Posted by psgels on 9 November 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Detroit Metal City



Studio 4°C is known from its original premises that try to explore the boundaries of the medium of anime. Once every five years or so, they release a comedy, and they too have these traits: think of Eternal Family and Kimagure Robot. The newest instalment is Detroit Metal City, a series that parodies a genre that hardly ever appears in anime: metal. The series was a huge success, and at the time that I’m writing this it stands as the highest-ranked series on AniDB. But then again, the second-highest ranking series is Code Geass 2, so one shouldn’t take these rankings too seriously.

In any case, Studio 4C’s experimental trademarks are clearly visible in this series. The character-designs look like no other series I’ve seen and they’re truly original, the art looks great, although the animation is simplistic. This is another comedy that heavily relies on its energy to keep the jokes going, and throughout its airtime, it makes a complete fool out of the metal-scene while offering some social commentary at the same time.

The major part of this series is about the lead character’s extreme case of multiple personality: on stage he’s a brute king of death metal, off the stage he’s a country bumpkin who likes Swedish Pop. The best parts in the series are when a Negishi’s fans get weird ideas after a simple accident, and even though they’re mostly over-exaggerated stereotypes, they’re a lot of fun to watch due to their bizarre imagination.

Ultimately though, this isn’t the best comedy out there. The comedy is really hit or miss: some episodes are hilarious, some are mildly entertaining, but others simply don’t work or drag on and the dull episodes outnumber the hilarious ones by a small fraction. In a way, it’s hard to get excited for such a series if you don’t know whether it’s going to hit or not. Thankfully, the final episode does deliver, so the series won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth.

So yeah, DMC is the least impressive out of Studio 4°C’s comedy-repertoire. I feel that if the creators cut the length in half, and removed the lesser episodes, it would have made for a much more exciting series. That’s what made Kimagure Robot and Eternal Family so great: they were hilarious, had some nice hidden messages here and there, and they were over before you knew it. DMC is a nice experiment for a series with a longer length than Studio 4°C’s usual works; it’s a good series, but not the best.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

10 Responses

  1. Denizen says:

    I really enjoyed this OVA, and I do feel that its brand of humour was excellent, and set itself apart from the bland comedy that Japanese anime seems to focus on. As you said, it’s the energy.

    The concept was good, the characters were memorable, and whilst it was hit and miss, it did make me chuckle and it was still entertaining. Definitely something I would recommend to others.

  2. kuromitsu says:

    Just a note: the concept and the character designs are not Studio 4C’s “trademarks,” DMC was a manga first.

  3. zen says:

    when it ended, I was like, what, that’s it? they just ova’d the filler part of the manga? what about the main story? the story arcs? go read the manga. the story is actually very interesting.

  4. SageGaiGar says:

    I just hope they do the Metal festival arc eventually.

  5. DLPUlver says:

    Have to disagree on this one: I thought DMC was the funniest comedy this season. The short length of the episodes meant they *never* dragged. My only complaint was I wanted to see another 12 episodes!

  6. Gargamuza says:

    Wow, your bad taste and ignorance never cease to amaze me. Keep up the good work.

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Gargamuza: Bad taste? Ignorance? Where?

  8. dan says:

    I thought the comedy in DMC was funnier and smarter than any Japanese anime in recent memory. Usually they tend to dumb things down to insulting levels when it comes to comedy, but this is the only show I’ve found that might actually compete with American shows you can find on Adult Swim.

  9. Jordan says:

    why rip on code geass? while i do think the story was mostly full of holes and the characters and plot twists weren’t all that great, the ending struck me as profound. I think it be best to restrict all insults to: Naruto, Fruits Basket, and maybe Shadow Skill. but I am only joking of course, as you are entitled to your opinions, even if they suck(another joke)

  10. Victor says:

    “Have to disagree on this one: I thought DMC was the funniest comedy this season. The short length of the episodes meant they *never* dragged. My only complaint was I wanted to see another 12 episodes!”

    Same here.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:32 AM)
    If a series wants to be sophisticated about complex concepts like war and conflict, then it has to presuppose the fact that it is part of human nature. Resources are limited, and even aside from that, greed exists. There is no way to take out a few head figures to stop a war- there will be a vacuum that will almost immediately be filled by a similar, if not worse, individual. A world “where no one cries” or suffers, or dies, etc, cannot exist as long as we have free will.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:26 AM)
    F/SN delved into this deeply with the Shirou/Archer dichotomy, but then it pussied out at the decisive moment. Archer was right, his arguments made perfect sense, yet the arrogant naive Shirou had to pull thru by sheer will alone, and a vague hope and promise that he’ll find a way somehow. I swear, I’m not sure if Nasu gave in to pressure to make a so-called “good prevails” ending, or that he honestly believes in it. Looking at his material, I’ll bet on the former.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:22 AM)
    hehe … that’s why you don’t get me started on Eva or Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:20 AM)
    It also delved into the depth of what a desperate goodie-two-shoes people-pleaser protagonist would actually be like, and the reception he would get from his peers, specially the women. That alone right there was a deconstruction of the majority of shonen main characters.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 10:00 AM)
    There was no hype machine back then. The internet was still in its infancy. So when a show became this popular there was certainly some merit to it. The organic/machine hybrid mecha was relatively new, and the scene construction and cinematography was for the most part immaculate. There’s a reason why the mecha genre is divided to “pre-Eva” and “post-Eva”.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:53 AM)
    It also didn’t hurt that the character, costume and mecha designs were slick and attractive, done by the under-appreciated Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:31 AM)
    It came up with clever scenarios to common mecha tropes, and answered the questions that would arise from them:
    -Why do we use mechas with melee weapons against alien invaders instead of conventional weapons? AT fields on Angels.
    -Why use kids to pilot them? The Gehrin Project.
    -What happens when you put kids in sever combat situations? Extreme PTSD.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:27 AM)
    These types of deconstruction shows that are run-of-the-mill now didn’t really exist back then. Eva did afterall became the tropemaker for Gainax endings. To see the creator’s psyche twist in front of our eyes was incredible. The show went from a regular monster of the week mecha series to a deranged psycho-thriller by the end of it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:23 AM)
    Eva was fresh and quite unique for its time. Not that everything they did was original, but they certainly put their own twist on it. I also enjoyed the “fuck-you” ending of the tv series. Anno always defended it as intentional, but we all know it was really a budgetary constrain. well, at least we got the amazing End of Evangelion movie to supplement it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:21 AM)
    @K-of: yup Eva geek here, guilty as charged. In my defense, I watched it week-to-week when it aired back in 96, and the landscape of anime was a lot different back then.

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