’s a good looking show that’s representative of the source material.
The packaging for this release isn’t what I had hoped for based off of some of the manga covers, but it fits for the music side of the series. The cover is largely given over to Krauser as he rocks out over it with his mouth open wide, but the majority of his body is covered by the logo, which is big, bold and in your face. The back cover is a bit more expressive as it shows off a lot of the character artwork in brighter and clearer form along with a few shots from the show that builds on that. The summary covers things pretty well and there’s a fun tagline along the top that sells the show well. The production credits are solid and easy to read and the technical grid lays everything out in a clean and accurate manner so you know exactly what’s on here. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu works similar to the front cover where the left half has the logo, dominating the screen, with the Krauser artwork behind him that’s the same as the cover. It’s brighter and richer in colors so it looks a little different and sells it a bit more. The right side features the episode selection breakdown as it provides both the numbers and what each of the segments are within it. The first disc has the extras submenu while the second just has the episodes. With no language selection, it’s a very simple but problem free menu that allows you to access everything quickly and without any fuss or muss.
The only extras on this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Based on the ten volume manga series by Kiminori Wakasugi that began back in 2004, Detroit Metal City is a twelve episode OVA series that tells the tale of one young man who ended up on a path that was more appropriate that he knew. Described as a vulgar comedy series, it’s proben quite popular over the years, managed to get released in manga form in the US from Viz Media and even spawned a live action film in Japan. Which I have to wonder if it managed to be as vulgar. The manga series never got much of a push here but it was finished out and now the OVAs, which run about 13 minutes each, has finally gotten a release here. And having not read the manga, I’m quite thrilled by it.
The show revolves around a young twenty-something guy named Soichi Negishi. He had a good life growing up, loving parents, a younger brother that adored him and a good touch when it came to music. He went to college, made friends there and continued his love of Swedish pop and other kinds of light, fluffy and fun music. Unfortunately, his life after college has sent him into an unusual direction. Through circumstances that are only lightly talked about and not gotten into in detail, he ended up with a company president that promised him the world but shifted him far, far away from what it is he likes. Negishi ends up becoming Johannes Krauser II, the lead singer of an intense visual death metal band called Detroit Metal City. And when he takes on that persona, much to his surprise, he completely becomes it even while looking at it from the outside.
Since Negishi is such a simple and nice guy, having him take on the Krauser role is hilarious since the music he has to write and sing is simply vulgar and cruel. It’s done with a heavy slant of comedy to be sure, but it has plenty of rape aspects to it, general vulgarity and gender based bashing. It sound awful, but there’s something hysterical about it because it’s done in such an absurd fashion. And you also have the angle where Negishi can’t believe he’s doing it and rails against in some ways. He tries to get out of it at times and he also spends time out of costume singing on street corners the kind of music that he feels is more true to himself. There’s a really fun disconnect within Negishi that’s playing out here, especially since he has a submissive said that the company president really uses to her advantage to keep him making music that’s building an intense fan following.
There’s a lot to like with the show in its lyrics, the way it unfolds and how these characters interact since so much of it just goes badly so quickly. But what I liked the most as it went on was understanding Negishi himself. Much is made of the way that he hates what he’s doing, and how he tries to back out of it a lot of the time, but we also see just how into it he gets. When his back story is explored just a little bit, it’s clear that this other personality that comes through with Krauser is a big part of who he is. Acting out like he does now but as a child, a little different of course, shows that it’s an integral part to how he deals with his frustrations and anger. He doesn’t get it himself, but it’s really fun to see that side of him come out. And how he uses Krauser to try and solve other peoples problems as well. He’s not a complicated character but he’s segmented things and seeing the way they bleed into each other is comical.
Detroit Metal City is the kind of show when you look at the concept behind it, the general ideas and the artwork that you can’t imagine it working. Or that it’s something that you’d never be interested in. There’s plenty of material in here that can be easily offensive and understandably so, but I found it to be inappropriately hilarious and it left me wanting more. But what we get here is definitely more than complete enough to tell its tale and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Negishi is a very fun character to watch and the supporting cast across the board is hilarious as we get to see different parts of them come into play. The show is vulgar as hell, at least to a lot of people, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen in some comedies before. What it does here is to blend everything together well and just runs with it. While it uses some familiar gags throughout, it definitely stands out well and hits a number of homeruns. Detroit Metal City is a show you want to share with your friends to convert them with.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Running Time: 150 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.