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Black Heaven - Introduction

by Kyle Pope, Jan 14th 2004
Black Heaven: Heavy Metal Hero

A while ago Pioneer (now Geneon) released a series that flew under most people's radar which makes it surprising to see it being aired on the International Channel. "Black Heaven", originally titled "Kachou Ouji", is an unusual little 13 episode series that puts an interesting twist on the Macross idea of music as weapon. Ouji, our protagonist, is a middle management drone in a job he hates. He has a family at home consisting of a wife and son who are unremarkable in every conceivable way. In short, Ouji's life is going nowhere at a snail's pace and sucking every bit of life out of him along the way. But this wasn't always so. For once upon a time Ouji was lead guitarist for Black Heaven, a Heavy Metal band that almost made it. As is wont to happen in anime fate intervenes in Ouji's life in the form of an interstellar war being fought in Earth's back yard. The forces of Light and Goodness have an ultimate weapon at their disposal that for some reason reaches maximum destructive potential when fed by Ouji's legendary guitar riffs. So agents from these forces seek out Ouji to use him as their ace-in-the-hole and save Earth from the marauding hoardes. One of the more unusual elements of this series is that it has a protagonist who is not fresh out of diapers. Ouji is a man in his forties living the kind of daily grind far too many of us are familiar with. This show has less to do with stopping invading aliens than it does with a man rediscovering his joy in life. It is also a series to be noted for its early experimentation with combining traditional animation with CGI. Watching it you can see how far the Japanese have come in this area since this show was first aired.

Anyway I don't expect there to be any lists for this show as the International Channel has not yet edited any of the anime it has aired. Not that there was much in Black Heaven to edit in the first place. It is nice to see this show get the exposure it didn't get when it was first released for it does tell a good story. And it's good to see an anime that demonstrates that us old farts have what it takes to save the universe too.

Rock on, Ouji.

Kyle Pope

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