Metropolis (Mania.com)

By:Paulo Vinícius Wolski Radtke
Review Date: Saturday, May 04, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002



The Review!
Columbia TriStar Pictures first step on the anime domain. A major step like this has been seen lately only when Warner acquired the rights for the Pokémon movies (gasp!), which where not that exciting as news for old-time anime fans. But this time we got great news: Columbia did it right. And I hope that this is only the beginning.

One thing that should be mentioned, specially for R4 buyers, is that this disc is one of those worldwide releases from Columbia, it is meant to be released in all countries that support 60Hz video, which are the whole Americas (North, Central and South) and Asia (R3), as the disc have subtitles on English, French, Spanish, Portuguese (a potential release on the Brazilian market?), Korean and Chinese. Even the menus are properly translated for each of these languages. As I am from Brazil, my setup is for R4 discs and with a little surprise all the menus where in Portuguese, which was really nice. Translation for the subtitles was also good, and the Portuguese is definitely targeted for the Brazilian market (there are some differences between the Portuguese spoke on Brazil from the one spoke on Portugal, just like English on US and UK).

I have high hopes on this release and the next one from Columbia, not only because they made it right with this one, but because they made it with the anime fans on mind, they never meant to cut the Japanese audio, the theatrical run was using the japanese audio (unlike Jin-Roh, which was released by a traditional anime company and was dubbed), the extras are really nice (and not only a text interview previously published on Animerica) and most important: they are targeting the releases worldwide, unlike Disney which was supposed to do this with the Ghibli Movies. You got to admit, they're serious in this business.

Audio

This release contains not only the Japanese DD5.1 track, but as well the DTS5.1 track. I have seen it on the theaters on DTS, and the sound is just awesome. The disc also includes an English DD5.1 track and French, which I suppose is DD2.0, as I did not bother to check, perhaps later to improve my French skills.

Video

What we got in here is a winner. Great image presentation, enhanced by anamorphic video, looking just right. Of course it is not the same thing as watching it on the big screen (if anime goes to the theaters often, will we become this picky?), but it is got one of the best video transfers that I have seen lately.

Menus

Menus are plain and simple, nothing to brag about. Good thing is that they are translated for every language featured on the disc, not only on the main disc, but as well on the extras disc.


Extras

For the first disc, there are only some trailers for other Columbia releases, one of them that will make many fans happy: Cowboy Bebop - Knocking on Heavens Door. Release dates someone? I expect a theatrical run for this one also.

The REAL extras are on a second disc, but instead of a standard DVD disc, they made it a "Pocket DVD", actually a DVD sized just as a Japanese single CD (Manga gave away on the first press of Blood a single DVD with a video clip, so if you have seen this, you know exactly how it will looks). Besides the small size, do not underestimate this small beast, it is actually a dual layered DVD (!!), which makes me wonder why they had all the trouble to make it this way, but no matter, this disc is ultra-cool, which seem their intention from the start.

The making-off itself is enough to pay for the extras, where you learn some differences between the original manga, like that Rock (named after the musical style liked by script-writer Katsuhiro Otomo) doesn't exist on Tezuka's story, and actually play a really important role on this movie, or how Taro Rin hopes that Tezuka won't come back from grave to haunt him from making a digital movie about his work and other stuff. And there are still the biographies and the conceptual sketches, so you're going to have a great time with this petite disc.

Packaging

A folding package, which will make you remember the Jin-Roh special edition release or the Tenchi Muyo Perfect Edition, lacking the plastic case, that's all. While I don't hate these, I can't say that I love them. Anyway, nice to see that they do something different than the standard Amaray cases, and the artwork is just great.

Content

As many of Tezuka's works, Metropolis is a simple story, a story of dreams which deals with human feelings, like rage, sorrow and love. So, it is not Jin-Roh or Ghost in the Shell and may appeal to beginners to be drawn to the simple, but deep plot going on (nothing wrong with the previous two examples, they rank high with me but they are hard to score with beginners).

The focus is the impossible relationship between Kenichi and Tima, which is supposed to be the greatest robot ever built by man, and a society built upon robot labor and a horde of job-less that lives on the lower levels from the trash left by the people upper, and richer level. There are lot of small details on the plot that you will get each time you view again this one, which is great, as this can entertain both people who are looking for the very small details or those who just want to have fun by watching it once.



Review Equipment
Sony Playstation 2 (Component video out), JVC AV-27230



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MSRP: 27.98
Running time: 106
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Metropolis