From the back cover:
By all appearances, Soichi Negishi is a sweet, well-mannered boy who loves Swedish pop music, trendy boutiques, and all things fashionable. But at the same time he’s also Krauser II, front man for Detroit Metal City, an indie death metal band whose popularity increases by the day. Once the DMC makeup goes on and Soichi takes the stage, his natural talents as a death metal god can’t help but flourish. Is this the band he’s truly destined to be in?
I knew going in that there was a chance I wouldn’t like Detroit Metal City—the front cover describes it as “gleefully profane” and “wildly ridiculous,” after all—but there were also some aspects that suggested I might, like a sense of the absurd (Krauser II riding a tractor must be seen to be believed) and songs with titles like “Death Penis.” In the end, I struggled to finish the first volume and must conclude that this series is simply not for me.
This is the story of Soichi Negishi, who moved to Tokyo for college with the ambition of starting an indie pop band. Instead, he finds himself taking the stage as Krauser II, frontman for the death metal group, Detroit Metal City. While DMC has legions of screaming fans, no one is much interested in Soichi’s music except for a few old classmates from whom he hides his affiliation with DMC. Throughout the volume, he tries to find an outlet for his own musical sensibilities, but gets humiliated one too many times and seems to be on the verge of embracing his role as Krauser by the final pages.
Predictably, I did not enjoy the rampant profanity or crude characters like DMC’s boss and drummer, but I might’ve been able to overlook that if Soichi, in his normal, everyday guise, was actually a likable person. In fact, his “normal” mode is as much of a guise as Krauser is, since beneath the mild-mannered surface lurks a person capable of plotting revenge on DMC fan who accused him of groping her on the train by dressing as Krauser and planning to have lots and lots of sticky sex with her. I understand that that’s probably the point—the line between Soichi and Krauser is much more blurry than he’d care to admit—but I personally don’t enjoy stories in any medium where I can’t find anybody to like.
On the positive end of the spectrum, there are some funny moments (see above re: tractor) and some entertaining juxtapositions, like when Soichi’s classmate sings one of his old songs while a DMC tune plays in the background, or when an e-mail from Soichi’s mom asking “You eating enough, hon?” is superimposed over a gruesome video shoot in which Krauser chomps on some bats. My favorite line comes after Krauser, in full make-up, helps a rival band member get over his nerves by rehearsing in a bathroom. The other guy is all grateful, to which Krauser replies, “I am the devil. You shouldn’t get too attached.”
Ultimately, I didn’t hate Detroit Metal City, but I’m not planning to read more. I might, however, follow plot developments from afar to see whether anything interesting comes of Soichi’s decision to accept his death god fate.
Review copy provided by the publisher.