Review: Key the Metal Idol (1994) Anime | My Reviews 12 JUL 2007

Key The Metal IdolWill you be one of Keys friends?

Her classmates at school called her Key, as in the key to a strange mystery. Keys grandfather was a kindly old scientist wanting to use his skill in robotics to create peace and love in the world. But when that kindly old scientist passed away, poor Key was left behind, lacking even the ability to smile. There still is hope, however – a message left behind for Key suggests a fantastic possibility. Could it really be possible for Key to become a real, live human, if she can only win the love of 30,000 people?

A dark, haunting tale of cybernetic sci-fi dreams, spiritual visions and the turbulent world of Japanese pop music, Key the Metal Idol will haunt and amaze you. Well maybe not haunt and amaze you, but Key the Metal Idol certainly is a trip worth going on.

Originally released in Japan in 1994, continuing through 1997, the series consists of fifteen episodes divided into three “programs”. First Program consists of episodes 1 through 7. Second Program is 8 through 13. Third Program and Final Program are episodes 14 and 15 respectively. – Though Key the Metal Idol was released in episodes, each volume is not a stand-alone story. Instead, the entire series is likened to one extremely long film which was then cut into short segments for sale. All which leads to a very cohesive viewing experience.

Key the Metal Idol is a fairly serious anime and as such forgoes any real humour or exaggerated caricatures usually associated with anime titles. The story is dark, brooding and etched with bloody violence. Plus the story throws a number of really surprising twists and turns at you, keeping you guessing right until the end.

Although aged by todays standards, the animation is quite detailed for an OVA release, with good character designs and a rather muted colour palette. Because the story deals in the world of J Pop, the show features quite a decent soundtrack. The seiyuu (voice actors) do a tremendous job in carrying across the tone and the mood of the story, with no one appearing out of place.

That said, I cant say I really enjoyed the anime as the one flaw I felt was that the pacing seemed a little off and rather slow in places. But I guess I can attribute this to the fact that this 15 part OVA was released over a period of four years, with different directors directing the various episodes.

In the end though this is a pretty good yarn, with a dark sci-fi/fantasy mood and should appeal to anyone who loves the anime classics. Youngsters need not apply.

Key the Metal Idol1 Key the Metal Idol2 Key the Metal Idol3

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.