by Kiminori Wakasugi; adapted by Annus Itchii (Anne Ichii)
published by Viz; $12.99 US
Review by Ed Sizemore
***Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers***
Detroit Metal City volume four concludes the Satanic Emperor Festival storyline. The ending shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone following the series to this point. Volume five is a break from DMC out-metaling every band they face, as we get to see more of Soichi’s personal life. Also, we find out what happened to rapper Kiva. Volume six gives us background on the DMC’s manager and introduces Shinigami G. It also begins a new story.
In an earlier review, I was worried that Detroit Metal City was painting itself into a corner. What happens when DMC becomes the most metal band in the world? With Shinigami G, we finally get what the series has been sorely lacking, a true challenge to DMC and to Soichi. Someone as unlikely to be a metal god as Soichi. The big difference is that Shinigami G has a true passion for death metal.
What has been most interesting in these three volumes has been watching the development, some might say the decline, of Soichi. There is a change in Soichi when the true nature of Helvete is revealed. You get a sense that, on a subconscious level, Soichi has accepted the Krauser part of his personality. The end of the Satanic Emperor Festival story arc marks a shift in the series. Now we are watching as Krauser becomes more manifest in Soichi’s life.
This isn’t to say that Soichi’s dreams of Swedish folk pop are going to disappear without a fight. It’s amazing the level of denial Soichi is willing to live with. You would think that when Krauser crashes his sister’s wedding, Soichi would finally take a serious look at who he really is versus who he pretends to be. Author Wakasugi handles all this psychological flux deftly. He has me wondering who the real Soichi is now.
I still love DMC’s manager. She is the poet laureate of vaginal secretions. I’m amazed at how she can still shock or make me laugh with her expressions. Kudos to the translator for showing impressive creativity in making the manager’s dialogue so artful.
Wakasugi’s art continues to be consistently good. There is a wonderful energy to the art. He is able to really bring out all emotions of a moment. The facial expressions he comes up with for Soichi/Krauser are truly impressive.
As always, Detroit Metal City is only for those that can stomach large doses of crude humor. But this series has been more than just rape and scatological jokes. Wakasugi has crafted wonderfully complex characters, the real foundation of Detroit Metal City. Volumes five and six have been my favorites of the series so far. The cliff hanger at the end of volume six promises great things for volume seven. This has gone from being a guilty pleasure to a series I’m proud to read. (The publisher provided review copies.)