Documenting the historical rise of Japan’s most successful metal band, X Japan, the film pays particular focus on drummer, pianist, composer and co-founder Yoshiki. A man of extraordinary musical talents yet convinced he is somewhat followed by a dark curse, alongside childhood best friend and singer Toshi as they discuss the history of the band and past members.
As an outsider, with little knowledge, the film does an okay job in painting a picture on what a cultural phenomenon the band have, not only in Japan, but worldwide. Celebrity endorsements from Gene Simmons and Stan Lee are implemented to exemplify their stature, Gene Simmons making the claim they’d be the biggest band in the world if their first language was English. Although, going by the lyrics, which make Nickelback’s seem less like a cringe fest, it’s a little hard to fathom. Nevertheless, footage of the bands live performances are spectacular showcases and support the narrative. However it is with the narrative the problem of the documentary lies. The story and history of the band are too big for the hour and a half it has giving itself, thus you have a somewhat incoherent piece that stumbles along, hopping from one significant event to another rather than ever sinking its teeth in, especially with various significant events that are tragic and sometimes fascinating. It lacks a clear focus, with a somewhat generalised view point, that doesn’t allow to jump the scale from interesting to fascinating, which is a shame, because a documentary about this band deserves that X-Factor.