Metropolis (??, Metoroporisu?) is an anime film released in Japan in 2001 and loosely based on the 1949 Metropolis manga created by the early Osamu Tezuka and also a loose adaptation of the famous silent German film of the same name. The film had an all star production team including renowned anime director Rintaro, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo as script writer, and animation by Madhouse Studios with conceptual support from Tezuka Productions.
Metropolis is a futuristic city-state where humans and robots uneasily coexist. While the robots are heavily segregated throughout the city’s districts and are destroyed for straying from their designated areas, many impoverished humans complain that the robots leave them unemployed. Duke Red, the de facto ruler of Metropolis, has overseen the construction of a towering skyscraper called the Ziggurat, which will allow mankind to further extend its power across the planet. During the Ziggurat’s opening ceremony, a wayward robot disrupts the event, only to be shot down by Rock, Duke Red’s adoptive son and the head of the Marduk Party, an anti-robot vigilante group.
Private detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew, Kenichi, travel to Metropolis from Japan with an arrest warrant for Dr. Laughton, a mad scientist wanted for illegally trafficking human organs. Dr. Laughton has been secretly hired by Duke Red to construct a robot modeled and named after Red’s deceased daughter, Tima, to sit on the throne within the Ziggurat and “complete” it. Rock, however, does not want a robot to overshadow his adoptive father, shooting Dr. Laughton and setting fire to his laboratory. Investigating the fire, Shunsaku enters the burning factory and discovers the dying Laughton, who gives him his notebook. Kenichi, meanwhile, encounters Tima, who was newly activated during the chaos. The two fall into the sewers and are separated from Shunsaku.
While Shunsaku searches for his nephew, Kenichi and Tima search for a way out of the bowels o