Thursday, October 18, 2001

Legend of Black Heaven (Kachou Oji / Oji, Section Chief)

Genre: Sci-Fi / Music
Parental Guidance Recommended
1999 Hiroki Hayashi (Original concept). Yasuhito Kikuchi (director). Pioneer.

All Legend of Black Heaven Items
Cover Description:
Hard Rock Saves Space!! Life can crush your dreams. Oji is a middle-management drone whose only grip on sanity in the drudgery of his corporate lifestyle, are the few shreds of hope surrounding his past life as the amazing guitarist of Black Heaven, a heavy metal band that almost made it. In his bleakest moment, the magic of performing is restored to him when a beautiful mysterious woman informs him that only his special sound can save the universe from an evil alien invasion.

(13 episodes)

Rockin' the world. >>> by thundersenshi
Well, this is definitely a novelty. I've got to hand it to the creators. It's the first of its kind I have ever encountered. I'm not talking about having an unattractive lead for a change, although that does count for some points on originality, too. And by that, I don't mean an inept rendition in character design. Artwork was excellent, and rendering of colors were well-done in fact. That Oji looks like an unshaven, dull-looking office worker is in place - because that is precisely what Oji is. But I digress...what exactly makes Black Heaven truly unique?

First off, let's discuss music, since it's the more obvious aspect of Black Heaven. If anything, hearing the opening and ending themes might urge one to purchase the soundtrack simply because it's good. And if you listen further on to the music used in later episodes, you'll find that it's more than just electric guitars hammering their way to your ears. There are lighter, and then somber melodies, too, that might suit your taste if rock 'n roll doesn't appeal to you.

I find animanga titles focusing on music rare. Black Heaven is one such title, for Oji plays heavy metal to save the world from aliens. I'm sure that rather farfetched notion had you raising your brow, but it isn't as hard to digest when such a plot is placed in anime. In the end, it all boils down for the love of music, anyways. This is reflected in Oji's dedication to play, and his peculiar attatchment to his attitude which I am sure talks to some of us hardcore musicians out there.

Taking a deeper plunge, let's focus now on the subtler facets of Black Heaven. As hinted before, Oji isn't your typical lead character. He's in his mid-twenties to early-thirties, I'm not quite sure. He has a wife and a kid, and he works in a dingy office, where the less-than-lively atmosphere rubs off on him. Later on, we learn that he's actually a frustrated rocker, who was at the brink of stardom in his earlier years. After settling down, however, he had to give up dreams of playing under the spotlight. You see, this is where the harsh realistic aspect comes in. Some of us who have similar dreams, and with the same passion for music may begin to wonder if this is where it all comes down to - a practical call to action that scratches on the surface of our ambitions. This is something for you to ponder on, while you rummage past the eccentricities and humour of Black Heaven.

In conclusion, I would say that this is a particularly interesting watch, but I must say as well, that this isn't for everybody. That made it difficult for me to come up with an overall rating. And so, as I lay my opinions to rest, I leave it to your own curiousity to find out if I've said all there is to Black Heaven.

Note : I had trouble finalizing my ratings for this show. As a result, this review may have been written to par with a counter review. The Otaku Fridge will be extremely grateful for additional reviews with substantial opinions (ones that clash with mine are very welcome)!

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 9; Story 7; Characters 6; Sounds 9

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