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Kachou Ouji

Oji Tanaka has a wife, a child and a mundane job as a salary man in Tokyo's modern society. But life wasn't dull for him to begin with; 15 years ago, he was known as "Gabriel", leader of a short-lived heavy metal band called Black Heaven. Oji's life gets a sudden change in direction when he is invited by a mysterious blonde woman named Layla to pick up his Gibson Flying V and once again display his "legendary" guitar skills, not knowing that his music generates power for a massive weapon in an intergalactic war. (Source: ANN)
User Count2695
Favorites Count14
Start Date8th Jul 1999
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank2993
Rating Rank4021
Age RatingR
Age Rating Guide17+ (violence & profanity)
SubtypeTV
Statusfinished

Episodes

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Legend of Black Heaven was made in 1999 and made by AIC back when they didn’t rely on shitty fanser­vice harems and could pump out stuff like Black Heaven and Now and Then, Here and There. It tells the story of Oji, a gen­eric Tokyo salary­man going through a mid­life crisis. After des­pair­ing when his wife throws out his favour­ite elec­tric gui­tar, a sexy alien co-worker tells him that he is the one man with the abil­ity to power an inter­galactic super weapon using his gui­tar playing.Not that the space opera plot really mat­ters that much. The super weapon runs on roughly the same energy that the robots in Gur­ren Lagann ran on, except this time it requires gui­tar play­ing to trans­form said spirit (which Black Heaven calls ‘groove’) into energy to run the weapon. We’re never given any reason why they’re fight­ing or who they’re fight­ing. One of my run­ning the­or­ies through­out the series was that this was all in the main char­ac­ters head. The anime itself kept to the theme that this was all a dream, never cross­ing the bound­ary between the real world and the space battles.What pur­pose the space gui­tar play­ing battles really serve is a big meta­phor for the lead char­ac­ters mid life crisis. For everything that hap­pens in the space battle zone, there’s a clear cor­rel­a­tion between what’s going on in his head and the real world. The real­isa­tion that nobody really cared about the songs he was play­ing in the space­ships was a meta­phor for how he had got­ten so wrapped up in try­ing to cre­ate a spark in his mid life that he hadn’t real­ised how his head was totally in the clouds. The numer­ous sexual meta­phors con­nec­ted to escap­ing to play his gui­tar, while played for com­edy pretty fre­quently, cor­rel­ated to how he wanted to escape his whiny wife and unsat­is­fy­ing home life.Black Heav­ens greatest achieve­ment is that it man­ages to keep both the gen­eral story and the meta­phors great fun to watch through­out. Purely on the sur­face level, Black Heaven is still an incred­ibly fun anime. The char­ac­ters all have clear per­son­al­it­ies and flawed in their own ways. The fail­ing mar­riage of Oji and his wife has no clear per­son you’re meant to side with. There’s a panic and fear sur­round­ing the women when she real­ises that their mar­riage is fail­ing and he might be off with another women, but she struggles so hard to under­stand his pas­sion that it’s under­stand­able how Oji wants to cre­ate a spark in his life with this meta­phor­ical mis­tress of space gui­tar play­ing. Oji is a hugely flawed char­ac­ter him­self, prone to fre­quent feel­ings of ela­tion and depres­sion. One of the parts I really liked about Black Heaven were how the most extreme moments in his emo­tions were set inside the ramen stall. It was the one place he could visit and be him­self without the show ever actu­ally say­ing that itself.There’s so many little things I love about this anime. The grow­ing rela­tion­ship between Oji and his son, where at the begin­ning he knew noth­ing about him to Oji becom­ing the dads idol. The kids TV show Fly­ing 5 con­stantly provid­ing indir­ect com­ment­ary to what was going through Oji’s mind at the time. The way the show never lost its sense of humour, whether it be through the hil­ari­ous sight of middle aged office work­ers try­ing to fit a bass gui­tar over their ever-expanding bel­lies to the occa­sional yet rather lib­eral use of fanser­vice through­out the show (bunny girl press-ups spring to mind). It’s a story of iden­tity crisis wrapped up in a Heavy Metal Macross package.It’s far from per­fect and I’m not so blind as to sug­gest oth­er­wise. Made in 1999, the anim­a­tion isn’t par­tic­u­larly good even for its time. The anim­a­tion is pretty fluid but has a tend­ency to re-use frames a hell of a lot and far away shots of char­ac­ters can often give them mis­shapen heads. The anime has a single utterly awe­some theme song that it uses the entire way through the show. While this does add a lot when you hear how the song evolves through­out, it does start to get a bit much as it goes on. The comic relief trio don’t do an awful lot for the plot either and can some­times take up time being not very funny.My biggest com­plaint though is how I felt it star­ted to lose sight of the bal­ance it cre­ated between the real world and the space opera right at the end. I get what it was going for and how Oji had come to terms with this dream by the end, but I felt it didn’t quite get the bal­ance right the same way the rest of the series did. Even so, Legend of Black Heaven is one of the greatest anime I have ever seen, just in case that big fat 10 mark hadn't given away that already ;)

I'd rate this higher but the first 8 or so episodes are sort of bland. Its the final 3-4 episodes that really save this for me. The music is catchy throughout the show, and i'm glad i stuck this one out. That all being said: The characters in this show are very "Real" feeling, as they have a shit-ton of real life problems that would go along with a secret double life as a space-rock hero. The characters are fun, though the pacing in this show is VERY VERY strange. and there are long-drawn out 2+ second pauses in animation/speaking sometimes. And it feels very slow at times, so much so that it can feel "boring" when the space-battle stuff is'nt happening. Mostly when Tanaka or his wife are sulking over something, ohgod the sulking. The ending of this series(again the final 3 episodes) really tie everything up nice, so its worth it to stick it out in the end.

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