by Kiminori Wakasugi; adapted by Annus Itchii
published by Viz; $12.99 US
When I first heard about this heavy metal parody, I was sure I’d be too grossed out to make it through. The premise, you see, is that nerdy virgin Soichi becomes the vile, repulsive, hateful, misogynist lead singer of a death metal band on stage, but he really wants to sing sappy pop songs.
The comedy comes from the contrast between Soichi’s incompetence at so much of life and his made-up posturing on-stage. I did have to tamp down my gag reflex when it came to some of the foul lyrics spewed by the band, but then I thought about how stupid the listeners were for wanting to hear this ridiculous noise. It’s also kind of a scary (unintentionally) comment on how far you have to go to purposefully shock people these days.
Surprisingly, I found much of the book funny, especially when unbelievable coincidences started making Soichi’s life worse. Or his mother calls at just the wrong time. Or they point out how easily a happy poppy song becomes a hell chant by changing just a few nouns. I still can’t stand his boss, though.
The chapters are short, a good choice to keep things from getting too meaningful and keep the humor punchy. The art is a little flat, with an emphasis on people looking shocked (open mouth, wide eyes, color on cheeks). This may not be the book for you if you’re put off by obscene language or wimpy protagonists — so much would change if Soichi would just take some responsibility and tell people the truth or accept his occupation or say no to being bullied. But that’s putting more thought into this comedy than I think it wants.
A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher. Here’s a more in-depth review.