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Key The Metal Idol
Ver .1: Startup

Copyright: © 1994 Pony Canyon / Fuji TV (Japan), Viz Video (North America)
Length: 23 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Subtitled / Dubbed (VHS), Original Japanese (LD/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

For many years, Key had been attending a regular school, just like the other teenagers in the community. But Key is different -- she's an android, learning to become human. Key only ages when her creator, renowned cybernetics expert Mima Murao gives her new parts. But Key discovers that she must grow up on her own after the doctor passes away unexpectedly. But Dr. Mima leaves Key with a cyptic message: Key can become truly human, but only with the aid of a tremendous power -- the power of 30,000 friends!

In her quest, Key sets off for Tokyo, when she is accosted by a pair of low-lifes looking for some cheap entertainment. Fortunately for Key, things are interrupted by a strange robot who dispatches her would-be attackers. But Key finds herself in even deeper trouble, when she's accosted by a small-time idol scout, who just won't take 'no' for an answer. Key is rescued by a former school friend, Kuriyagawa Sakura, but only for a while -- now the talent scout wants to scout Sakura...

[ capsule review ]

Wow. From the very opening credits, you know that this is a very different production. I was led to believe that this series was a parallel to Walt Disney's Pinnochio; nothing could be further from the truth. While there may be several passing similarities, such as the low-lifes who want to take advantage of Key in the entertainment industry, and the naiveté that she shows to real world situations, but that's where the similarities end. Key the Metal Idol is a much darker, introspective look at our own society, and what motivates us. A well-written script presents itself in the first episode, with Sato Hiroaki doing a very credible job of putting the elements together for the screen. The opening animation could well be project for a film production class; the use of the city/machine metaphor has not been as well realised since Nakamura Takashi's entry in Robot Carnival, plus there are some really neat morph effects to boot.

Iwao Junko does a fine job as the somewhat naive but determined Mima Tokiko (Key), and she's skillfuly able to convey emotions without a great deal of vocal cues. This is trickier than you might think, since the animators don't help her in this regard -- Key is drawn suitably detached and relatively unemotional. Where the animators do lend a hand are with the supporting cast and some innovative use of flashbacks and some well-cropped shots. Several of the males are drawn with your typical "Charles Atlas" style bodies -- I do get tired of the stereotyping that so often happens in anime. Translations are very loose, with several lines being missed entirely. But overall, it's a fine production. Some suitably somber opening and closing songs with fine vocals help round out the story. - AN

[ 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 3 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/R 4 stars N/A

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