Having said one or two rude things about anime in my life and with the Pokémon show as my main intimate experience with the genre, Metropolis wasn’t too high on my priority watchlist. But I’d read enough glowing reviews to know it was must-see, if only for the wow-factor visuals. I had thought it was a remake of the classic (and must-see in its own right) silent Fritz Lang film. But while it shares some DNA with Lang’s movie, director Rintaro’s Metropolis has a glut of original ideas and characters to the point that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a completely new story. As it turns out, all the two movies really share is a female robot meant to help a madman rule the titular city, but the catch is that, in the anime, the robot is unaware of her purpose and sentient enough to want to resist her maker. Rintaro and his screenwriter, Katsuhiro Otomo, surround the robot (named Tima after the madman’s dead daughter) with a colorful cast of characters, including a private detective and his young companion, Kenichi, who develops a bond with the robot. It all culminates in a climax that would be stunning for its visuals and audacity even without the insane pop song that soundtracks it, which I won’t spoil here. Even if you’re not an anime fan, give this one a try, just to see animation used at its very limits.
Quicker take: This ain’t Pokémon.