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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)


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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.











Sound Director

Episode Director

Episode Director, Storyboard, Key Animation, Animation Director

Episode Director, Animation Director

Theme Song Arrangement, Theme Song Lyrics, Theme Song Composition, Theme Song Performance

Key Animation

Key Animation, Planning

Key Animation

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