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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  • Raggers
    (Saturday, Mar 28. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Aidan: true, but I don’t think the level is anywhere close to a true shounen. And once the basic rules are established it’s strategising and straight out fighting.
    I’d be more inclined to call it seinen with shounen elements than actually shounen.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 09:59 PM)
    Good all action finale to cap off Garo there, went out with a bang, though thing is I have no idea where their going to go with this when the movie, second season comes along, this seems like a pretty good point to finish.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:35 PM)
    I think that just about all the manga serialized in ultra jump feel less seinen than those serialized in other seinen magazines.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:19 PM)
    There’s plenty of in battle explaining. I don’t think there’s been a battle without in battle explaining. You got the first time villain that ends up a good guy. You got powerups and levels of quinques. There’s a ton of shounen elements.
    Just because something has gore does not make it seinien. Deadman wonderland is Shounen and it has just as much gore and torture.
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 02:52 PM)
    @Emma: ah, yes.
    @Aidan: How so? A variety of weapons and abilities does not turn something into a shounen battle manga.
    I’d need a lot more random in-battle explaining secret powers to your opponent, and a lot more mercy to not consider it seinen.
    Also, torture, balls and limbs being chopped off as a sick joke, slicing people in half without warning, breaking half their bones…
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:44 PM)
    I felt that the story became too shounen battle manga When at first it was portrayed as seinien. Especially with the quineqes and such.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 12:06 PM)
    @Raggers: His past with the old lady ghoul where he was castrated =<
  • Raggers
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:48 AM)
    @Emma: which moment is that?
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:26 AM)
    @Raggers : And in one moment, a rather disturbing development.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 27. 2015 05:24 AM)
    @Raggers: Actually, thinking it over you’ve got a point there, As I had said I’ve been marathoning re and come to think of it, it is more enjoyable to do so that way.

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