Key the Metal Idol

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I’m reserving the gender post for a couple of days as my thoughts haven’t settled yet [1]. Today I’m going to take a look at the extras on the three Key the Metal Idol DVDs released by VIZ in 2000.

The first disc, Awakening [2], has a basic set of extras that forms the template for the remaining discs. First up is a 5 page transcript of an Animerica [3] interview with the director Hiroaki Sato. Mr Sato indicates that Key was directly conceived as the opposite in every way of the classic idol singer, and was initially proposed as a computer game concept. This interview predates the final two episodes and does have some interesting insights such as Key being the only person in universe who truly believes that Key is a robot.

Next is an FAQ in which Mr Sato point blank refuses to reveal the nature of “gel” used to power the PPORs, followed by some character bios. A good set of conceptual art containing 43 images, and the voice credits round out the first set of extras.

The second disc, Dreaming [4], follows the same pattern.  Part two of the Animerica interview has 6 pages, and talks about more background material such as Tomoyo’s portable computer. The character information is mostly a repeat of the previous disc with a couple of additions who will become relevant during the second block of episodes. There is a smaller set of conceptual art, as well as the voice credits.

The final disc, Singing [5], treads the same route with a couple of bonus items.  The final part of the interview is centred on Mr Sato’s career.  Interestingly there is a reference to a novel by Yasutake Tsutsui called “Papurika” which I suspect is the basis of the later Satoshi Kon movie Paprika.  There is only one addition to the Character Information, and a decent set of conceptual art.

The real prizes are the credit less opening and ending which are always good to see.  This is particularly the case for the ending which has a lot of intricate details that are usually obscured by the credits.

After the credit less songs, the three part interview with the director is probably the most important of the extras as it offers some interesting insights into the background of the series.

By some standards this is a fairly limited set of extras.  Once allowance is made for the original vintage (1994 – 1997) and release formats (VHS and LaserDiscs) of Key the Metal Idol, the extras look fairly reasonable.

Day 1 – START UP
Day 2 – CURSOR I
Day 4 – Sub vs Dub?
Day 5 – ACCESS
Day 6 – SCROLL I
Day 8 – The extra bits
Day 9 – RUN
Day 10 – GOTO
Day 11 – RETURN
Day 12 – ???
Day 13 – BUG
Day 14 – SAVE
Day 15 – VIRUS I
Day 16 – ???
Day 17 – VIRUS II
Day 18 – SYSTEM
Day 19 – EXIT
Day 20 – Looking Back at Key The Metal Idol

[1] Superficially the gender roles are not good. However I’m considering a counterargument that this is a deliberate highlighting of problems: i.e. that the viewer is supposed to see the flaws in the gender roles.

[2] Includes the episodes START UP (1) to RUN (7)

[3] Animerica was an anime/manga related magazine published by VIZ at the time the DVDs were being released. Cross marketing was alive and well in VIZ in 2000.

[4] Includes the episodes GOTO (8) to VIRUS II (13)

[5] Includes the movie length episodes SYSTEM (14) and EXIT (15)