Detroit Metal City 1
June 3, 2009
I’ll freely admit that the things that strike me the funniest tend to be in poor taste. One of my favorite series last year was Strawberry-chan by Ai Morinaga, which was hilariously disturbing in a lot of ways. Detroit Metal City… I don’t know. The first time I read it, I laughed so hard I cried. I’m laughing right now just thinking of some of this stuff, which is juvenile humor like penis-shaped haircuts, describing a situation as something akin to “niagra falls in my panties,” and raping a tambourine.
The jokes in DMC are easy. Just take an overly-goody-good guy and put him in a situation where he is forced to be a terrible person. And then give him an alternate personality where he’s actually really good at being a terrible person. Things like spitting in his girlfriend’s face accidentally, getting drunk and putting on an impromptu death metal show, or accidentally beating up a couple cops when he is asked to leave a park are all examples of the types of things that go on in the short, 12-page chapters. The stuff that come out of people’s mouths are also the absolute worst things you can imagine, from a manager that is constantly describing things in terms of how “wet” she is to songs about murdering one’s parents and raping women over and over and over again. None of these things are serious, and it’s impossible to take them seriously in the context of this series. It’s far too goofy. But it is devastatingly effective at what it does, and you can’t help but laugh at poor Negishi as he is chased around by girls in his Krauser persona that are begging him to rape them. He only wants to watch Amelie and play his Sweedish pop songs. Perhaps the best joke in the series is that it is never explained how it was that Negishi joined DMC in the first place. Being Krauser is just what he does. He hates it, but nobody else is a Death Metal God like Negishi.
In case there’s any confusion, Detroit Metal City is the name of the band, led by Krauser II, played by Negishi. The look of the band (and their name) is based heavily on Kiss, which is kind of hilarious. The link is further cemented by the fact that Gene Simmons plays the villain in the DMC movie. I can’t help but think of the Insane Clown Posse when I read the series though, as the DMC fans are nothing if not hardcore juggalos. The style of music and extreme, hilarious lyrics and bizarre mythology are also somewhat similar, as is the fringe nature of the band. And yeah, ICP paints their faces, are from Detroit, and also acknowledge a debt to Gene Simmons, in their own way. But I’m always surprised to hear that ICP exists outside the midwest, let alone all the way in Japan, so perhaps I’m just reading too much into it. After all, Krauser has yet to hose the audience down with Faygo. On the other hand, someone told Google how to read Shaggy 2 Dope in katakana.
Also, I was not aware that Kahimi Karie was a real musician. That is hilarious. Even better, she appears on a DMC Tribute to Krauser album. It is she that Negishi aspires to emulate, as she is apparently the epitome of “hip” and “stylish.” If only he weren’t such an awesome Krauser.
While it is in poor taste, it is certainly one of the funniest series that will be released this year, and was my most anticipated new series along with Pluto, Otomen, and Ooku. Of course, your mileage may vary, and a series about a nice boy that gets confused and constantly acts out death metal fantasies probably isn’t for everyone. But it is extremely good at what it does, and it makes me laugh harder than anything. Or, to put it in DMC terms, “it got me totally wet.”
Also, it’s worth noting that DMC temporary tattoos are located in the back of the volume, which is the most bizarre extra I have ever seen. There is also a DMC dictionary feature between chapters, which usually takes a term from the chapter and explains it in a vaguely sarcastic way.