An Anime for DJs: Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro
If there ever was an anime specifically for DJs it’s Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro. Any mixmaster or DMC scratch DJ will feel this show to its core. It’s a ridiculous and raucous ride through a typical DJ’s career and life, and it does capture a lot of the soul and clichés that may not be apparent to non-DJs. If you’re a DJ or a wannabe DJ this anime is for you. I should know as I’m a two time DMC DJ battle finalist, which is the biggest DJ battle in the world. So I know how to scratch, mix, and be creative on turntables more than most. I also produce music and beats for a few groups. One is a video game hip-hop band, The Rapscallion Rascals (pictured). The other is an anime hip-hop group called The Def Notes, and we plan to also do a video review on Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro so stay tuned.
Agetaro is a young man who works for his family’s business, which is a restaurant selling tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is delicious breaded pork with a type of Worcestershire sauce usually served with cabbage. I’ve usually had it with a pork broth soup, and it’s phenomenal if you like spicy food. Agetaro isn’t as enthusiastic about tonkatsu as me since he’s been around it his whole life. He is apathetic, bored, and lazy. All the attributes usually placed on the younger generation, however there is powerful energy waiting to be unleashed inside him when properly inspired.
It’s on a food delivery to a club that Agetaro is sent on that he discovers the DJ world. He thinks the vibrant club is heaven and asks “is this utopia?” People are having fun, stress free, chilling out, and he sees a girl he would really like to get to know. Of course she leaves with the DJ. All this influences Agetaro to become a DJ. Most DJs do it for superficial reason like getting girls, making money, and being popular. Few do it for the love of music because let’s face it, few people have music solely to make them happy. Those that do have an insane love for the art only they can understand and do on a deep level. And since there aren’t a lot of crazed artists in the world watching anime, I think it was a good choice to leave it on a surface level for the show. However, they delve into some of the deep topics with fun metaphors. In fact, Agetaro chooses to be a real skilled DJ since his first exposure to the DJ world was through a hip hop DJ. This first experience sets his foundation for growth as a DJ using vinyl to cut and scratch versus a DJ playing with MP3’s no better than a glorified iPod.
Agetaro’s first experience includes him being inspired by a great DJ, who is reminiscent of the great originator DJs of hip hop like Grand Master Flash. He is in shock and awe watching the hip hop DJ scratch records, almost as if by magic. While spacing out at work, Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro also realizes that his dad’s movement in the restaurant of chopping, mincing, and serving the customers plates of food is similar to the movement of a DJ cutting records so to speak. In fact, the cutting on the cutting board is the same BPM (beats per minute) as some of the beats on the dancefloor. So Agetaro makes a pledge to become the best tonkatsu chef and DJ he can become. To get to this lofty goal, he goes through journey most DJs have been through.
At first he has no money for turntables, but he sees a great used pair for cheap in a pawn shop. Then one of his friends takes him digging for records, where Agetaro pulls out a booty record cover in the hip hop record section. Later, in the most hilarious sound bit Agetaro learns how to “chill out,” but he takes it too far searching for the ultimate chill and gets frozen in his restaurant’s meat freezer. On his journey, he has to network with other DJs to get gigs at clubs, learn how to advertise himself though he at first is against it, and becomes the face for a DJ movement.
One thing they wait on far too long to address are rival DJs. There are a quite a few bitter DJs who lack the skill, and make up for it by underhanded methods, everything from lying, flat out stealing other DJs’ gear. These DJs only want the glory for themselves and never collaborate with others. It’s common for new DJs to have encounters with these sort of rivals in the political world of DJing, and it would’ve been fun to see more of that in the show.
Overall Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro is great for newcomers to DJing who want to understand that world and culture. It’s also great for people who DJ in general from EDM to battle DJs. It is definitely an exaggerated view of what most DJs go through from the beginning of their journey to the end. However the way that Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro blends the metaphor of cooking as DJing, is interesting and I’d give it an eight out of ten for originality, creativity, and fun. It should be noted that for a show about DJs, the soundtrack isn’t mind blowing, and the animation is average. Despite this, I feel like the anime is a solid effort to dive into the world of DJing and has a ton of high points. The Japanese voice acting is hilarious, and the clichés are funny. In addition, the show is about people helping each other out and the importance of mentoring, and support as you develop your passions. go check it out! The episodes are only nine minutes long, which should give you enough time to eat some tonkatsu while watching Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro.