The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the anime series The Legend of Black Heaven:
With only one of the seasonal shows being watched, I’ve had plenty of space to give my attention to other anime. There’s no better feeling for me than to find something random and investing some time into it, so I scoured my phone for screen shots of things I’ve saved and found a show called The Legend Of Black Heaven. As always I don’t read the synopsis as discovery in these situations is paramount. It has been hard enough finding the time and motivation to watch something new without the possibility of me ruining it for myself by trying to choose what I’m after.
One episode in and I’m completely drawn by the premise of this show. Oji Tanaka is a middle aged guy, bored with living his “normal” 9 to 5 office existence, supporting a wife and child, who daydreams constantly about the band he was in when he was younger and all the possibilities that lay ahead for him. This sounds like your typical mid-life crisis and being a middle aged myself I can tell you that I relate massively to this situation.
I have no idea why humans (or possibly men) crave discipline and responsibility. That sense of meaning that helps you get up every day is definitely important and fundamental if you want to at least be happy in your own skin. These things can be achieved by following our dreams, yet we seldom do it, instead opting for a very un-fulfilling and un-stimulating existence. Is it age? Do we feel that we can’t compete in specific arenas the older we get or is it something else? Is it societal? The need to fulfil parental obligations? From experience I know that a lack of support is definitely a factor. I needed somebody there to let me know that what I was doing was the right thing, which relates to discipline again. It’s all a lot to think about and I wasn’t expecting to be sat analysing my life and neither would I, had I read the synopsis. Who needs that kind of headache?
It’s sad watching the main character go through the motions of the mundane. His wife isn’t very supportive or aware of his feelings or of the stale existence that they’ve found themselves in. As well as letting the child play with his treasured signed vinyls, she throws his guitar out in the rubbish! This act alone shows her deep lack of understanding and their massive lack of communication. He fishes it out and hides it only to come home the next day and she has found it, thrown it away again and used the case as a place to store the kids toys! Is it not obvious that if it’s back in the house then it must be important to him? The total disregard for something that means a lot to her partner is very alarming and makes you wonder about her motivations. You don’t use a guitar case to keep kids toys in; it’s not exactly practical, however it does fit in with her lack of understanding due to their communication issues.
One day, whilst Oji is sat daydreaming, he is visited by a blonde woman who tells him that his unique song is needed to power a secret weapon in a massive battle in space. Obviously this sounds absurd but in the realms of anime it’s completely normal. In some ways it’s actually something that maybe the writer has thought about in their life. This scenario would be the ultimate test of whether your dreams would be meaningful. To be able to justify it to yourself. To prove that you do have a purpose and that your time alive was never a waste. Whatever it may be, Oji takes up the request and rocks out to help power this weapon and destroy the bad guys.
Having come back down to earth (pun intended), he isn’t sure if he was dreaming but he knew that it made him feel alive again. Before he knows it, he’s back there frequently helping to save these people in their war and enjoying every minute of it. He’s very much aware of his situation and feels guilty about enjoying himself, making him immediately more attentive to his wife, which is nice. It’s clear that he isn’t bored of his wife and child, more so apathetic at where his sense of purpose has gone due to him having no outlet for his creative needs.
We do go through some ups and downs, as expected. He thinks that it’s him that they need so tries a different song only to find that they just want that ONE song, mimicking his past experience. He is crushed by this but it makes him realise that at least he’s done something of merit and that’s all he’s ever wanted in the first place. To have one thing acknowledged is the same as having all of your things acknowledged. He even gets the old band together for more power thus re kindling old friendships and finding “himself” again.
The animation was generic, run of the mill and nothing to write home about. It was made in 1999 so very reminiscent of the style back then with the art style being the same. I watched half in sub, half in dub depending on my situation and enjoyed both. I felt that there was a good job done all round.
I give this show a 7/10 as it was a decent, straightforward story with a comical yet very relatable subject matter.
I never thought I would get this kind of experience but that’s the beauty of the medium, being exposed to thought processes that you wouldn’t usually go near, like your own little therapy session at times. Certainly that was the case for me this time around. It has left me thinking more positively about “lost” opportunities but there is one question that I’ve been left pondering and will be for some time: you can achieve discipline and responsibility thus creating meaning in everything you set your heart to, so why do we give up on what we want the most? DT