Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Kiminori Wakasugi
Genre: Graphic Novel (VIZ Signature)
MSRP: $12.99 US
Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Go to DMC … you will not regret it.
As a former metal head myself, I was strangely compelled to pick up a copy of Detroit Metal City and after putting it down I began to curse myself for not having picked it up since Volume 1. Inexcusably twisted yet absolutely hilarious, DMC is one of those truly rare works that will not fail to make you laugh at least once each chapter. In Volume 5, the legend of Johannes Krauser II continues as his real identity struggles with his everyday life.
At first glance, Soichi Negishi looks like a sweet, innocent and impressionable young college-aged student who has come to Japan to study and play the music he likes yet deep within the boy lies a much darker other self that is filled with death metal rage. He’s like Marilyn Manson only – unlike Manson – Soichi isn’t a freak when the makeup and outfit is off. Actually, he is the polar opposite of what you would expect from a satanic death metal artist.
In Volume 5, Soichi is on his way to a show when he gets a call from his mother with an urgent message that his grandfather fell from the roof. The young man imagines the worst but he has a show to do and the theme is suicide on stage. With no choice but to do the show, Soichi becomes Krauser and not only commits a number of staged “suicides” but he also pays tribute to his grandfather … whose condition, as it turns out, isn’t as grave as Soichi made it out to be in the first place.
Later, on a photo excursion in Yokohama with his love interest named Aikawa when they both run into Soichi’s art photography idol that goes by the name Kuze Eye Set. The boy is immediately star struck by the sight of his idol but when Aikawa shows Kuze the pictures Soichi took and insulted his camera … well, you better believe that Soichi is determined to get some payback. As the girl he likes poses for Kuze, Soichi adds his own twisted “artistic” touch to the photo. The result is a picture that – instead of humiliating the artist – becomes a huge hit at his art gallery.
In past volumes we met Krauser’s hardcore fans but when a new fan who lived in America starts coming to all of DMC’s shows, he’s begins to annoy all the old fans to the point that he challenges one of Krauser’s biggest fans in a showdown to see who will get a good “screwch” from their satanic lord. In the meantime, Soichi is totally smitten by a cute singer named Takako who just put out her first CD and has a radio show. Both seem to have a lot in common and, when he gets an invite to do her radio show (with his friend who makes up his other musical interest), he accepts. Unfortunately, Takako never calls him and ends up doing the show with Soichi’s musical partner so – in a rage – Soichi shows up as Krauser to wreck havoc live on the air.
Meanwhile, Soichi must attend his sister’s wedding to a big guy who actually turns out to be a really nice guy. Despite some awkward moments between him and his sister as well as a hilarious misunderstanding between the groom-to-be and Soichi’s weird brother, Soichi comes to like the guy and even prepares a song he plans to sing to the newlyweds during the reception. When he debuts said song, however, everyone believes the boy is drunk. So, once again, Krauser makes an appearance and all hell breaks loose.
In the other chapters, Soichi tries to make up for disrupting Takako’s radio show and finds out that Krauser’s antics are responsible for getting her fired from her own show. Riddled with guilt, Soichi hopes that Takako will out him as Krauser but it looks like the girl is a lot dumber than he thought. In yet another chapter, Soichi finds himself reuniting with two metal bands he crushed during a metal event only to be involved in a dispute involving Death Records’ past and a musician claiming that he’s the original Kauser.
The manga just doesn’t focus on Soichi/Krauser as two chapters center on two interesting people that make up two of the funniest chapters in the volume. In one chapter, a record executive and his partner have climbed to fame as Krauser’s favorite “pigs” used on stage (in leather and stockings) to amp up the crowd as S&M sex slaves. One of the executives wants to be humiliated so badly that he blows off his son’s birthday to perform. In another chapter, a wannabe New York City gangster rapper that Krauser dethroned on stage tries to make a comeback. If only he can pass his remedial English exam to prove his New York street cred.
Consider me another fiercely loyal fan of Krauser who makes this manga a brutally funny series you will come to love. The humor isn’t just crude but witty enough that – at times – it seems absolutely brilliant. Just pick up a copy of Volume 5 of Detroit Metal City and you will be addicted to it by the first chapter. Trust me, if you’re looking for a mature and darkly twisted comedy manga, you cannot go wrong with DMC.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Once again, Lord Krauser is the center of attention of his most hardcore fans be it a new Americanized fan trying to become Krauser’s latest “victim” or a music rep who achingly desires to become humiliated on stage so much that he skips out on his son’s birthday. Meanwhile, Soichi must deal with his sister’s wedding, his feelings for a cute up-and-coming singer and an art photographer that gets under his skin.
Wakasugi-sensei’s art is original and it actually suits the story excellently that the visual gags just seem a lot funnier. You’ll find it too hard to look away from each panel of this series.
Sick, twisted and blatantly outrageous, Detroit Metal City will not fail to make you laugh out loud and laugh hard. Five volumes later and the series still maintains its over-the-top sense of humor as well as solid storytelling that makes DMC such a rare and brilliant manga. A Must Read for any manga fan looking for a funny and twisted read.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media