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Metropolis Paperback – April 22, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A still from the German film Metropolis inspired the famed creator of Astro Boy to draw this graphic novel in 1949, and the process was reversed last year, when the graphic novel was made into an animated film. The tale concerns a scientist who's forced to create a genderless being named Michi and then steals it from the criminal who forced its creation. Eventually Michi runs away from its surrogate father and wanders the world searching for its nonexistent parents. Michi's encounters provide a tragicomic commentary on Tezuka's surroundings: the escalating Cold War, human folly and the search for love and affection in an increasingly harsh world. As with Astro Boy and the Disney films Tezuka loved, this work elicits strong emotions through simple allegory. The art, done in Tezuka's early style, beautifully combines classic American cartooning, Art Deco and the Disney stylings of the day. Tezuka's character designs are elaborate and decorative but never distracting, and his panels are crammed with machinery and people, giving his world a bustling vibrancy. He also never lets an opportunity for a joke pass him by. When confronted with a gun, one character says, "I've hated pistols since I was born. Pistols and carrots." Likewise, when the scientist recounts Michi's hardships, Tezuka seizes a chance for melodrama and draws the flashback sequence in an exquisite silhouette style. Metropolis has a bit of everything and is a wonderful graphic novel for both children and adults. With each American release of Tezuka's work, it becomes clearer why he's regarded as the master of Japanese comics.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Manga; First Print edition (April 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569718644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569718643
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When people think about Metropolis, the one from Germany or Japan, they think Futurism. But in fact the movies, plus this manga are about bringing the human INTO the society. Futurism is about speeding, shiny cars without humans slowing things down or getting in the way. But Metropolis is about humanity and mercy and the human heart. Even Michi was built with a heart, a symbol of hope in a machine designed as a super being. This story just cannot be compared to the films or any other work of art. And it is a work of art that EVERYBODY should read at least once in their lifetime, like 1984, Brave New World, or Dandelion Wine.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is becoming increasingly hard to find, so get it while you can. An early work by Osamu Tezuka, it's the middle graphic novel in his loose trilogy of sci-fi books he did (the others being Lost World and Nextworld). The art is wonderful, but the story is not one of Tezuka's best, despite containing a lot of pathos. It's more interesting as a curiosity of his earlier work and example of the mature themes he would work with for the rest of his career. Of particular note is the artificial being Michi, who possesses super powers and is Tezuka's prototype for the later creation of Astro Boy. Oh, and this book has very little resemblance to the animated version of Metropolis, so be aware of that.
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Format: Paperback
This was a mixed bag, somewhat like a self effacing B-movie. The story contains many generic plot lines all intersecting together: evil villain who wants to control a super being, robot army rebels, bumbling police, giant animals caused by radiation, and on and on. These plots are very condensed, but they are meant to be cliches and Tezuka pokes fun at them. The main plot concerns Michi, an artificial human who thinks he/she (gender can switch at the push of a button) is real. Michi was designed under pressure from the evil Baron Red, but hidden away by his/her kindly inventor who doesn't want Michi used for evil. Baron Red soon discovers that Michi lives and tries to catch Michi. Meanwhile other characters pull through cliched sci-fi plots which somehow all trace back to Baron Red's doings.

The plot description doesn't sound so hot, however the comic is actually pretty good. There are tons of kind of corny one liners that somehow work. These reminded me a bit of things that Snowy from TinTin might say or do. Because most of the comic pokes fun at the genres it runs through, I wasn't sure how seriously to take Michi. For the most part Michi is treated as good hearted and wanting to meet his/her father. So at the end when Michi's classmates "shake hands" I didn't know if that was supposed to be an emotional moment or a bit more over the top tongue in cheek.

It's hard to explain because the one liners and jumbled plot don't sound appealing to me, but this was actually a pretty good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When a story contains a couple of cliches you imagine them as the author's lapse but when a story seems composed entirely of cliches you suspect the author has had a breakthrough. That is my sense of METROPOLIS by Osamu Tezuka. Everything essential to comics is somehow gathered here. It is an excellent tour of the cartoon dimension.

Anyone at all familiar with the beginnings of American comic strips and animations will delight in this book, just as clearly as Tezuka delighted in those early American gems. The art of this book is part Fleischer Brothers cartoon, part McManus's "Bringing Up Father" and just as insanely manic as you would imagine a combination of those two to be.

It's what you always hope for from cartoons -- sort of a shared dream, the panels are crowded with cartoon figures seemingly poured from the subconscious. Crazy on the surface, full of disturbing idiosyncrasies, but somehow resonantly true. The turn the story takes was remarkably alarming, moving and effective. All the more so for the Astroboy Betty Boopish artwork.

This is not close to the 2001 movie version. This is immeasurably better than the movie version. Take a look. You'll be surprised.
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