Saturday, August 13, 2011

We're Back! With Reviews!

DETROIT METAL CITY [Detoroito Metaru Shiti] (2008).
Directed by Toshio Lee.

You thought western Death Metal was absurd? Nothing beats the Japanese, and to illustrate just how weird it can get, cult favorite manga DMC is embraced by headbangers and non alike. While it is certainly a comic view of the hard rock world, it's also clearly a love letter to the world of popular music, good and bad (mainly bad), overall.

Toshio Lee's film adaptation of the manga is true to the source material, and because of that it is hammy, overblown and colorful -- in a good way. Kennichi Matsuyama (BRIGHT FUTURE, DEATH NOTE) stars as Negishi, a shy young man who longs to be a “trendy,” fashionable, Shibuya pop singer, but instead has found fame as his alter ego Johannes Krauser II, a KISS-style, clown-makeup heavy metal frontman of the band Detroit Metal City (DMC for short). Most of the story is caught up in his identity crisis. The girl he loves (but is too shy to ask out) detests Hard Rock and DMC in particular. As Negishi attempts to juggle both lives, he inadvertently humiliates love interest Yuri and nearly looses her to a jerky fashion designer. In the meantime, Negishi contemplates the incompatibility of his bandmates' personalities and is generally abused by the band's manager, a blond haired woman who puts cigarettes out on her own tongue and terrorizes everyone.

Broken by the realization that he will never achieve his dreams, Negishi gives up the Tokyo music scene and DMC to return to his family farm, only to find that Krauser has followed him. His mother more or less puts him on the right track and he returns for a satisfying wrap up.

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