Key the Metal Idol
Review by William Michael Hebert:
Key: The Metal Idol is available as subbed or dubbed (I am revewing subbed) and, as described by many people, is a twist on the old Pinnochio story. Tokiko (Key) Mima, built by her loving "grandfather" Muaro, looks human and sounds human but just doesn't have the ability to express emotions. When Muaro dies (under questionable circumstances), however, it seems that she'll never reach that goal. Muaro's taped will, however, gives her one small hope: she can become human with the power of 30,000 people. This sets a quest into motion that will involve many friends and powerful enemies who will all have a profound impact on Key's life as her "power" begins to emerge. There's the mysterious Tomoyo, Muaro's assistant, who monitors Key's progress from his ever-present laptop. There's Sakura, a dear friend to Key who will do anything to help but doesn't really believe she's an android. On the other side, the obsessed CEO of Ajo Heavy Industries and his right-hand man "D" market a military android based on Muaro's otherwise benign designs. At the same time, Ajo puts on concerts run by human-controlled androids, such as the Ajo-owned immensely popular idol singer Miho Utsuse, that seem so real the audience doesn't know the truth. Little do they know that Miho's compelling performances spark an idea in Key...
I find the series compelling. The plot is handled very well though it does become hard to follow at times. At times there are multiple storylines proceeding independantly from each other until Key comes along and with the awakening power within her briefly brings many things into focus... or completely confuses them. (laughs) The "idol" aspect of the series is a nice touch in that it brings a handful of nicely-produced songs to the table, it gives a look inside some of Japanese business practices, and Key's pursuit of becoming one really pulls on your emotional strings at times.
Parent's Guide Rating:
red (recommended for mature audiences)
I recommend the series but I do *not* recommend Key for general audiences. Although the series has its benign moments, it contains several nudity scenes (ranging from Sakura's innocent showers to Ajo's dark and almost sexual obsession with his androids) and graphic violence (usually the fault of Ajo and his minions as they test their androids). An example that stands out is a more-violent-than-average skirmish in Episode 9: "D" shoots multiple followers in a temple, then he and Tomoyo have a vicious hand-to-hand melee. And, no offense intended, the plot is so twisted that young children may not be able to follow it. (I know I'm left by the wayside many times!)
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