Kachou Oji

Title:Kachou Oji
Black Heaven
Legend of Black Heaven
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - AIC Spirits
INOUE Kazuhiko
R1 License - Pioneer (Defunct)
Oji Tanaka is your typical salary man. Stuck in a dead end job with a wife who was an ex-groupie and a son who is a TV SciFi addict (Think Power Rangers). But Oji has a secret, he was the lead guitarist of Black Heaven, a mega rock band of the 70's. Brought down by the drudgery of day to day living, Oji is slowly spiraling into depression.

One day at work a new arrival shows up, Layla Yuki. One night she offers Oji a night to remember. The chance to play guitar for the Universe.

[TV series, 1999, 13 episodes, 22-26 min]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 7 8 8 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:962#1552]
(Buy-/ Rent+)

This was a fun title while it lasted. Black Heaven features office grunt and middle-aged man Oji reliving his days as a rock guitarist when he unknowingly becomes the major tool an alien race needs to combat an enemy threat that could wipe out the Earth if not stopped. The fun from the series comes from the show's mix of sci-fi/adventure and slice-of-life comedy as Oji's life turns topsy-turvy from interacting with Layla and the aliens. Oji gets his head too into the clouds over reliving his younger days with Black Heaven where it effects his work and home life, the aliens need his help at the most inopportune times and the three alien gals who serve under Layla contribute some of the best comedy relief I've seen in an anime thanks to their lack of common sense when it comes to understanding elements of Earth culture. Despite the comedy, the series does have its serious moments where Oji's revival of his music interest strains his marriage and he gets into a moment of disillusionment when he realizes the reality of his situation as Earth's hope for survival from the enemy fleet, as well as Layla developing admiration for Oji's guitar playing and outlook on music. The visuals to the series are solid with clean details and vivid color with scenery and character designs. Animation shortcuts are apparent at points, particularly with reused shots of animation from Oji's guitar playing and the firing of the fleet's "ultimate weapon". The show's soundtrack, as to be expected with the show's use of rock music for a plot element, consists mostly of rock and metal music tracks which fit quite well with the show's varying situations.

Black Heaven isn't without its faults though. The series doesn't go into great length explaining what exactly the enemy alien threat is, explaining much about the war that the two fleets in and why Oji was seemingly "the chosen one" to help Layla and her forces with their conflict. Also as Forbin discusses, the show gets in the annoying habit of abruptly bringing about some plot twists way too conveniently in its second half, particularly the reuniting of the band and the resolution to the whole conflict.

Outside of these issues, Black Heaven was an enjoyable romp for its effective mix of genres, the trio of alien gals adding in some unpredictable antics and its focus on Oji reliving his younger days while trying to fend off a hostile alien threat. This is a definite hidden gem for anime fans as I don't hear of the anime mentioned in many online circles of discussion.

Last updated Monday, January 23 2012. Created Monday, January 23 2012.
Buy 8 8 7 8 0 0 KBanger1 [series:962#1694]
I've only checked out the first 2 episodes. Based on what the story is supposed to be and what I saw, I thought the concept of a guy suffering through every day life and reliving his past as a rocker to save the universe was pretty lame. You have this guy suffering what seems to be a midlife crisis and holding on to the one thing that made him happy which was his "axe" (electric guitar). That's the main theme that I saw. Forget about the women from outer space or that he's called the "Messiah" (savior). All I see was a burned out washup of a man trying to live in the past. When you base an anime to this theme, expect a mechanical story to follow. For now, I'll leave it at Unevaluated until I finish this series.

Updated: March 31, 2006
I've finished the series and I have to say I gotta eat my words from the last review. I guess it was just the fact that a lot of the story actually develops along the way. At first it didn't stimulate me because I had a preconception that the anime was nothing more that some illogical farce. I have to say that I'm glad I'm wrong. The story progresses as that middle aged "rocker" reunites with his old band mates and relive their past. From that point, even more problems occur, but in the meantime the comedy was keeping the story leveled. I also based my rating from the music. It just works in this series. I got hooked and wanted to see the entire thing again (well maybe except the first few episodes).

Last updated Friday, March 31 2006. Created Thursday, March 09 2006.
Rent Forbin [series:962#1573]
Drama : Med
Action : Low
Comedy : Med
SciFi : High
Ecchi : Med
Damn I've passed this video about 20 times because of the Cover. What IDIOTS designed the OP and the DVD Menu. This anime is very funny and is on scale with DNA or Battle Programmer Shirase. Oji is not too whiny and his family is a perfect little Slice of Life for an Aging rock star.
The music is good and isn't too important or dominating in the anime.
If you like Slice of Life Comedies, you'll probably enjoy this. Well except it has interstellar spaceships :)
Edit : Finished this. This should be a buy except for the above issues. I loved it. Even the end when they bring out the high drama. Very nice. Damn People who designed the OP! Only 2 major issues. The Watanabe one (You will know if you watch this) and where in the heck did all those people come from in 30 mins. I liked his wife when her hair was all done up!

Last updated Thursday, February 24 2005. Created Thursday, February 03 2005.

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