Magical Girl Power Metal
Come on, you know it should be done. I mean, we’ve got ninjas, pirates, warriors riding on dragons, knights in shining armour, sirens living in the lake, all sorts of different stuff. I don’t know what it is about anime and power metal that I have never met anyone who is a fan of both. I think you have to have pretty flexible musical tastes for that; for a long time I actually denied that I liked one or the other and tried to shut it out of my life. It was only a couple of years ago that I finally gave up and decided that there wasn’t much point in classifying myself as a metalhead or anime otaku when I could just be both. After that it was surprisingly easy to start enjoying J-pop, trance, and all other sorts of insanity that no metal fan I’ve ever known would countenance.
This idea came to me in a fit of insanity after I was listening to an IRON ATTACK! cover of Eternal Blaze. You might know it as the opening to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s; it’s one of the most iconic songs of the franchise as a whole and good material for arranges spanning the gamut from orchestral to trance to metal and back. I started thinking, “why couldn’t something like Nanoha work as the basis for a power metal band?” To begin this train of logic, Nanoha is described somewhere everywhere on TV Tropes as a mecha anime that masquerades as a magical girl anime. Mecha anime, in turn, incorporates many themes that are touched upon in not just power metal but many other kinds. Themes like war and the inhumanity of humans, slaughter of innocents and the general descent of people into the darkest, most depraved corners of their hearts are pretty common in Real Robot shows. On the other end of the scale we have a lot of victories against impossible odds and tributes to humans’ ability to set aside their differences and band together when faced with a common threat. There’s as much triumph as there is agony, if you’ll excuse the very bad pun.
If we take this unique fusion of the magical girl and mecha genres that Nanoha embodies and use it as our theme, it gives our hypothetical band a wide range of source material ranging from light to dark from which they can write lyrics, concept albums, whatever they wish. There is sufficient variety that they wouldn’t have to be confined to one style, although trying to do too, too quickly may become a problem as they find they can’t please everyone. The other problem that I envision with this concept is using up all their material too fast. Take Alestorm for example, they’re a pirate themed metal band. Captain Morgan’s Revenge was an awesome album but the question is, “how are they going to top that?” How many albums can they keep making about pirates alone? Eventually they’re going to burn out or fans are going to start saying they just didn’t care. Fan dumb ensues, rocks fall, everyone dies. Therefore, in this hypothetical band I would want most albums to be composed of maybe 30-50% tracks strictly related to magical girls or something and the rest dedicated to whatever longwinded guitar/keyboard/drum odysseys the group can come up with. It doesn’t even have to be just about magical girls either, as there’s plenty of room for lyrics that subvert the usual tropes or take them to their logical conclusion. Then there’s always covers of various important/iconic songs, if nothing else.
I also think there should be a few unconventional instruments but at the moment my spark of insanity doesn’t extend to exactly what those would be. I’m thinking keyboard, but you can’t throw a keyboard into a band just for the sake of it, even into a metal band. I’d like there to be a keyboard in this hypothetical band though. There doesn’t need to be anything too exotic though, it’s not like we’re trying to produce a Blind Guardian or Rhapsody of Fire-level fantasy epic. Somehow I get the feeling that choirs might actually be detrimental to the feel, depending on the nature of the song. Well whatever, this is all well and good in theory but what are the odds of finding four people with like-minded interests who play the necessary instruments and who would be able to form such a band? Not very likely. It is, however, a beautiful dream.