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Key The Metal Idol
Ver .10: Bug

Copyright: © 1994 Pony Canyon / Fuji TV (Japan), © 1997 Viz Video (North America)
Length: 23 minutes
Rating: NR, Extreme violence and nudity, Recommended for Mature Audiences
Format: Subtitled (VHS)

Screenplay: Sato Hiroaki Director: Sato Hiroaki Animation Director: Ishikura Keiichi Character Design: Tanaka Kunihiko Music: Terashima Tamiya English Version Producer: Yoshida Toshifumi Translation by: Karahashi Takayuki

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Key has unexpectedly drawn the attention of a most unusual and famous producer: Tsurugi Hikari. The talented but enigmatic figure is captivated by her complete lack of understanding and innocence... and perhaps sees something else. But of particular interest is his claim that he can deliver the 30,000 friends that Key seeks.

Meanwhile, Tataki has embarked on a quest. In an attempt to find answers to some very reluctant questions, he treks to Tokiko's (and Sakura's) hometown. But rather that finding answers, he finds even more mysteries. Why has Mima family grave been disturbed? What is the strange photograph that Tataki finds hidden behind a picture of Key and Sakura? What are the strange visions that have begun infiltrating his mind? And most importantly, what is Ajo doing at the now abandoned Mima household?

[ capsule review ]

How many different twists of personality can you put into a series and still be able to wrap things up neatly towards a conclusion? The development of Tsurugi Hikari's character begs an interesting question: just how dark can this series go? I had thought that Ajo's maniacal obsessions were disturbing enough; Tsurugi is something else. At first glance he was merely cold and detached. Now he's cold, detached and apparently mad -- perhaps 'possessed' is a better term. While his character will no doubt be instrumental in Key's quest for humanity, this show begs the question, "just how much dark dispair can you put into a series without losing your audience?"

I'm still not quite sure what role the snake cult and his leader is to provide. In most series, you can almost always figure out how each character and plot element will be used as the shows progress. Not so with Key the Metal Idol. Prince Snake Eyes and his followers continue to punctuate the script in various places, but to what end? This lack of predictability is one of the many facets of this series that has me highly intrigued.

These two minor quibbles aside, the director and screenwriters continue to tease us. Take note of the various players hiding in the woods as Tataki winds his way to the Mima house. The animator's favourite device seems to be brief flashes of key scenes yet to come, which serve to plant seeds of interest into our subconsious. In effect, we become our own third-person character in the show, discovering these scattered pieces of information in a manner similar to what Tataki is doing. A most unique methodology, and so far, highly effective. The problem is that each episode is only 22 minutes long. You barely have time to get completely involved in one episode, and then it ends. Or worse yet, the tape ends. If it weren't for the facts that I'm completely hooked, I'd call this one "frustrating."
- AN, 98.04.12

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/R 4 stars N/A
Direction: N/R 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/R 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/R 3 stars N/A
Music: N/R 4 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 4 stars N/A

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Page last modified 1999.10.24