Metropolis (2001 film)

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Metropolisanime poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rintaro
Produced by
Screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo
Based on Metropolis 
by Osamu Tezuka
Music by Toshiyuki Honda
Cinematography Hitoshi Yamaguchi
Distributed by Toho
Release dates
  • May 26, 2001 (2001-05-26)
Running time
113 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget $15 million
Box office $4,035,192 (North America)[1]

Metropolis (メトロポリス Metoroporisu?) is a 2001 anime film loosely based on the 1949 Metropolis manga created by Osamu Tezuka, itself inspired by the 1927 German silent film of the same name, though the two do not share plot elements. The anime, however, does draw aspects of its storyline directly from the 1927 film. The anime had an all-star production team, including renowned anime director Rintaro, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo as script writer, and animation by Madhouse with conceptual support from Tezuka Productions.


In the futuristic city of Metropolis humans and robots coexist. Robots are discriminated against and segregated to the city's lower levels. A lot of Metropolis' human population are unemployed and deprived, and many people blame the robots for taking their jobs.

Duke Red, the unofficial ruler of Metropolis, has overseen the construction of a massive skyscraper called the Ziggurat, which he claims will allow mankind to extend its power across the planet. A wayward robot disrupts the Ziggurat's opening ceremony, only to be shot down by Rock, Duke Red's adopted son and the head of the Marduk Party, a vigilante group whose aim is to calm anti-robot sentiments. Private detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi travel to Metropolis to arrest Dr. Laughton, a mad scientist wanted for organ trafficking. Unbeknownst to Shunsaku, Duke Red has hired Laughton to build an advanced robot modeled and named after Red's deceased daughter Tima. Red intends for Tima to function as a central control unit for a powerful secret weapon hidden in the Ziggurat. However, Rock learns of Tima's existence and, not wanting a robot to overshadow Red, shoots Laughton and sets fire to his laboratory.

Shunsaku comes across the burning lab and discovers the dying Laughton, who gives him his notebook. Meanwhile, Kenichi finds the activated Tima. The two fall into the sewers and are separated from Shunsaku. While Shunsaku searches for his nephew, Kenichi and Tima search for a way back the street level. They grow close as Kenichi teaches Tima how to speak. Neither are aware she is a robot. The two are hunted relentlessly by Rock and his subordinates, and encounter a group of unemployed human laborers who stage a revolution against Red.

The president and the mayor of Metropolis try to use the revolution to overthrow Red and gain control of Metropolis, but they are assassinated by the president's top military commander General Kusai Skunk, who has sided with Red. The duke imposes martial law to suppress the revolution. In the aftermath of the failed revolt, Kenichi reunites with Shunsaku, only to be wounded by Rock, who reveals Tima to be a robot. Rock however is disowned by Red and stripped of his command of the Marduks for attempting to kill Tima. Duke Red takes Tima away to the Ziggurat.

Still determined to dispose of Tima and regain his father's affections, Rock kidnaps and deactivates Tima, who is now confused about her identity. Shunsaku rescues her, and after following instructions from Laughton's notebook, reactivates Tima. The two discover Kenichi is being held in the Ziggurat and are captured by Duke Red and the Marduks on their way to save him. Brought to the pinnacle of the Ziggurat, Tima confronts Duke Red about whether she is a human or robot. Duke Red tells her she is a "superhuman" and destined to rule the world from her throne. Disguised as a maid, Rock shoots Tima, exposing her circuitry.

The sudden shock of realizing she is a robot causes Tima to go insane. Sitting on the throne, she orders a biological and nuclear attack on humanity in revenge. While the others flee, Kenichi tries to reason with Tima. Robots drawn by Tima's command attack Duke Red. Not wanting his father to die at the hands of 'filthy robots', Rock kills himself and Duke Red in a massive explosion. As the fortress starts to collapse around them Kenichi reaches Tima and separates her from the throne. Seemingly lost, Tima tries to kill Kenichi. In the struggle Tima falls off the tower. Out of love Kenichi tries to save her and pull her up using one of the cables still grafted to her. As the cable begins to fray Tima remembers the time Kenichi taught her language and asks Kenichi, "Who am I?" before she slips and falls to her death. The Ziggurat collapses, destroying a large part of Metropolis.

The next morning Kenichi searches the ruins and discovers a group of robots have salvaged some of Tima's parts in an effort to rebuild her. While Shunsaku and many other human survivors are evacuated, Kenichi chooses to remain behind and rebuild the city. Kenichi wants to create a place where humans and robots can coexist peacefully. In the post credits can be seen a photo of fully repaired Tima with Kenichi who has started a workshop to repair and fix robots named "Kenichi & Tima Robot Company".

