Dr. Mima is a brilliant scientist living in a tiny village, offering him seclusion while he works on his greatest creation yet: a robot named Key who he adopts as his granddaughter. His promise to his granddaughter is to make her human, but his efforts are cut short when he perishes under mysterious circumstances. His dying request to Key is to make thirty thousand friends, which is the only way she’ll ever become human.
summary by Kain
Highs: Hitchcockian camera work and segue; haunting music that doesn’t age
Lows: Some speeches are unnecessarily long-winded; starts fast but then drags
Here’s an anime that had my complete and undivided attention… up until the final two episodes. Episodes 14 and 15 are roughly ninety minutes long each, and the rather useless, long diatribes (one of which went thirty minutes) explaining details that we were already made aware of several episodes prior lost its grip on me. Everything was going so well up until then, too.
Key the Metal Idol has very few meaningless characters. Not bad for a plot where the main character must make thirty thousand friends to become human. Like the dark settings, each of these characters has an equally dark past that makes us sympathize because it is made obvious that they are fighting an uphill battle to survive in a world that takes no prisoners. Because of this emotional connection the viewer has with the characters, the story is made infinitely easier to follow, despite some unconventional storytelling methods that pays its respects to Alfred Hitchcock. An undertaking easy to botch (so few have copied Hitchcock successfully) for sure, but it works here.
I’m always under the presumption that an anime that focuses on a character becoming an idol must have great music, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Some may notice the eerie similarities between an artificial idol seen here and Sharon Apple in Macross Plus. And while Sharon Apple has undoubtedly a more mesmerizing presence, Key the Metal Idol can hold its own, as well.
Key the Metal Idol is a solid anime that could have went wrong in many places because of the subject matter and manner in which the plot unfolds… but it stays steady and captivating throughout. If you like your anime bleak à la Lain/Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, you owe it to yourself to check out this one.
Key the Metal Idol can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.