Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Metropolis (2001 movie)
Despite superficial similarities, this work was not at all influenced by Fritz Lang's pre-World War II epic Metropolis. In fact, Tezuka Osamu had not seen the film at the time when he was working on this story. However, his creation of the character Mitchy was based on the only still picture of the movie that he had seen, which depicted the birth of a female robot.
A Japanese private detective and his nephew, Ken'ichi, arrive in the city of Metropolis. Metropolis itself lies in an unmentioned republic and it can best be described as a plutocracy where a man named Duke Red is the most influential citizen. In Metropolis' heavily industrialised world artificial intelligence has evolved a lot and robots are seen everywhere performing all sorts of tasks. Despite their intelligence robots do not have any of the rights that are granted to human beings. In order not to infringe upon human rights they are not allowed to have human names nor to travel between the four Zone's which the metropolis is divided in between without a special permission. Thus they live under Apartheid-like conditions.
In order to protect humans from mischievous-minded robots a vigilante organisation called the Marduk patrol the streets of Metropolis. Heavily armed men dressed in red destroy robots as they please. The Marduk is a vigilante group who has formed a political party. It's a public secret that their founder is Duke Red.
The private detective and his nephew are looking for a person named Dr Laughton who is among else suspected of trading human organs . Little do they know that Duke Red has hired Dr Laughton to manufacture an extremely intelligent robot in the shape of Duke Red's deceased daughter. The robot is to sit at the customised throne at the top of the newly built Ziggurat; a mountainous building that Duke Red has constructed for military purposes.
Dr Laughton plans to flee Metropolis once the robot, named Tima after Duke Red's daughter, is finished. Although Duke Red's adoptive son and Marduk, Rock discovers Dr Laughton's treacherous intentions and proceeds to kill him in cold blood, whereas after he sets fire to the building containing Dr Laughton's laboratory intending to destroy all traces including the robot Tima which is in suspended animation at the time.
However Tima wakes up during the fire and is saved by Ken'ichi. Dr Laughton dies before the detective manages to drag him out of there but manages to utter a few words regarding a precious notebook of his which the detective saves from the flames. During their escape from the burning building Ken'ichi and Tima falls down a sewage drain and become separated from the detective.
Thus a search for his nephew begins for the detective. Ken'ichi and Tima are at the same being time chased by Rock who is monomanical about destroying Tima. Rock's determination to do so lies in his belief that his father, Duke Red, should be the one whom sits on the throne at the top of the Ziggurat and not a robot.
Escaping from Rock, Tima and Ken'ichi stumble upon Atlas who is the leader of a group of unemployed labourers whom live in poverty below the metropolis' glistering surface. The labourers demand better living conditions having lost their jobs due to mechanisation, i.e. robots and with the recent building of the Ziggurat having the food distributions discontinued. They are planning to take up arms and launch a coup d'état against the government and bring down the Ziggurat like God's wrath once brought down the tower of Babel.
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