Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis (Metoroporisu) (2001) – Steelbook Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD]

I saw Osamu Tezuka’s “Metropolis” back in 2002, and I vividly remember not being a fan at all. Maybe it was because I was more ignorant toward anime, then, but either way disliked it and openly avoided it for years. It was until recently I had to sit down to re-watch it. I don’t know what I was expecting then, but today I can safely describe it as merely an okay anime film.

A future society, where humans and robots co-exist; Amidst the chaos created by anti-robot factions, detective Shunsaku Ban and his sidekick Ken-ichi are searching for rebel scientist Dr. Laughton, to arrest him and seize his latest creation, a beautiful young girl named Tima. When they locate them, Shunsaku soon realizes that the eccentric scientist is protected by a powerful man and his fierce desire to reclaim a tragic figure from his past and therefore is beyond their reach.

Director Rintaro’s dystopian science fiction thriller is still not what I’d refer to as a hidden gem of the sorts, but it is a fully realized world with some great visuals and vibrant animation. Osamu and Rintaro help to build on their world with what seems like a complex and aged city choked with skylines and bridges. As for the narrative, a lot of it is so convoluted and somewhat sloppily written, which sadly undermines the film’s potential and immense scope. It also suffers from failing to create a compelling protagonist at any point (save for Pero, who is sadly taken out of the narrative way too quickly and abruptly).

That said, “Metropolis” is worth experimenting with, even if there is so much better anime out there on the market. It could also work as a worthwhile companion piece to Fritz Lang’s original (infinitely superior) “Metropolis.”

The Steelbook from Mill Creek Entertainment is gorgeously realized and a great keepsake. The features (included on the DVD only) are ported from Columbia/Tri-Star’s 2002 release, which included everything on a separate “mini disc.”.There’s the Animax Special: The Making of Metropolis, discussing how $15 million dollars and five years later, Rintaro and Otomo are interviewed about why they chose to bring Osama Tezuka’s work to screen. Voice actors Yuka Imato and Kei Kobayashi are interviewed. Artists who worked on the film are interviewed as well.

This is a pretty extensive piece that we would not get to see if the DVD had not been included. There are Filmmaker Interviews with Rintaro and Otomo. Rintaro discusses the techniques used, how Tezuka would not have allowed the film to be made if he had lived, and how he tried to being the digital into the analog. Otomo discusses how he decided to write the script and the elements of the animation that interested him. Finally, there are the Animation Comparisons, where you can use the chapter markers to compare the various layers in the animations. This includes the Wheel Room, City View, and a plethora of Concept Art.