Man vs. machine vs. anime

By Sarah Wostenberg

Metropolis is a work of art. Illustrating land and class struggles in a futuristic setting, this anime film may surprise you.

Metropolis’ inhabitants live in a world divided between machines and humans who work to create harmony in a dehumanized world. The humans battle with both themselves and robots because of their societal rank and self-importance. In a city controlled by machine power, there is a small number of humans possessing an enormous amount of repressive control, which is challenged by the younger generation and upheld by the city’s elders.

Naturally, feelings of spite arise from the corruption of power, forcing some to seek violent revenge, while others become more complacent, waiting for orders. Everyone wants something to do or some way out.

The best part of the movie is its animation. It captures an expression in the characters that isn’t possible with actors. Their relationships with each other were also well done, illustrating both the depth of emotion in the humans and the cold, emotionless robots. The use of "still life" background is similar to Gotham City in Batman Returns, creating a dark, lifeless setting. Unfortunately, the robots versus humans story has been done many times in animation and fantasy movies. In addition, the characterization of Tima was stereotypical–she’s pretty without much clothing; the simple female that everyone wants to save.

Metropolis begs two interresting questions: do humans have the right to control others through technology? Can robots have a soul? While it might not offer answers, the storyline was intelligent and the animation and special effects were great-this isn’t just any cartoon.


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