Key the Metal Idol is almost exactly the sort of anime that I think of when I think of those early 90s OVAs that I considered anime to be exclusively made up of and therefore suck. I say “almost” because while there are a few guro scenes (like when the one Miho robot rips her chest open), it wasn’t loaded with that graphic violence that I generally think of. It does however have the other two requirements: robots and tits.
I did honestly get into Key the Metal Idol at first. I thought it was interesting how the show first tells us that Key is a robot, then suggests that maybe she’s actually an emotionally stunted girl who simply thinks that she’s a robot who thinks that she can become human. Similarly, I thought it was clever how Key tries to fulfill the story’s main objective, becoming human by obtaining 30,000 fans, by emulating Miho, an idol. The cleverness is that not only is Miho actually a robot, but even if she weren’t a robot, as an idol she’s still in a way a kind of shell.
My interest wore thin as the show went on because it began to violate one of the main tenets of good writing: show, don’t tell. The later episodes crawled because there would be lengthy scenes where Shuuichi and Wakagi would laboriously spell out the backstory. I watched 110 episodes of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, so I clearly have no problem watching characters discuss political science for five episodes before something new happens plot-wise, but when there’s two episodes left you should be ratcheting up the stakes rather than telling us what either a) you should’ve told us much earlier or b) should’ve been revealed to us in a way that makes the revelation of this information satisfying. Instead, we’re treated to scene after scene of characters sitting there explaining the difference between robot gel and robot geist.
Also, as I mentioned in the introduction, boobs. And, being an early 90s OVA, much of the boobage consists of either guro (the chest-ripping example) or creepy (the way that Ajo always keeps grabbing the deactivated Miho-bot’s boobs).
Would I watch it even if I weren’t forced? Embarrassingly, I did want to watch this show at one point, but the reason was that I had confused it with Legend of the Black Heaven. You see, I had assumed that Key was a “metal” idol in the same way that Detroit is a “metal” city.