Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis
Robotic Angel
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
OTOMO Katsuhiro
Original Concept - TEZUKA Osamu
R1 License - Sony Pictures Home Ent
Rin Taro
Metropolis concerns a society in which technology has advanced far enough for androids to be common place, yet they are treated as slaves.

"Four Stars." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

107 min Movie.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 10 9 7 8 7 Ggultra2764 [series:396#1552]
This movie based off an old manga series made by Osamu Tezuka felt like a homage to Tezuka's old work. The character designs are similar to Tezuka's artwork with their oddly proportioned body parts, though much of the buildings and artwork were rendered in some impressive looking CG animation. Here in this movie, we have an android searching for her origins and learns about humanity as she bonds with Shunsaku Ban's nephew, Kenichi. At the same time, a plutocrat named Duke Red desires to overthrow the current government ruling Metropolis and wishes to rule the world using said android (like many archetypical villians of the time). The movie balances between being both light and dark until an intense finale to the movie takes place. But with such a dark storyline, the character designs don't match up rather well to this movie's mood, even if they are designed that way for the sake of nostalgic value.

The movie also devotes a strong focus on the political tensions surrounding the use of robots. While robots provide greater convenience to humans with everyday activities, some human workers see them being responsible for costing them their jobs. The debate of whether robots should be treated as equally as humans is also brought about through Shunsaku Ban and Kenichi's treatment of robots as human equals while the thought of a robot looking human disgusts Duke Red's adopted son, Rock. Similar themes have been mentioned in earlier or later anime shows that I've seen revolving around a close future where robots and humans live in the same reality.

If you desire seeing any of Osamu Tezuka's manga works in animated form, you may get a treat out of this movie. It didn't hook me in as well as Black Jack did, but Metropolis is still a decent watch.

Last updated Sunday, September 07 2008. Created Sunday, September 07 2008.
Buy 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:396#1393]
I watched this one and I felt it was interesting and fasinating at the same time. The concept of it being an android and having this power to destroy the world wasn't new and yet the way it was displayed on the screen was. It held my attention from begining to end. I watched this one again and this time paying more attention to detail and also to each character as they started to show up and make their appearance. My viewpoint was differnt from the first time I watched it. I saw the humans considered a superior race and the robots were more or less of a race that didn't overpower the humans. this was a different concept considering the fact that the Anime I have been watching as far as Future Anime goes is so far advanced it is really amazing. The ending of this one is very climatic and worth watching.

Last updated Wednesday, July 01 2009. Created Friday, June 24 2005.
Buy 10 10 9 9 9 DillonSOB [series:396#1352]
This is a harrowing story involving the clashes between human ambition and the tech revolution (similar to 'Ghost in the Shell' in that regard). The film is tender, intelligent, moving, and intriguing almost the whole way through. The nostalgic and futuristic themes are very fitting for an Anime released at the turn of the new millennium.
The animation has a 'Roger Rabbit' feel to it, with 2D characters drawn onto a superb 3D CG environment (GITS 2 uses the same technique). The incongruity between advanced robots, towering skyscrapers, and high-tech machinery against depression-era clothing, music, and decor. Even the character forms are drawn with a Looney Tunes morphology (with Anime faces of course). The contrast between the glittering palaces of upper Metropolis and the dank, industrial belly below is excellent. The carefree yet tragic Ray Charles final ballad further accentuates the saddening, apocalyptic end of the Ziggurat and Tima.
For those who have seen "AI" or "I, Robot", you were probably a bit disappointed with their simplified representation of very important philosophical issues, such as the rights/identity of robots that become ever more human and powerful. Metropolis touches on that theme through storytelling, not awkward Hollywood dialogue. The audacity of humans to control their universe with tech/civilization in order to achieve godlike status, the hopeless, heroic loyalty of robot logic versus the bigotted hatred of humans marginalized by robots, and the cataclysmic danger of the ego are all aptly addressed. We need robots to survive, and they 'love' us for giving them life, but they realize our frailties and they must unfortunately accept our torture.
Tima is the ill-fated heroine, bred to be the artificial incarnation of perfection from human creators. As analogy, she is the hope that tech can overcome human weaknesses and problems, which her final destruction demonstrates is impossible. She is supposedly the all-powerful savior of Metropolis when she merges with the city's core, but of course the naive 'deity' is hijacked by Lord Falcon for his own petty, personal desires. And by extension, his adopted homicidal son Rock (the product of his wayward leadership and ambition) triggers Tima's violent metamorphosis and the Ziggurat's destruction. Of course the essentialist Rock believes that Falcon should rule Metropolis, as he is indignant on humanity's inability to properly wield such power. Also the doctor who created Tima worships her perfection and wishes to possess her as his own. These are but a few examples of the director's depiction of the perversion of technology for human desire. But on the positive side, the innocent benevolence of Ken-Ichi is the only saving power to evoke Tima's love and transformation at the end. Love may be the only pure, moral force that can keep humanity and technology honest.
The only complaint I have is the ending of the film leaves the audience so depressed and pessimistic for the future of our species in the existential, out-of-control digital age of progress! Well, the truth hurts sometimes, and is a rare commodity in film these days.

