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.

7 Responses to “Detroit Metal City 1”

  1. […] the Water God (Manga Maniac Cafe) John Hogan on Cirque du Freak (Graphic Novel Reporter) Connie on vol. 1 of Detroit Metal City (Slightly Biased Manga) Connie on vol. 5 of Fairy Tail (Slightly Biased Manga) Emily on Fly High […]

  2. Gethsemi Says:

    I made the mistake of reading this at work on a slow day. There were several parts I think I scrunched my face so bad that I looked constipated because I was trying not to laugh out loud.

    The Jack storyline totally got to me. What Negishi does with the ‘guitar’ at the end was just too hilarious.

    I’m really hoping the second volume comes out soon.

  3. Connie Says:

    Those parts with Jack were truly great, though I liked the chapter with his brother just after that, too. I think it’s the fan’s reaction more than anything that gets me, that they just seem to take everything at face value and it works so beautifully from there.

    It’s on a quarterly schedule, which is kind of a shame because I would buy and read all of them at once without thinking, but kind of good since I don’t think the volumes come out in Japan all that frequently, and I’d hate to catch up too soon.

  4. Pirkaf Says:

    As a fan of death metal (sorta), this series has really a strange appeal to me. Utterly ridiculous and totally funny. After watching the anime and live action movie (both recommended), I got my hands on the first volume of manga and, as expected, manga is the best of them.
    Oh, BTW, my Clover omnibus from Dark Horse just came. And I also nearly came because it’s unbelievably sexy with many color pages with artwork and awesome paper quality and I don’t doubt the translation will be awesome as well. Which reminds me that I sorely missed honorifics and more cultural notes in DMC. Shame on you, VIZ! Go to Dark Horse! Go to DMC!

  5. Connie Says:

    Haha, I’m glad you like this one! I really, really need to see the movie, and keep hoping that it’ll somehow get licensed in English. I’ve heard from several people that it is not to be believed. I am very amused that Gene Simmons plays the rival American metal star.

    I didn’t notice the lack of honorifics in DMC, but I frequently gloss over them anyway. I probably shouldn’t, since they offer a clue as to the relationship between characters, and in the case of DMC, there is probably an amusing switch between the ultra-polite Negishi and the less-so Krauser.

    Oh, I did pick up the Clover omnibus, but set it on the shelf and forgot to read it, you’ve just reminded me. It is absolutely gorgeous, one of the best manga presentations I’ve ever seen. One of the only ones that tops it is probably the original Clover, which had really nice vellum jackets with lyric translations and different inks printed on what looked like green parchment. So cool! But I like having it all in one volume. I remember not liking Clover that much when I read it years ago, but I’m very eager to re-read it now to see how my opinions have changed. I ought to try that this week.

  6. Pirkaf Says:

    As for honorifics, I was said that there was not much of them even in the original japanese release, so the translator is probably not at fault. But I also remember the use of honorifics from anime, so I’m not that sure about this. And I can’t imagine Negishi not being super-polite when talking to people.. ^_^
    Oh, and the news about Full House is great, since I bought all first four volumes for nice price at Rightstuf.

  7. Connie Says:

    Yeah, I wondered how frequent they were, since the first two characters that sprung to mind were Negishi-Krauser and the President, who I also could not imagine using honorifics. ^_^; But I imagine them oozing from the scenes with Negishi, Aikawa, and company.

    And yeah, those volumes of Full House were a real deal from the Right Stuf. It’s only a couple dollars more than buying the chapters on Netcomics, and that’s the cheapest I’ve ever got manga. Of course, that’s only to rent, but still.

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