Detroit Metal City by Kiminori Wakasugi
Soichi is a tender-hearted boy who wants to write Swedish pop songs about falling in love and eating dessert. His favorite movie is Amelie, and he always talks to his mother when she calls him to make sure he hasn’t run out of rice. Unfortunately Soichi is Krauser II, the front man for the death metal band Detroit Metal City. Soichi finds his greatest success writing songs about raping women and being the Lord of Hell. Krauser wears heavy makeup, so no one knows that Soichi is secretly a charismatic singer. Soichi is joined in his death metal pursuits by bass player Jagi and Camus, a tubby drummer. DMC’s manager rates their performances based on the condition of her panties and critiques Soichi for not being metal enough when he doesn’t torture a man on stage as enthusiastically as a Lord of Hell should.
Soichi is always tortured by his dual personalities, and unfortunately he runs into trouble when Krauser comes through in his everyday life. He has a chance meeting with a girl named Aikawa that he knew from his past in a record store, but gets distracted when DMC’s new single is playing in the background. He starts dissing DMC when Aikawa asks him if he likes their music and some heavy metal groupies come over to defend their idol. They end up forcing Soichi to perform a DMC air guitar routine and yells at her in full Krauser mode when he is still in the grip of the song, “Let me rape you, you fucking sow!” Aikawa runs away disgusted.
Many metal cliches are invoked in this manga. Krauser eats bats, is rumored to have killed his parents and had sex with the corpses, and meets an American metal god who accessorizes with snakes and owns a guitar drenched in blood. There are some moments that have a tinge of inspired lunacy, like Krauser’s encounter with a heavy metal buffalo. Obviously, if you are the type of person who is offended by profanity, this is not the manga for you. I think that Viz deserves some props for bringing out a manga so ludicrously insane that it showcases a scene where two men battle on stage while saying “Fuck” over and over again until they stop breathing. There’s not a lot of selection out there for fans of quirky humor manga, and Detroit Metal City definitely fits a niche for those who’d like their manga turned up to 11.
The art in DMC tends to be a little static, with the characters posed stiffly. Fortunately this fits in well with the costumes of the band, as they wear huge boots and so much body armor it is hard to see how they’d be able to walk. The facial expressions of the characters are often over the top caricatures, which does serve to adequately portray Soichi’s wistful expressions as he composes Swedish pop songs with lyrics like “You are a strawberry shake. I want to drink you up” and bellows as Krauser “I shall punish all your sins. I am an angel of hell! Time for your spanking!”
I thought DMC was funny, but after reading it once I wasn’t sure if I’d be rereading it all that much. Since my bookcases are overflowing with manga, I thought I’d give my copy of DMC away. Just leave a comment here with what your DMC name would be (Mistress of Satan? Death Metal Monkey? Lucifer IVIXX?) and I’ll pick someone randomly to send Detroit Metal City volume 1 to at the end of the month.