What’s it about?
J&K: This is a Japanese 2001 animation film that is based on the 1949 manga Metropolis created by Osamu Tezuka and was one of his earliest unfinished projects. You might be familiar with one of his other works, Astro Boy. In the movie humans and robots coexist in a futuristic city called Metropolis, however robots are discriminated against and segregated to the city’s lower levels whilst many of the deprived human population blame these robots for taking their jobs as they are unemployed. Unfortunately the robots are not just discriminated against but abused and used as cheap goods…
The main character , Tima, is actually a robot that was built by a mad scientist to replace the deceased daughter (of the same name and appearance) of Duke Red, the unofficial, ruler of Metropolis. Duke Red’s adopted son, Rock, tries to hunt down Tima throughout the movie in a fit of jealous rage because he feels that she will take his place by their father’s side. She develops a friendship with a boy called Kenichi, who in turn teaches her how to speak and their relationship further grows from there. Neither one of them even realise she’s a robot…
How did you hear about it?
J: I was actually looking for a DVD of Metropolis by Fritz Lang (made in 1927) and it was rather difficult to find that one since it kept finding the DVDs for the animation movie made from Osamu Tezuka’s work instead. I noticed some of the people that worked on the movie also worked on the Astro Boy series and also from the Akira movie, so that caught my attention already. I knew some of the manga’s Osamu Tezuka drew, like his work on the Buddha series and Astro Boy. He is also revered by his colleagues as ‘the godfather of manga’, I enjoyed his work so far and all these other positive points this movie has going for it I decided to take that leap of faith and go for the purchase, especially since I still couldn’t find the movie I was originally looking for and wasn’t ready to head home from this hunt empty handed. I mean come on that money was ready to be spent after all.
K: This is another one that Joeri decided to educate me of its existence and awesomeness. I really had never heard about it until I saw it in the DVD cupboard and asked. I’m quite glad I did ask too, because I really thought this was a piece of art in itself.
How is the movie appealing?
J: The movie is visually very pleasing and you can see how they kept to Osamu Tezuka’s drawing style. The story itself has a nice depth to it and some of the corruption and modern society with its social layers is very recognisable in our modern society. It’s a beautiful movie that I personally categorise under one of the classics.
K: Another about the future and robots… they just don’t stop do they? For me it’s appealing because it wasn’t just about the robots this time. The animation is stunningly beautiful and I find myself not just pulled into the storyline, but into the vibrancy of the movie itself. I have seen movies before where they’ve been pretty or good to look at, but this one takes the cake in being stunning. There is so much plot and quite a lot of politics in Metropolis. The combination is very well done and is very much like the modern day struggles.
Would you recommend it to anyone?
J: If you’re into Japanese anime this is definitely a must see, this is basically a part of the history of manga and anime. If you’re not a very devout anime fan or even a mediocre one it’s still worth the watch to compare this to the movie it was inspired by, remember the one I talked about in the beginning of this article and totally failed to find, there’s a whole lot that they both have in common. It’s basically Osamu Tezuka showing his respect to the origins of what was science fiction movies.
K: Yes, yes, yes! Not only is the movie stunning, but the music that comes with it really blew my breath away. It’s a gorgeous film that will strike you in the heart and really make you blub your eyes out…well if you’re anything like me, I do it with almost everything I watch! If you’re into Japanese animation and want something really deep in plot and overall content then you must watch it!