Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I've recently watched this absolutely hilarious movie called 'Detroit Metal City' starring Matsuyama Kenichi. It is about a timid countryside guy Negishi Souichi who packs up for Tokyo in search for a dream career of being a saccharine pop singer. To his horror he ends up being the leader of 'Detroit Metal City (DMC)' - a destructive death metal band singing about murder and rape; while assuming the role of the snarling 'terrorist from hell' Johannes Krauser II complete with over-the-top makeup and costumes. Against his will, DMC becomes extremely popular, and making things worse he runs into his crush Aikawa Yuri - a music magazine writer who views death metal music in contempt.

The plot centers around him trying to keep his secret from Aikawa and his mother, as well as a battle for the King of death metal title. The movie is adapted from the manga by Kiminori Wakasugi and was also produced into an anime series.

First of all Matsuyama Kenichi is totally unrecognisable! He is best known for his portrayal of L in Deathnote. It is hard to piece together that the cryptic L detective in Deathnote and Negishi/Krauser are one and the same person! His comedic timing is priceless; the full turnabout when he plays Negishi (dweeb haircut and feminine antics) to angst-ridden Krauser is outstanding; very versatile actor. The movie plot is rather predictable but his acting alone carries the film to greater heights.   

The music score in the film is decently crafted and the performances look realistic, with Matsuyama helming some of the vocals. There is also a sub-plot where Krauser had to engage in a nationwide battle with indie bands, which is really pretty fun to watch, though adult content and foul language alert.

I was delighted to see Matsuyuki Yasuko as the monstress manager of Death Records, who is especially abusive to Negishi to inculcate hatred in him so he can produce more violent songs lol. Matsuyuki is one of my favourite japanese actresses since I first saw her in a j-dorama when I was little. Her usually classy image is shed away to something utterly unlady-like.. she looks great though!

I haven't had much interest in comedies, but one whiff of the trailer and I knew that it was going to be funny - seldom do trailers make me laugh! The one I caught on tv was a shorter censored version. Gene Simmons from KISS is the bonus feature; obviously KISS was the inspiration behind the character of Krauser. Trailer below (warning: bad language and no subtitles):

Ok last note I think this film is pretty good (dumb but in a good way) and I hope Hollywood leaves it alone (no remakes please!) unless it matches the original.... nah. It won't be easily done as the scenes are rather manga-centric, certain expressions are specifically culturally Japanese. If they do attempt a remake, it will either be very strange by Hollywood's standards, or not true to source material to cater to a different demographic.


Julie said...


I haven't watched the live-action film, but there's even an anime for Detroit Metal City (it's really well done)

I wonder if it's the same as the movie? I'll have to watch it :O

We The Sapiens said...

i've been wanting to see this for a long time! any idea where to watch this

Lemon Shortbread said...

The dvd is out! So it should be easily accessible now =)

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!