The Legend of Black Heaven
Hard Rock Saves The Space!
At first glance, this 12-episode anime from 1999 -- originally known as Kacho Oji(課長王子), either "Old Section Chief", "Prince Section Chief", or "Section Chief Oji" -- is about how Oji Tanaka, a jaded and distracted office worker who doesn't seem to get much enjoyment out of life, meets Layla Yuki, a hot new coworker. But wait, that's not all!
Layla Yuki is part of an alien army trying to defend outer space from another army. Her troops are losing badly, and even though they have an ultimate weapon, only Tanaka can operate it. In his golden days, Tanaka was better known as "Gabriel", the leader of a band called Black Heaven that was highly popular before a groupie (Tanaka's current wife, named Yoshiko, or just "Yokko") found she was pregnant with Tanaka's baby. His skills on the guitar are second to none, and for some reason, the ultimate weapon is powered by hardcore ass-kicking rock music.
Soon, Tanaka is trying to balance his rekindled love for playing the guitar despite Yokko getting angry at him for clinging to it, taking care of his family, trying to get the band back together, and fighting a war in outer space.
Oh yeah, and did I mention Layla's three subordinates who get the cast wrapped in some rather wacky hijinks?
The series was released in English by Geneon (as Pioneer).
- Autobots Rock Out
- Back From the Dead: Watanabe/Mechanabe.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Gabriel(Oji)/Michael(Sato) during episode 9's "Surprise Attack" segment
- Betty and Veronica: Yoshiko and Layla; played with later on with Layla being the Betty and the Veronica being played by Hamil.
- Color Failure: When Tanaka watches his vinyl record get crushed by a street sweeper.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Oji/Gabriel's relationship with Layla is shown as similar to an affair on multiple levels.
- Glory Days
- Foreign Language Theme: the theme song is sung by John Sykes in perfect English.
- Gratuitous English: Bizarrely averted in a hilarious moment in the flashback of what happened to Watanabe.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Beau "Jet Black" Billingslea as Oji in the English dub. And that Scary Black Man that beat the crap out of Watanabe.
- Hollywood Cyborg: Watanabe, more commonly called Mechanabe by the characters once he returns from the dead as an eight-armed keyboard-playing machine for the enemy army of aliens to try and defeat them with his own groove. Seriously.
- I Coulda Been a Contender: Oji
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Names of famous rock songs.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Mulder and Scully briefly appear to investigate a UFO sighting.
- Necktie Headband
- Penultimate Weapon: Ironically, the ultimate weapon. The enemy retaliates with their own ultimate weapon, which outclasses Layla's because they have Black Heaven's old keyboardist outfitted with at least four extra arms for super hard rocking.
- Sentai: Oji's son Gen is fanatical about a Sentai group called Flying Five (or Flying V), whose events and characters parallel Oji's life.
- The Power of Rock: This show is about the unrivaled awesome power of rock music! As it turns out, what powers the ultimate weapon is, and I quote, "groove."
- Putting the Band Back Together
- Real Song Theme Tune: again, the opening is a shortened version of John Sykes's real song, "Cautionary Warning." Can be heard here in full for the curious.
- Salaryman: Oji
- Visual Kei: Oji's band.
- Wave Motion Gun: This is the ultimate weapon, which is powered by, well...
- Yoko Oh No: Yoshiko, or "Yokko", a former groupie of Black Heaven, is quite unsupportive and hostile when Oji takes up the guitar again.