Key: The Metal Idol

Title:Key: The Metal Idol
Key The Metal Idol
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Studio Pierrot
IWAO Junko
KOSUGI Juurouta
MIKI Shinichirou
R1 License - Viz Media (Shopro)
YANAKA Hiroshi
Tokiko Mima is a 17-year old high school girl who claims to be an android build by her grandfather, the scientist Dr. Mima. One day, Dr. Mima is found to be dying by Tokiko. As a final request, Tokiko’s grandfather asks for her to travel to Tokyo and make over 30,000 friends so that she could become human. As Tokiko wanders Tokyo to seek friends, she finds herself being targeted by the robotics company, Ajo Heavy Industries, as the company takes interest in the mysterious abilities that Tokiko has which appears to be wrecking their latest batch of military robots being tested.

(OAV, 15 episodes, 1994-1997)
(Ep 1-13: 25min)(Ep 14+15: 90min)
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 9 10 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:285#1552]
The Pros: Key the Metal Idol is an anime that brings about plenty of mysteries concerning the characters and events that take place in the series. Every episode of the series brings about new details on the plot or new characters that will leave the viewer wondering if this is a character to be trusted. The series mainly centers on the mysteries surrounding Tokiko in her journey to become human as a great deal of depth is given to her character which viewers will have the opportunity to understand her past and character. In addition to these plot twists, Key is one of few anime that does not rely on comedic gags or fan service to keep episodes running. Everything witnessed throughout the series reveals more elements of the plot or traits of the characters. In terms of animation, Key’s animation is standard high-quality animation to be found in an OAV series from the mid-1990s in terms of detail, though colors are faded out to flow with the dark nature of the OAV’s plot. The soundtrack to Key feature some powerful (and haunting) J-Pop music selections, especially the music heard during the opening and closing sequences of the series.

The Cons: One problem with Key is the final two episodes of the series. The episode length for these two episodes is at an hour and a half and recaps on events that the viewers would have known of by the time the episodes come along. The ending to the series will not satisfy all viewers as the buildup in the final episodes to the ending will be a love it or hate it deal. In addition, there isn’t enough depth given to some of the characters seen in the series, especially with Ajo and his right-hand man Sergei. While a good amount of depth is given to main characters like Tokiko and her best friend Sakura, this should have been present with other characters that played a vital role in the series.

Facts on the Series:

-The OAV was sold cheaper than regular anime VHS tapes in Japan during the time of its release. When the final two episodes were released on VHS however, they were sold at the regular price of an anime VHS tape.

Last updated Sunday, January 06 2008. Created Sunday, January 06 2008.
Unevaluated Forbin [series:285#1573]
Drama : Med / High
Comedy : None
Action : Med
SciFi : High
Ecchi : Med
(2 Eps Watched) Hmm...
Not sure what to make of this Anime Yet. It does remind me of a Lain where Key is searching for something. She doesn't even know what (Well she thinks it's 30k friends). I'lll update this after a few more episodes.

Last updated Monday, January 17 2005. Created Monday, January 17 2005.
Buy 9 9 10 10 10 9 Lickylick [series:285#133]
I was drawn to watching Key after I read something in my copy of the Anime Encyclopedia saying that it had served as some inspiration for Lain and Perfect Blue. I was expecting something good, and instead I found something outstanding. Key ranks high up on my list.
Let's start off with the good points. The direction and story of Key are just brilliant. I agree with another reviewer when he says "screw this pinocchio jazz." Key is much too complex to be a mere Pinocchio clone. The story dances around several concepts such as what it is to be a human. The direction is also some of the best I have ever seen in anime. The director always hints at small things while never giving away too much to let you understand it (with one big exception). The imagery used throughout the series is astounding, especially a shot from the opening in which Key stands in front of a city of pistons and rotating gears.
The animation is rather good considering that this is something from the early 90's back in the relic days of animation cels. The character designs are also very well done, with the appearance of the characters totally suiting their personalities (from D's evil, steroid-built self to Key's frail and seemingly lifeless form). Kudos as well to the voice actors for providing some very good jobs (Tsurugi and Ajo still creep me out).
The music is a major wow for me. The opening and ending songs reflect the feelings of the series while the numerous in episode ballads are very well made.
Plot-wise... all I can say is a total wow. The plot is very complex and yet it is skillfully played out as to not overwhelm.
Now for the bad though. The beauty that is Key is only marred by the last two "theatrical length" episodes. The first of these aforementioned blunders is a hour and a half of nothing more than explanations of everything you might have possibly wondered about throughout the plot and even several things that never once crossed your mind. The second of these is better, with numerous climatic moments. Sadly it ends on a bad note (hehe) with a "my song will save the people as well as summon musical instruments." This makes for a slightly corny end to what is a damn well near perfect anime.
You must own this one, you won't regret it.

