All Kachou Ouji released episodes
Somewhere in the depths of space two mighty space fleets clash. Meanwhile, back on Earth Oji Tanaka, once the lead guitarist for the hot heavy metal band Black Heaven has hit the wall. Oji cashed out of the rock biz and is now trapped in a life he considers a lie - that of a dull salaryman with a young family. But even as Oji tries to cling to his past, his ruthlessly practical wife Yoshiko, once the founder of his fan club, is throwing out his prized rock mementos to make room for their growing family. On the day he hits rock bottom, she trashes his last and most cherished Flying V guitar. His life changes forever when he meets the lovely Layla Yuki, a new employee in his office. Professing to be an old fan, she ushers a drunken Oji to a private stage secreted in the back of an empty model home and up a glowing stairway where she reunites him with his lost Flying V. Oji is overjoyed, and plays for her. But Layla isn't what she seems.
Oji wakes up the next morning wondering if his time with Layla was a dream, but she soon appears to assure him it wasn't, asking for his help to save her people. Oji assumes she's joking about inter-stellar battles, but he can't wait to play his guitar again, so he plays along with her story. They step through an office door and onto a large stage, where he plays the night away. Oji's recent all-night disappearances have got Yoshiko steamed, but to make it up to her, Oji offers to take her to tour the new model homes in a nearby development. While there, though, Layla appears to tell him his playing is desperately needed, and leaves her three ditzy lackeys Kotoko, Eriko and Rinko to keep Yoshiko distracted. Oji really cranks his guitar this time. But while he beams, thinking he's playing in a trendy nightclub, his music is actually powering a super-powerful weapon that destroys an enemy fleet.
Layla's commander and ex-lover Fomalhaut is determined to reproduce Oji's killer sound without depending on the artist himself. He dispatches her to more closely observe Oji, and, as a backup, also sends Kotoko, Eriko and Rinko to make more remote observations. Meanwhile, the other housewives living in the Tanakas' apartment building buzz with rumors that Oji has taken a lover, and while Yoshiko doesn't believe it, she is none-too-pleased when beautiful Layla shows up on their doorstep, on the young couple's anniversary no less, and proceeds to spend the entire day mooning over Oji's career. Matters don't improve when Kotoko, Eriko and Rinko decide to create a love nest for Layla and Oji when Yoshiko steps out to shop.
Oji agrees to watch Gen, the couple's son, while Yoshiko heads to a high school reunion. While strolling with the little tike in the park, Oji realizes that he knows virtually nothing about his son aside from the boy's total obsession over the TV show ""UFO Ranger Flying 5"" (which curiously stars a woman who looks just like Layla and seems to feature adventures which parallel Oji's own). While watching Gen play, Oji gets a cell call from Layla who, with her fleet under attack, insists that he perform immediately. Oji drops everything, leaving his son in the park. As Oji revs up his sound, Gen sneaks aboard the mothership and immediately becomes a target for the ship's deadly defense systems.
Oji Tanaka, formerly the lead guitarist of the '80s metal band Black Heaven, is walking on air. He's playing his guitar again, he's pulled out his old hip duds, and his Muse has returned - he's composing a new ballad. He bugs Layla about a chance to try his new song, and, based on his confidence, the aliens enter a key battle counting on increased power from his sound. Unfortunately, Oji's new mellow sound is utterly ineffective in powering the weapon, and it is only when Fomalhaut arrives to pull the plug that Oji finally twigs to the fact that he's participating in a galactic war - and that Earth will fall into jeopardy if they fail. Even worse, he learns that no one cares about his music beyond its ability to wreak destruction. His delusions and dreams shattered, Oji smashes his guitar and walks.
His spirit crushed, Oji throws himself into his work, determined to put the ""childishness"" of his music career behind him - he even turns down a ticket to a rock concert held by his idol Michael Schenker. Meanwhile, the three alien ditzes Kotoko, Eriko and Rinko are dispatched to re-ignite Oji's passion for music - but, predictably, their hair-brained schemes fall apart. In the end, Layla simply hands him his restored Flying V. He accepts it without knowing why.
Fomalhaut's forces are taking a shellacking, forcing Layla to pilot one of their starfighters. To her shock, though, the ultimate weapon goes online and smashes the opposition. She rushes back to find Oji playing under the guidance of the beautiful but cold fleet scientist Hamil. It seems Oji has had a change of heart about playing. But, alas, something has gone out of his music, and the weapon is not as powerful as it once was. Suspecting the source of the problem, Hamil pounces on a startled Oji in a Tokyo alley, feigning a nearly sexual passion for his music. This reinvigorates Oji, but also brings Layla charging in. She sees that Hamil is manipulating Oji, and wanting to come by his talents more honestly, takes him back under her wing - which is actually what Hamil wanted all along. Meanwhile, Oji gets a brainstorm: If he alone can generate such power, what could a reunited Black Heaven accomplish?
Oji reunites with 3 of the 4 other members of Black Heaven in hopes of convincing them to reunite and start playing once again. Unfortunately no one showed up at the agreed time. Oji goes to try once again to convince the other members about restarting Black Heaven when he finally realizes that they all actually have families now with different priorities.
Figuring he could start another band, Oji makes up flyers for auditions and has 3 hits for it. Oji decides to accept them for their ""Outer space attitude"", except the 3 new members all have their quirks and start fighting amongst each other. Oji gets them to reconcile, and they plan to meet at the model homes the next day. Oji is called to action, but the three members catch the wrong bus and end up in Aomori, 700km away. Oji ends up playing solo but breaks a guitar string. Just as he's about to give up, a drum beat is heard and lights are hit showing that 'Michael' Sato, 'Raphael' Suzuki and 'Luke' Yamada are all there to back Oji up. The band is back together! They easily blow away the enemy. Afterwards at the food cart Oji asks what made them decide to show up after all. And 'Raphael' keeps toasting (again&again&again...) to the belated reunion of Black Heaven.
The group is once again shown playing on Layla's ship, when they suddenly stop claiming a 'keyboard solo'; Fomalhaut screams to keep playing. They start up again saying keyboard solo over. The reason for not being able to have a full reunion is revealed due to the fact that Watanabe (the keyboardist) is dead (the true story behind his death courtesy of Yoshiko). The group tries to figure out who can fill his place when Layla suggests her self.
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.