Differences between manga and anime[edit]

In Tezuka's original manga, the story revolves around a humanoid named Mitchi, who has the ability to fly and change gender. Mitchi is pursued by Duke Red and his "Red Party" who intend to use Mitchi for destructive purposes. However, Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi find Mitchi after her creator, Dr. Charles Laughton, is killed and protect her as they search for her parents. Unlike Tima's desire to be human, the cause for Mitchi's destructive rampage in the manga's climax is the revelation that, as a robot, she does not have parents.

However, this cinematic adaptation of Tezuka's story integrates far more elements from the Fritz Lang film Metropolis.[2] When making the original Metropolis manga, Tezuka said that the only real inspiration he got from Fritz Lang's Metropolis was a still image from the movie where a female robot was being born.[3] In addition to adopting set designs of the original film, this version has more emphasis on a strong and pervasive theme of class struggle in a dystopian, plutocratic society and expands it to examine the relationship of robots with their human masters. (This relationship was explored by Tezuka in great detail with his popular series Astro Boy.) The anime adaptation also removes many of the more fanciful elements out of Tezuka's manga, such as a flying, gender swapping humanoid. Here, Mitchi is replaced by "Tima", who is permanently female and cannot fly. In this version Kenichi is an assistant to his uncle, and he forms a very strong friendship with Tima even though neither know she's a robot. Also Tima and Kenichi seem to care for each other deeply, as seen when Tima is worried about Kenichi when he's unconscious. Kenichi even goes so far as to remove Tima from the throne in an effort to save her and not allow her to become a weapon of evil. Tima was taught language by Kenichi and that she was someone unique. She also considered him her only family because he was kind to her and protected her; it seems that she loved Kenichi very much. It can be assumed that Kenichi fell in love with Tima, shown in many scenes when he blushes when he see's her writing his name so she wouldn't forget him. Kenichi didn't seem to care if Tima was robot or not, showing that he was willing to rescue her because of much he cared for Tima. Tima only remembered Kenichi when he tried to save her because of everything he thought her. This thus concludes Tima and Kenichi's relationship.

Also Duke Red is shown to be a cruel and evil man both as a leader and father; shown many times that he doesn't care about Rock or considers him his son even though he adopted him. He only sees Tima as weapon to destroy humanity and even considers them inferior to him and anyone who is loyal to him. While his real daughter died and was also named Tima; he only rebuilt her humanoid self just to use her, and has no regard or affection for what she needs and ignores her questions about her being human or not. Thus showing that he doesn't care if Tima feels emotions or not.





Metropolis – Original Soundtrack
Metropolis Soundtrack Cover.png
Soundtrack album by Toshiyuki Honda
Released 2002
Genre Jazz, Dixieland, Orchestral

The Metropolis soundtrack consists mainly of New Orleans-style jazz music and orchestral score composed by Toshiyuki Honda and features Atsuki Kimura's cover of "St. James Infirmary Blues" and the ending theme "There'll Never Be Good-Bye" by Minako "Mooki" Obata. The soundtrack album is available on King Records.

During the film's climactic scene, the song "I Can't Stop Loving You" performed by Ray Charles was used as most of the audio when the Ziggurat was destroyed, with sound effects only audible later on in the scene. The song is not included on the soundtrack album.


The film was first released in Japan on April 26, 2001. When it was released in the USA and other foreign countries it made a total of $4,035,192. In the United States, the film was given a PG-13 rating by the MPAA for "violence and images of destruction" and TV-14-LV rating when it aired on Adult Swim. It was also one of the first anime films to be submitted for consideration for Best Animated Film at the Academy Awards.

Home video[edit]

Metropolis was first released on VHS, and is now available in North America as a two disc DVD, with the second disc being a MiniDVD (called a "Pocket DVD").


Metropolis received highly positive reviews, based on 60 reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, Metropolis received an overall 86% Certified Fresh approval rating. The site's critical consensus states that "Even though the storyline is nothing new, Metropolis is an eye-popping visual treat."[5][6][7] A quote from James Cameron was used on the DVD cover.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Metropolis (2002) (2002)". Box Office Mojo. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  2. ^ A. O. SCOTTPublished: January 25, 2002 (2002-01-25). "FILM REVIEW; Dark Doings Proliferate In a World of Vivid Colors - New York Times". Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  3. ^ Explanation section on the Metropolis manga section of TezukaOsamu@World Accessed on 2007-06-05.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bolam, Sarah Miles (2011). Fictional Presidential Films: A Comprehensive Filmography of Portrayals from 1930 to 2011. Xlibris Corporation. p. 249. ISBN 9781462893195. 
  5. ^ "Metropolis (Metoroporisu)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  6. ^ "Metropolis : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  7. ^ A. O. Scott (2002-01-25). "Movie Review - Metropolis - FILM REVIEW; Dark Doings Proliferate In a World of Vivid Colors -". Retrieved 2012-09-01. 


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