Last updated Sunday, September 19 2004. Created Sunday, September 19 2004.
Avoid dhrachth [series:396#962]
Let me put it this way: I never finished watching it. It was just that boring.

Last updated Thursday, September 11 2003. Created Thursday, September 11 2003.
Buy 9 10 6 10 9 psychoboy [series:396#469]
i just happened to catch this today on the encore movie channel. i had read reviews and had thought one day i'd buy it (it's nearly impossible to rent anime where i live, so i have to buy). this will probably be my next purchase.
i found the characters well developed and the relationships between them fascinating. everything came together nicely.
the backgrounds were often breathtaking and i more than once found myself not watching the characters as much as i was just taking in the sights of metroplis. the spot fades between scenes were brilliant and the music was a wonderful fit, both referencing 20's era filmaking (fritz lang).
the downside (which has been mentioned here) is the character design, think max fleisher with thick arms/legs and big noses.
do not miss this film.

Last updated Sunday, January 05 2003. Created Sunday, January 05 2003.
Rent 6 7 7 7 8 Colonel [series:396#415]
I saw this movie in a theater (which is pretty rare where I live, seeing an anime in a theater, that is) so I got the full blown sound effects. Pretty nifty. It also had the added plus of being subtitled with the original Japanese voices. I gotta say though, I can't stand the animation design. The characters have thick arms and legs like Fisher Price toys, and it just isn't very appealing. The storyline was good, but it confused the heck out of me. Near the end Tima (the robot girl thing) started doing all this weird doomsday stuff and I had no idea what was going on. And then Ray Charles started singing...
I wouldn't waste your money buying this unless you rent it first.

Last updated Sunday, October 27 2002. Created Sunday, October 27 2002.
Rent 8 7 7 7 Kaitou Juliet [series:396#137]
When I first saw this movie, I wasn't blown away by it. Maybe I had had my expectations raised too high, or maybe it suffered by comparison since I watched it back-to-back with the original silent movie, which is a masterpiece. (Tezuka's manga was inspired by a German silent movie, but the storylines are completely different.) Still, I found that this movie did stick with me in its own way. There are lots of great visual moments and things to think about. I never did quite get used to the character designs, but they certainly give this movie a different look from most anime movies. All in all, definitely worth seeking out.

Last updated Thursday, July 25 2002. Created Thursday, July 25 2002.
Buy 10 10 6 8 8 Noel [series:396#337]
metropolis is a prime example of a new breed of anime, well-funded and well-drawn enough to actualy rival western animation (disney). i love great animation and metropolis delivers! the backgrounds are amazing, so amazing that they're occasionaly more impressive than whats going on in the forground. the action itself is smooth and fast, something anime often lacks. the story was cool, a cautionary tale about technology and greed, but metropolis will be remembered for its animation.
ps. watch metropolis on as big a screen as possible (preferably at a cinema)

Last updated Saturday, July 06 2002. Created Saturday, July 06 2002.
Buy 10 10 5 7 10 Midnighter [series:396#94]
Based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy) written by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) and diected by Rintaro (Galaxy Express 999) Metropolis is one of the finest examples of anime to date.
Metropolis was absolutely beautiful. Despite what most anime fans say, most anime doesn't compare to the technical animation standards of Disney, however Metropolis actually manages to rival it.
Fantastic visuals and the best animation I have ever seen in an anime make for an awe-inspiring movie experience. Especially if you happen to catch it in theaters (thank you, Hights Theater!)
I can't say I was very fond of the character designs, as they were very cartoony and Disney-esque. This makes sense, as Tezuka was heavily influenced by Disney cartoons. Still, it's very distracting when characters who look like they should be singing inane songs and dancing around start shooting at one another, engaging in dime-store philosophy, and using political maneuvering to get their way.
The music was very well composed and orchestrated, the big band style adding to the retro feel of the film. There is a moment at the end the struck me as very Dr. Strangelove/End of Eva "Tumbling Down"
The story was engaging, it scarcely felt like 2 hours had gone by. The character development is continual and there seems to be very little filler. The emotional growth of the characters don't seem over shadowed by the action, or vice versa, there is a good balance. I enjoyed the sophistication of the plot, and the movie manages to be accessable to non anime fans as well.
Overall, Metropolis rates a buy, with superb animation, sophistication, accessibility, and overall quality.

Last updated Wednesday, April 03 2002. Created Tuesday, April 02 2002.

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