Posted on 21 December 2006 with categories: Anime Reviews

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Ah, how refreshing. Finally we have a modern-day series which doesn’t focus on a teenager, or even a person in his or her twenties or thirties. What we have here is a man in his forties in the middle of his mid-life crisis. A nice twist when compared to all the geeky schoolboys and the busty schoolgirls who seem to run after them. Though that’s not all. This is not an ordinary salary-man, he’s an ex-rock-star, longing back to his days of glory. Add in a love-affair, a bunch of quirky side-characters and a number of space-ships, and you’ve got yourself a great concept for an anime.

Yes, you read that last part right. This anime has a rather peculiar premise. Evil aliens are on a mission to conquer the section of outer space in which the earth resides, and the only thing which can stop them is “The Ultimate Weapon”, which can only be triggered by the main character’s “groove” when he’s playing the guitar. For a seven-year-old anime, it really had some fresh ideas. And, of course, seeing a bunch of middle-aged guys in business-suits play in a rockband was just extremely cool to see. Who said that all salarymen were boring? ^^

This anime gets accompanied by a really good combination of comedy, action and drama-scenes. The drama is very heavy at times, though the comedy-parts make sure that the show doesn’t drown in its own mood. This makes sure that you can really feel along with the characters during the climaxes, and get cracked up during the funny parts.

Still, despite these good points there are three major bad points in this anime. The first and most obvious one is the ED. Black Heaven comes with a great soundtrack. Seeing as our main character used to play in a heavy-metal band, the anime goes accompanied by several heavy-metal-songs, each of them lays a huge focus on the electric guitar, making this the perfect soundtrack for this show. The OP also consists of a rocking tune, combined with interesting video-material which makes you wonder whether the guys who did the OP for Sci-Fi Harry had any say in it. But then the ED comes, and somehow, the creators managed to slip a cheesy j-pop song in. God… the horror. Even for j-pop, it was an abomination, which made me rush to the stop-button as soon as every episode finished. Naturally this rather ruined the cliff-hangers.

The second bad point is the romance. Good romances, and especially love-triangles are very hard to do right, and unsurprisingly, Black Heaven isn’t one of these anime which provided a nice twist to this. It starts out good, however, with a rather comical note. See, the case is this. The main character has been married with his wife for a nice couple of years now, when he meets up with his newly transferred busty blonde secretary who actually happens to be one of the commanding aliens on the space-fleet which was assigned to defend earth, and the two fall in love with each other. His relationship with his wife is interesting. His relationship with his “secretary” isn’t. It’s just stale, poorly developed, boring and full of clichés.

The third bad point is a small one, though it did annoy me at times. I’ve watched a fair amount of anime up till now, but never, and I mean NEVER have I ran into one who realizes that there isn’t any SOUND in space.

Overall, this is an anime with its good points and bad points. though I really have to say that the good points majorly overweight the bad points. Especially if you’re a fan of heavy-metal it’s worth to check this out, simply because you’ll get to see how a ex-rockstar spends his life, what he thinks, and how he longs back. Though even if you’re not really into that genre of music, it’s worth to check this out. It’s got a great set of characters, it’s fun to watch, there’s a nice pacing so you won’t get bored and there’s a rather creepy final antagonist.

2 Responses

  1. tj han says:

    I saw this four to five years ago. The OP, Cautionary Warning, seems to b e an old rock song they used. Nt sure about this though. But it’s a great song.

    Yeah there isn’t sound in space but aren’t they using the energy to fire laser cannons IIRC?

    Btw if you’re looking for older men in anime, try Ayakashi Ayashi. The lead is a 40 tear old Edo period NEET.

  2. psgels says:

    Yeah, with the sound I was referring to the final episodes, in which the amplificators somehow managed to blast sound into the space-ship.

    And I’m indeed watching Ayakashi Ayashi, I’ve reached till episode 6 now. It’s turning out very good, mostly thanks to the age of the main character. :)

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  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:27 AM)
    All arguments require a claim. Thus, you need to take a side. In evaluating a work, there is an argument being made for the quality of the work.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:26 AM)
    @Friend unbiased, but not necessarily logical. Those who don’t take up a side don’t understand what they’re talking about or are detached from it.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:24 AM)
    @Jalapeno as for critics, I value those who don’t really have a preference on a subject. Then theyre sure to be unbiased and logical in their criticisms.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:24 AM)
    @Nyangoro for distinguishing terms, I believe “reviewer” is set for the more casual critic you’re talking about.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:20 AM)
    @Nyan yes! What Im doing is a solo project, so while I do respect other opinions, I would go with my gut feeling.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:12 AM)
    Before the internet, critics filled the role of reviewer for both the medium and for the layman. Now, the layman are given equal opportunity to play the role of “critic” to those of their own sensibilities. In a sense, because the layman may not be so interested in the depth of more critical analysis, the traditional critic is rendered merely another voice among a myriad of other, less-knowledgeable voices.
  • Nyangoro
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:10 AM)
    I rather like the idea that there’s a way to distinguish a critic from the average person with an opinion. Usually, to me, it seems to come from the person’s wealth of knowledge about the subject, leading them to better understand a piece on multiple levels. That being said, for the layman audience, a layman interpretation may be all they need.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:05 AM)
    Course, reviewer is synonymous to critic nowadays, but that’s what I understand as separating a critic from the layman.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:04 AM)
    I’ve been told that you can’t just be a critic by having seen a lot of the medium. You have to dig into its history and understand the work’s place in the whole of the medium. Because then you’re getting as comprehensive a view of the work itself as you could reasonably get.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 03:03 AM)
    To distinguish a critic from the average person now who can just pawn info from the Internet, it’s someone whose views are consistent because they’re grounded in a certain foundation of knowledge and understanding. Now, those foundations can certainly change over time, so maybe consistent is the wrong word. But to put it simply, they can put reason to views rather than just echoing others. Of course, there are plenty with flimsy reasoning, but yeah.

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