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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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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