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Detroit Metal City Vol. 1
Distributor Viz Media
Author/Artist Kiminori Wakasugi
Soichi Negishi is, at first glance, an average Japanese musician trying to make his mark in the world. He loves Swedish pop music, trendy boutiques and being an all-round nice guy. But when he gets onto the stage he becomes Krauser II, lead of the upcoming indie death metal band Detroit Metal City or DMC as known by it’s often disturbed fans. Problem is Negishi hates death metal, as well as the band he is in and while struggling to make it as a pop artist, he is stuck in DMC until he hits the big time on his own.
DMC is something that should not be taken seriously. The story is driven by a basic plot, but beyond that there is little of what you might call character development or anything beyond the basic joke of Negishi failing at what he loves and being successful at what he hates.
Each story revolves around how a situation arises where Negishi has a very hard time resisting the death metal gods and must play to their whims. Now on the one hand, it makes the manga a nice light read that will no doubt make you let out a dirty little chuckle as Negishi has to do something completely against his character to maintain his dual identities. On the other hand, it is the same joke played over and over again, and even by the end of this first volume it is starting to wear a little thin. That's not to say it isn't funny, it's just that I’d love to see some more varied comedy thrown into the mix.
The art style is no doubt something that will throw a few people. The best description would be "Westernised" - while there are obvious Japanese manga traits in the artwork, characters are depicted in a more realistic tone than that we have become accustomed to of late (See Mikansei). It's a nice change of pace and fits in with the frantic and often goofy or downright insane stunts that seem to get pulled during Negishi’s adventures.
DMC has to be experienced, even if it is at least once. Most will raise a chuckle at the exploits of the band, while others may see it as some flat comedy. It is by no means laugh out loud, but if you need something to switch your brain off to, then DMC will be right up your street. Just be sure not to read this in view of the public, as the “stage performances” may raise a few eyebrows.
While not for everyone, it is a fantastic manga to switch off and enjoy