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
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 11:29 PM)
    Synecdoche, New York:
    What a great film. Charlie Kauffman’s directorial debut is a post-modern surreàl piece about fear of death and mortality. There are few editing and pacing issues which a more experienced director could’ve ironed out, and the very nature of the movie begs to be called pretentious and boring by shallow viewers. Yet this is still an honest and meticulous piece of artistic filmmaking which shouldn’t be missed by those who enjoy the craft.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:56 PM)
    I did think some of the outburst though in death parade 04 were verging too far on the melodrama though.
    Still like Garo this week, still a very watchable episode.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:35 PM)
    Come to think of it In kingsman they changed the villain to be black also. Of course all this I consider pretty minor. Moreso I’m tired of seeing Samuel L Jackson playing himself in everything.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:28 PM)
    But in the case of the Marvel stuff, with Nick Fury and Human torch, I know its a crap complaint but for me its a case of “He doesn’t look close enough to the comic”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:16 PM)
    @Aidan: They think they are promoting diversity but all it ends up being is completely tokenistic to the core.
    The fantastic 4 have always struck me as characters that were too difficult to get right/write.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:08 PM)
    Sort of like how skyfall made moneypenny black for that “OOHHH SNAP!” moment. Disregarding the point of moneypenny and not to mention making her a character who was so incompetent a secret agent that she was demoted to Secretary.Or like how they made Annie black. Just why exactly?
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:06 PM)
    So the new fantastic four is going to have a black human torch. So…why is he black? I mean I don’t really care as long as the character is portrayed well but this feels like the only reason they made him black was just cause.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:51 PM)
    Death parade episode 4 then, I appreciated that it wasn’t as “sweet” as last week, the middle aged woman’s backstory was a highlight moreso than the guy who appeared this episode and her reaction later on was great to see. Like what Decim was up to this week but I wasn’t really feeling the tension in this episodes game as much as I should have.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:47 PM)
    What on earth was up with Garo this week, heh, monster of the week healing German, still at least the ending to that episode definitely catches my attention with its last scene and it was a step up from the goofiness last week.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:45 PM)
    I still want a proper appleseed adaptation.

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