Posted by psgels 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 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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  • Mike
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:14 PM)
    @Kaiser Takahashi was one of the first to take it out of “smut” made for men and gave the genre to girls.
  • K-Off
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 09:34 PM)
    My palette is cleansed after Legacy. I think I can make a push and finish Mirage Sessions by Monday.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 06:25 PM)
    Altogether there is no good explanation as to why Berserk has been on the fringes for the last 20 years. The silver lining is that it looks like things are picking up for the franchise- with a new series, two new games and frequent manga releases- so here’s hoping we get a much bigger budget for the next cour, and god willing maybe even a studio change. And I’m getting greedy, but gimme that From Software Berserk game! That would be an instant cash mine.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 06:18 PM)
    @Vyse: I was actually thinking of that, and the dark mature content is definitely a factor. Yet looking at what’s trending at the moment, with AoT and Kabaneri, it seems that the more violent stuff are bankable now. And it’s not like anime is stranger to adapting material that hasn’t finished yet. So I’m guessing that Miura is hard to work with probably, and maybe he’s tight about giving studios the license.
  • Rusty
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 05:16 PM)
    I like it better when animes are different then the manga because normally i know how everything will end after reading the manga.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 05:07 PM)
    And I’m more than open for an anime to do things a bit differently from the source, I mean look at the new berserk they included an action scene that wasn’t in the manga, I liked that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:59 PM)
    @Mike: Makoto Takahashi! Makoto Takahashi! I know who he is, I spent a while looking at his art, best example of good oldschool shoujo style. He also is credited with kickstarting the shoujo-ai genre I think…
    @Bam: flowers of evil both improved on and took away from its source material.
  • reaLjustified
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:16 PM)
    Furthermore, it’s not as if Berserk is so special by itself that a decent adaptation is automatically impossible. You’re watching one right now. If you think otherwise than it boils down to personal preference.
  • reaLjustified
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 04:13 PM)
    @Vyse It’s obviously not trying to cater to children, the studio knows its audience. I wouldn’t automatically assume that just because it’s an anime adaptation that it’s an attempt to please everyone.
  • VyseLegendaire
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 03:45 PM)
    Because the story is so dark and so violent, its hard to cater to a middle ground audience that includes kids or maybe even adolescents.

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