Series Review: Black Heaven

Power of Rock > Power of Love

As easy as it’d be for me to go silly again, what with a name like (Legend of) Black Heaven, I’ll refrain. Black Heaven… it’s an old series, I heard about it long ago but didn’t get to watching it until recently. As I heard, this is one of those unsung gems, much like Battle Programmer Shirase or Airmaster. Though I’d rate it higher than the former (not latter though, Airmaster rawks). But back on track, y’all might be wondering what Black Heaven’s about.

Simply put, the premise is there’s this middle aged middle management salary man named Oji, who used to be a rocker in the Japanese indy scene. He and his band, Black Heaven, had their limelight there, but eventually, life caught up with them. They all got jobs and married and led normal lives. But Oji, he’s gone into a rut and longs for the rush of the good old days. In other words, he’s having a mid-life crisis, which is not helped by an unsupportive wife.

But one day, the hot new girl in the office approaches him, and as it turns out, she’s part of an alien military. Years ago, when Black Heaven was active, their music activated the power of the aliens’ Ultimate Weapon. Now, they’re fighting a losing war and need the power of the Ultimate Weapon to turn the tide.

Aye, they need the power of music, the power that only Black Heaven, that only Oji can provide. They need the power… of JAZ-erm, I mean rock. They need the power of ROCK!

And that’s the premise, and everything else revolves around that, as it should. People think Oji’s having an affair, the aliens have no real concept of ROCK! and as well, Oji struggles with his rekindled passion for ROCK and understanding his family etc.

It’s a good series, with good humor and awesome music and lotsa real life references even to amateur rock aficionados. Surprisingly, for a series that’s almost 10 years old, the art’s still really good. I’m often left wondering if I’m watching Golden Boy when they focus on Layla (the hot new chick) but otherwise, the art style and quality is still viable even today.

And of course, a series with such a premise… yes, the music ROCKS! No pun intended. It gets sort of repetitive toward the end, but as I eventually learned, there’s a storytelling reason for it later on, as there’s quite a bit of significance to the new music.

Overall, a show with good humor, premise and execution. It’s a total shame that Black Heaven’s following is cult at best. Even then, only a small cult. It’s truly one of the gems of anime.

**** out of 5.

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