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blamspam's Key the Metal Idol Ova Review

Key the Metal Idol ova Review

Story & Playability

A strange mishmash of all the cliches of many different genres within the anime medium, when I first heard the premise I thought 1. That it would be a show about finding yourself, friendship, all those Pinocchio devices or 2. That it would be a dumb proto-moe series. This twisted OVA series turned my expectations around. The basic premise is this: Tokiko Mima (or Key - a pun on the Japanese word for "strange"), is a 14-year-old girl with a strange look and feel to her. She is supposedly a robot created by her grandfather, though as the series goes on it is implied that this is not so. Her grandfather, the magnificent maker of android technology named Doctor Mima, tells her before his death that she must make 30,000 friends to become human. Key wants to both please her grandfather and live a life where she is liked instead of looked on as a freak, and goes to Tokyo to attempt to become an idol singer. Her friend Sakura takes her in and trains her, and her brushes with the famous idol Miho Utsuse become stranger and make everyone around her wonder if she knows what she really is, and what her purpose is. Between the circumstances of her grandfather's death, Key's source of mysterious power, what Key is, why she needs 30,000 friends, and why the bad guys are after Key, there are far too many questions both asked and answered that I can't fit into this review.

Anime I might compare to this would probably be Perfect Blue, for the horrific potrayal of how idols are really supposedly feeling and Evangelion, for the heavy religious symbolism and general weirdness. The characters are likeable and believable as heroes, and the main villain is as downright disgusting and deplorable as they get. The characters with less obvious morality - Dr. Mima, and Miho Utsuse, the idol, are some of the more interesting that could have used more focus on them.

Rating: 8

Graphics

The art is certainly early-90's, with the stereotypical sketchiness and sometimes stiff movements. The character designs are appealing, and Key certainly doesn't seem unique now thanks to all the pale-haired emotionally stunted girls in anime nowadays (I'm looking at you, Rei Ayanami!), but she did predate all those and still looks nice enough. Sakura's design is a contrast to Key's, nicely reflecting opposite personalities. Most of the male characters are either generic or look like a deliberate take on Ryo Saeba of City Hunter. By far the ugliest to look at is Ajo, a grimacing or maniacal look on his face constantly that definitely fits his mental state perfectly.

The two movie-sized episodes contain a lot of "pillow shots" in between dialogue, which comes off as cheap. Despite the not-always-stellar fluidity of the animation, I really love the use of trippy/scary imagery, and these images always look good when their sequences come up.

Rating: 6

Sound

The Japanese voice work is good, but not notable - Key's VA makes a good sweet robot, but the rest are just stereotypical. The casting is not bad, but not stellar either. The English dub is fairly well done in terms of dialogue, but at times becomes overwrought or corny. Sakura in particular has that bad, smoker-sounding "tomboy" voice that often pops up in anime dubbing. Key effectively has an innocent robotic sound in the dub as well, although the beautiful singing doesn't seem to quite match. Speaking of music, the dubbed music is outstanding in terms of quality, surpassing the original. The opening and ending are graced with more emotion here, and the famous lullaby of Key makes more sense and is more effectively creepy.

The BGM usually fits the mood and is expected of most action-oriented anime.

Rating: 6

Fun

The different genres here - psychological horror, action, idol girls, mecha, military, and the old androids dreaming of electric sheep question, are all twisted and intertwined in the strangest and most surprising ways. I would never have guessed that there would be an anime combining Shinto mysticism, conspiracy theories, idol singers, mecha warfare and cute robot girls and have it not be a Frankenstein's monster of regurgitated anime premises. It's certainly weird, and certainly interesting, but by combining all these, fans of the individual parts might be turned off by it. (I went in expecting moe robot Idol Densetsu Eriko at one point, and luckily I like enough different things that I wasn't bothered by finding it was NOT that. The concept is more enjoyable nowadays thanks to social networking and all.

Rating: 7

Final Verdict

7.00 (above average)

Reviewed by blamspam, Jul 30, 2011

Comments

  1. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Jul 30, 2011

    I've been meaning to watch this show for some time now and I'm glad to hear that the story itself is what I expected it to be.

    My recommendation would be to cover a bit more in the story aspects. Give us a bit more information behind the story, the characters and the plot. Without already knowing that Key is an android-like creation and was given the mission of making 100 friends, I wouldn't know what to think given by the plot synopsis.

    I do, however, like how you kept everything rather summarized and when you offered comparisons, you gave us reasons as to why you compared it to such so to avoid alienating anyone who has not said previously mentioned series.

    I hope to see more reviews from you!

  2. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator Jul 30, 2011

    To be honest, having never seen this series, the story section was quite confusing to me without some sort of synopsis, though your descriptions of the many different genres do pique my curiosity. Still, I like how concise you were throughout the review while still using plenty of detail and information to back your opinion up so that your evaluation seems fair and not biased. Well done on your first review!

  3. angelxxuan Banned Member Jul 30, 2011

    I've never heard of this, although I know perfect blue rather well, slightly disturbing in some of the scenes that one was, but listing and comparing anime within another review isn't often good for a choice of a review, due to who has seen said anime comparison. overall, you did good for your first review, I remember running across this once and the plot was weak from what I read up about it and never really bothered to obtain it. since you threw perfect blue in the comparison, I wonder if I even should :/ I'll find some more spoilers and see if it leaks things I don't like. moe doesn't bother me as long as it's done tasteful :)

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