I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to anybody that’s seen Detroit Metal City that it’s one of my favorite anime series. Hell, it’s one of the few that I show to non-anime fans, and it has universal approval from every single one of them that have seen it. It’s not just the comedy that’s spot on though, even if it’s easily the series’ strongest point. Even factoring in what I’m about to mention, nothing beats the rape of Tokyo Tower.
Among the frequent and hard-hitting comedy, there’s also a very subtle yet pervasive message about facades, masks, and doing what’s expected of your profession or group. As Negishi is Krauser, he’s expected to be in role at all times, even though he despises his alter-ego. He often states that he doesn’t want to be Krauser, that he wants to strike out on his own path doing what he loves, which is singing nauseatingly cheesy pop songs about cheese tarts. And yet, because of expectations and growing notoriety, he’s stuck assuming the same crude and clownishly dark persona time and time again; if he ever gave up the mask and resumed his ordinary life, he would be letting dozens, if not hundreds of people down. The show records his descent from reluctant poster-child of Japanese underground metal to somebody resigned to keep his mantle, and it’s fucking hilarious all the way down.
Detroit Metal City has a powerful message about how people aren’t always how they seem, especially musicians. Yet, there are actually people that live and breathe their personas, to the point that it defines everything about them. Especially in heavy metal, the personas tend to be so eccentric that imagining them functioning in the real world is almost impossible; after all, it would be disquieting if the more shock-oriented artists lived their messages of disemboweling and setting every person that they see on fire. But somehow people do live up to whatever zany ideals they spout on stage, or at least attempt to, and they end up more ridiculous and campy than Detroit Metal City itself could ever be for it.
I’ve been asking a question related to that for a very long time, ever since I first saw DMC over a year ago: What would happen if there was a real Krauser? Not just on stage, but what if somebody completely believed and tried to live up to the precedent that they set while performing, while being so over the top and lacking any kind of subtlety? Would the person at least not have racist ideals or conspiracy theories? Not too long ago, the closest answer came to me in a form that I couldn’t have anticipated: A self proclaimed national socialist heathen (but not Nazi because they weren’t Slavic) with an inexplicable obsession with the 1980 Conan the Barbarian film and a spotty grasp on English.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the one and only Rob Darken, full-time nutjob and mastermind behind the Polish band Graveland, which similarly preaches racial purity with a spotty grasp on English, and apparently draws a good portion of inspiration from Conan the Barbarian. And it’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds.
Rob Darken is many things in life, when he’s not posing awkwardly in full medieval armor behind girls in a wooden tub, his unhealthy levels of lunacy on full display. He’s a believer in the Zionist conspiracy, he loathes everybody that’s not a straight Slavic heathen, and he scampers around forests in full battle armor, scowling at everything that dares to be different from him.
I’d make fun of him by comparing him to Negishi, saying that he probably just wants to be a Swedish pop star, but every promotional image just has this air of seriousness that would make their dorky nature absolutely adorable if not for the uncomfortable ideals they were trying to promote. Darken is basically Krauser 24/7, except he tries to hype up every nerdy hobby of his as the last bastion of Polish nationalism, without any kind of skill or charisma. I’d go so far as to say that he’s what Tommy Wiseau would be like if he decided to become a racist metal musician.
Seriously, he really likes to cosplay, as can be seen from the extensive photo gallery on his site, but you can tell that he doesn’t just do it for fun; he really sees himself as a warrior out to defend Poland’s roots, clad in studded leather armor and brandishing a sword with the most solemn expression imaginable. He wouldn’t be out of place at a Renaissance Faire, except he’d probably snarl and bark at everybody for daring not to walk in looking like a geeky William Wallace.
What really pulls the whole act together is that most of what he does is some kind of demented tribute to the 1980 Conan the Barbarian film. His music, his photo shoots, his demeanor… everything, in his own warped mind, has to do with paying tribute to one of the vehicles that launched Schwarzenegger to stardom, all the while preaching about the evils of capitalism.
Some of his best quotes related to the Zionist conspiracy, slightly dubious English unedited:
“Our ancestors had their own native beliefs and faith that now is called “pagan” or “heathen”. It is our heritage bound in our blood. And now, after over 2000 years of Christianity, our instincts are still strong and are coming back shining with Light of Truth and Sun vital energy.”
“Let me remind a case of Roman Polanski. In Poland mass media strongly supported him. Acting circles signed a petition demanding dropping the charges against him. I do not know if these people really do not understand that such precedents influence later cases. It is a green light for different kind of sexual deviations. Polanski’s sexual partner was only 13 years old. If we accept Polanski’s behavior at the same time we say that sex at the age of 13 is normal. Automatically we lower the age of sexual initiation. Supporters of sexual deviations will push to lower this time even more!!!! And soon sexual intercourse with 10 years old children will not be a taboo anymore!!!”
“Politicians from governing at the moment in Poland liberal party Platforma Obywatelska want, by all means, to open the door for Islam in Poland in the name of ideology of free-masonry and their ideas of multi-cultural and multi-religious Europe!!!! It is sick and unnecessary. It will lead to destruction of our countries. Multi-cultural and multi-racial Europe is a utopia! Non-Whites spread Islam and social unrest.”
And, best of all, mainly because it lacks any kind of context whatsoever:
“At the beginning and at the end of “Knowing” movie with Nicolas Cage you can hear music played during Bohemian Grove ritual filmed from concealment by Alex Jones.”
White supremacists on the internet or in music aren’t uncommon, but it takes a special mind like Darken to sound absolutely balls to the wall insane, instead of just hateful, while explaining his ideologies. In conclusion, the real life version of Johannes Krauser II is a veritable mix of conspiracy theories, a fascination with cosplay, and enough insanity to choke a whale, all wrapped in a package goofier than the sum of his parts. He’s what happens when somebody is “on” all the time, and they don’t even know it.
I’ve shared my discovery, and if any of my readers know any other Krauser-esque individuals, hopefully a non-racist one to at least level the playing field a bit, I’d be happy to learn of their existence. Also, if you enjoyed this post or any of my other ones, vote for Shinde Iie in Round 8 of the Aniblog Tourney on Friday and Saturday.