Dir: Rintaro
Star (voice): Yuka Imoto, Kei Kobayashi, Kouki Okada, Junpei Takiguchi

Some anime feature films have a tendency to let the images get in the way of everything else - see Akira, Ghost in the Shell or X for details. And when you combine the writer of the first-named, and the director of the last-named, you know to brace yourself for stunning visuals...but not much else. Such is the case here; the setting is an incredible retro-futurist city of dirigibles and robots, skyscrapers and chasms, all portrayed in hyper-realistic detail. Unfortunately, the characters may be true to Osama Tezuka's post-war manga, yet look horrible against the uber-technoid backdrop; it's as if you popped Scarlett O'Hara down into Blade Runner.

It doesn't help matters that in the first half, they do little save meander round the city, as if on a walking tour. [Look! We're now in the power station!] It seems the makers were unwilling to interrupt your gawking for anything so mundane as a plot, but it's like staring at the Mona Lisa for an hour straight - you get over it, fast. The second half improves, mixing a military takeover, a robotic revolt and an anti-robot uprising, with the most stunning collapse of a skyscraper I've seen, September 11th. And even that didn't have a Ray Charles soundtrack. But the end product is still largely lifeless; that James Cameron praised Metropolis is really no surprise, since it shares much the same triumph of technology over humanity as his past couple of films.


The first building ever to get above-the-title billing
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