Last updated Sunday, June 01 2003. Created Sunday, June 01 2003.
Rent Stretch [series:285#628]
Although I enjoyed Key, I suspect the story would have made a good deal more sense to me if I had been born and raised in Japan. I read on a website that the name "Key" was chosen for the English translation because it sounds exactly like the Japanese term "Ki", which means "life-force" (or something like that), and such complicated concepts play an increasing part in the story as it nears it's end. So pay close attention! I have just finished watching the series a second time, and I realise I completely missed some important points the first time through. I still can't claim to understand everything (Geist--good or bad? What happened to Ajo at the end?). Maybe I don't have enough memory or a long enough attention span, but towards the end I just couldn't keep track of everything that was going on. The last two episodes kind of force-feed you so much new information so fast that this is liable to happen. I wish the story had proceeded at the same pace it had maintained throughout it's first half. Then again, maybe too much time was wasted, making the crash-course in the next-to-last episode neccessary. Nevertheless, the series had a stylish, movie-like ending.

I liked the opening and closing songs, and the way they were dubbed into English in the version I watched instead of just being subtitled. Apparently this resulted in the lyrics being radically changed, but I still enjoy the songs more this way. I also liked the opening sequence, especially a clever scene where the skyscrapers on the horizon behind Key seem to move like parts of a machine.

I found 6 of the 8 VHS volumes at a used video store--I think there were more volumes of Key for sale than any other anime series (except maybe "Bubblegum Crisis"), which may give you an idea how eager people are to rewatch it after they have seen it once.

P.S., my favorite charachter was "Prince Snake-Eye", the leader of a bizarre cult.


Last updated Thursday, February 21 2008. Created Friday, April 25 2003.
Watch 7 8 7 8 6 Courtney [series:285#80]
KEY is definitely one of those stories where you can see a lot of effort went into the gradual development of the plothow refreshing and obnoxious all at once
Personally, I think Key is a pretty good series overall as they use an interesting premise and manage to keep you surprised up until the end. While pretty much all of the questions raised during the course of the story do get answered, I can't help but feel it might have ran longer than it truly needed to (Key doesn't even sing until the end of the series). Also, KEY is definitely something you have to watch from start to finish otherwise you'll be missing some vital clue to the plotline that will be important to understanding everything about the series more clearly. I'd also say that KEY sort of runs on a darker note than one might initially expect from it as we see just how twisted the world of fame can be and sinister some people are capable of acting.
If anything, KEY's biggest shortcoming is how frustrating it can be to watch between the meticulously unfolding plotline and Key's personality (which makes Rei Ayanami look sociable). While this shouldn't be a huge discouragement, I found the ending lacked the luster I would have hoped it would have had once the series was over. It was an interesting tale, yes, but a voice in my head sort of mutter "oh that's all" once all the big secrets were revealed. There were some creative turns, but they just fell flat at the end which made a lot of the series seem unimpressive. Also, don't ask me why, but I think girls might like this series a little more than the guys, I hate Gender-typing animes but this didn't grab a lot of my guy friends.
Not the best series ever, but it probably wouldn't hurt you if you checked it out. If you liked series like LAIN, PERFECT BLUE or just the story of Pinocchio, KEY will probably be a pretty fun series for you.

Last updated Thursday, October 11 2001. Created Thursday, October 11 2001.
Buy 9 9 10 10 9 9 Anonymous #185 [series:285#185]
screw the pinocchio jazz, this is a great but in a strange but beautifully told story (much like serial experiments lain) the only problem I have with it, is the strange ending points in the chapters. Other than that, "D" Rocks, one of the better evil men of anime (is there anything this guy can't do). And Key's presence in the anime is undeniably like Lain's.

Last updated Sunday, July 01 2001. Created Sunday, July 01 2001.
Watch 7 7 CatWoman [series:285#65]
Hmmmmmmm, I have not seen too mean of these, only the first 8 eposodes...but...I don't really know what to think of it yet! It is on the strang end of wierd right know! And not one you want a kid to see...I will get back to you on this one as I see more of them! That is if I watch the rest. (after just reading Coyotes review...I don't think I want to...ECH)

Last updated Friday, April 27 2001. Created Friday, April 27 2001.
Watch 7 7 8 6 8 The Coyote [series:285#64]
I give this anime high indivulal scores but over all it barley made a watch. This is a case of they had all the pecies and still managed to leave me with a real bad taste for the show by the end. I found the show ultamately depressing, and very dark. The death of a major character with seemingly little remorse by the rest of the cast disturbed me. I can see the genius in the story telling but that dosn't mean I have to like it. I would rate this an R+ Definatlly to much sexuall content for me personally.

Last updated Sunday, April 15 2001. Created Sunday, April 15 2001.

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