Films & Schedules

  • Detroit Metal City

  • Toshio Lee

103 minutes

Production Company:
Toho Co., Ltd.
Executive Producer:
Genki Kawamura
Yuka Higuchi
Mika Omori, based on the manga series by Kiminori Wakasugi
Production Designer:
Norifumi Nakayama
Koichi Nakayama
Takuya Taguchi
Hiromichi Kori
Takayuki Hattori
Principal Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rosa Kato, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Gene Simmons

International Sales Agent:
Toho Co., Ltd.

Friday September 0511:59PM RYERSON Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 0612:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1108:00PM VARSITY 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1108:00PM VARSITY 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Souichi is a timid, sensitive and innately polite music geek who moves from the Japanese countryside to Tokyo with big dreams: he aspires to sing sugary love ballads and become a chart-topping sensation.

But life does not turn out the way Souichi had hoped, and the only gig he can get is that of front man for the notorious band Detroit Metal City (DMC). Wearing a cape, tights and ghostly demon makeup, Souichi storms the stage each night as Johannes Klauser II, smashing guitars and spewing verbal filth in songs about murder and rape. The band's crazy getups and destructive performances have earned them a legion of devoted, maniacal fans, who believe that Klauser is a drug-gobbling demon from hell.

To make matters worse, this reluctant rocker runs into his college crush, the demure and adorable Ms. Aikawa, who is now a magazine pop critic. Soon he is struggling to keep his wild metal stardom a secret. After defeating rival bands and winning recognition as one of Japan's top acts, DMC is challenged to a duel by death-metal icon Jack IL Dark (played to perfection by Gene Simmons of KISS). Souichi finds himself locked in a battle of satanic guitar riffs for the title of ultimate death-metal king, all while keeping Ms. Aikawa sweetly ignorant of his alter ego.

Detroit Metal City is based on Kiminori Wakasugi's hugely popular Japanese manga series of the same name. When the first collected works were published, the books quickly sold out and anyone left without a copy was labelled a “DMC refugee.”

The film is pure madcap mayhem, and not so much a parody of metal bands as a comedy of manners based on Souichi's wild exploits as he tries to balance his two identities. In between Souichi's misadventures are piss-takes on fashionable J-pop trend followers, as well as send-ups of J-hip-hop and even J-riot grrrls.

Colin Geddes

Toshio Lee was born in Osaka and studied literature at Nihon University in Tokyo. He worked extensively in television before making his directing debut with the feature Backdrop of My Papa (04). Detroit Metal City (08) is his second feature film.

Cadillac People's Choice Award