The Legend of Black Heaven (Kacho Oji) AIC/A.P.P.P./WOWOW/Pioneer LDC, 1999 Pioneer Entertainment, 2000 Directed by Yasuhito Kikuchi (El-Hazard, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy). Rated 13-Up (should be 16-Up) for violence, T&A, HLA and strong language. by areaseven - http://areaseven.net/ Oji Tanaka has a wife, a child and a mundane job as a salary man in Tokyo's modern society. But life wasn't dull for him to begin with; 15 years ago, he was known as "Gabriel", leader of a short-lived heavy metal band called Black Heaven. Oji's life gets a sudden change in direction when he is invited by a mysterious blonde woman named Layla to pick up his Gibson Flying V and once again display his "legendary" guitar skills, not knowing that his music generates power for a massive weapon in an intergalactic war. Story: B+ Black Heaven starts out pretty slow, but it gets addictive with its wit and humor. It's very reminiscent of some of the cartoons shown on MTV's Liquid Television series back in the mid-1990s. Animation: D+ You know about misleading stories, but how about misleading artwork? You'll probably expect some cool animation when you look at the shiny DVD cover art, only to find out that the characters look like they were drawn on an Etch-A-Sketch. The mix of digital 2D and 3D computer animation makes Pilot Candidate look like Heat Guy J. Soundtrack: B Koichi Korenaga (Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, Love Hina) supplies a score that's mostly J-Pop, but the guitar riffs and the opening theme, "Cautionary Warning" by John Sykes (ex-guitarist for Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake), are priceless. Sub vs. Dub Black Heaven features Koji Ishii (Kimura-sensei in Azumanga Daioh) as Oji (no wonder this guy looks depressed! ), Kae Araki (Chibi Usa in Sailor Moon, Felicia in the CAPCOM fighting game series) as Yoshiko, Miho Yamada (Miki in Magic User's Club) as Layla, Rika Fukami (Myung in Macross Plus, Minako/Sailor Venus in Sailor Moon) as Hamill, Atsuko Enomoto (Steel Angel Kurumi, Misaki in Angelic Layer) as Kotoko, Miwa Yanagihara as Eriko, Ayako Kawasumi (Mahoromatic, Ruriko in Gate Keepers) as Rinko, Rikako Aikawa (Nahato in El-Hazard, Moto in Brigadoon) as Gen, Cha Furin (Mole Man in Escaflowne, Ernest in Argento Soma) as the guitar store owner, and Shoji Nakata as Formalhaut. ZRO Limit/ANIMAZE's (Cowboy Bebop, Macross Plus) english dub sounds okay, but John Billingslea (Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop, Millard in Macross Plus) as Oji seems like a miscast. DVD Extras: B The DVDs feature textless openings and endings, line art and screen shots. The Bottom Line Black Heaven is like a proverbial train wreck - it's painful to look at, but you just can't stop watching it. Strictly a rental unless you're into heavy metal or MTV.