Let's get a few things out of the way, first. I know that Osamu Tezuka is widely regarded as a golden god of anime, often even being cited as the originator of the craft, the "Godfather", some would say. His works were inspirational to an entire generation, took inspiration from Western Animation, and created a genre.
But this movie is bad, y'all, it's just fucking bad. Like I'm not trying to be that bitch but this is a straight up bad movie. I'm sitting down to write this right directly after having watched my DVD copy, and the DVD I have is a double feature (the other being Memories, which I have not yet watched) and if Memories is as bad as Metropolis, I'm decluttering the DVD because I can tell you in good faith that I have no desire to ever watch this movie again. I have to write this right now because this was one of the most forgettable things I've ever seen and if I don't do it now I will forget everything about this movie.
The manga it was based on was published in 1949 and damn does it show. The writing team adapting it did literally nothing to update it in any way from the basic bitch plot that would maybe have flown in 49, but by today's standards is so boring, predictable, and just outright basic that it's neigh unwatchable. I almost turned it off several times. There's just no solid writing here. None of the characters are given full archs, none of the plot points come together in any meaningful way, characters just bumble from one situation to the next while stuff blows up around them, learning and doing nothing.
So the basic plot is that this detective and his nephew come to Metropolis to arrest a scientist who is wanted on human right's violations, and this scientist has been contracted by- I don't even know, some dude who looks like a Ruta from Legend of Zelda, to make a robot version of his daughter so he can hook that robot up to this tower he built that makes sunspots and blows shit up, presumably so she can blow shit up. It's never explained why he wants to do this. And then later, when she starts doing this, he acts like he didn't want her to, and that's also never explained. He has no motivation and is just kinda there, like every character in the movie.
So he, the Ruta guy, has this other kid that he picked up off the streets and didn't adopt that works for him, and that kid wants him to be his dad and love him, but the Ruta guy has no interest in him and treats him like shit so this motivation makes no sense, but he gets all jealous of the robot and burns the lab down around the time the detective and his nephew that he brought with him for some reason get there to arrest the scientsit.
They're all, "Oh shit, everything's on fire!" and run around like everything's on fire, so the kid finds the robot and they fall down a hole. They seriously just fall down a hole. No one saves anybody, no one cares about anybody, they just fall down a hole.
Oh, also the detective has a robot from the Metropolis police department, but I forgot about him because he's not a real character, he is just a robot. None of the robots are real chracters, as they sometimes are in shows like this, and it's weird because later people act like the robots have feelings or someshit but they totally don't, they're just machines that the audience nor the people in-universe are endeered to at all. I don't remember what he's doing right now because I don't have any reason to give a shit about him, but he's there.
So the detective tries to save the guy he was trying to arrest, but fails and he burns to death, but he gets his notes on the robot girl. Then he just hangs out with the robot dude for the rest of the movie doing fuck all until like the last few minutes. This is pretty much where he checks out. We'll go back to him occassionally to watch him eat a hot dog or something but he has no further interest in the plot for most of the movie.
So this boy and the robot girl have to find their way out of the hole they fell in, which they do with the help of some other robot that's just kinda there, and they eventually do after a scene of them just sitting around doing nothing. But when they come out onto the street the guy from before who really wants the Ruta guy to be his dad sees them and starts shooting at them and they have to run away. The robot girl, btw, this whole time, can barely speak and doesn't seem to know what planet she's on so she's way more of a prop than a character.
They eventually get taken in by a group of poor people who are mad about robots taking all the broke-ass jobs because automation, for some reason, is bad instead of a reason for wealth redistrubtion and labor, which sure as shit didn't age well knowing what we know now about automation not crippling the economy or causing any significant low-income job loss in any society in which it's been implimented so maybe in the 1940s this was scary but now we know it's just stupid and we had those numbers in 2001 so I have no idea why this was allowed to stay in the movie, it's just embarassing.
The kid tells them that his uncle is a reporter and he can get them a story in the newspaper, which is just an obvious lie, I have no idea why he does this, so they let them stay the night and give the robot girl some clothes and then go out the next day to start a full on revolution for no reason, with no provocation, to accomplish nothing, and just kinda start a riot. They break that robot cop during the riot.
The only thing that any of them says that seems to be worth getting pissed about is that the government cut off food rations to spend the money on that big tower that causes sunspots and electromagnetic spikes, and that I get. If they cut off my EBT to make a giant weapon for no reason, I'd be pissed too. But that's like a throw away line, the main thing is the automation taking all the shitty jobs, which is bullshit.
This revolution takes like 1 scene and wants to be emotionally impactful so bad you can taste it, but we do not have any clue who any of these people are at all. Like even a little bit. I couldn't tell you one of their names. And they all seemed perfectly fine, just kinda poor. We didn't see anybody starving in the streets or have the movie hammer home any kind of wealth disparity, even, they just kinda directly state it and I don't know who the hell they are and whether or not I should trust them. It gave me FF7 vibes, but like if FF7 sucked and didn't do any worldbuilding in Midgar. Like imagine Midgar but you had no reason to give a shit.
So after the revolution, the Uncle finds the kid, because they're both just kinda on the street in the same place, just coincidentially, and then the Ruta guy pulls up also coincidentially, and sees that his robot still works, and his guy that thinks he's his dad is there trying to break the robot so he tells him to quit, takes his robot, and leaves. Also the uncle I think yells at him for working with that dead scientist he originally came to arrest. And the nephew passes out because he got shot or something, I don't remember. He's not dead though.
So the girl is now having an existential crisis for no reason, because she doesn't know if she's a human or a robot (She's a robot, there's literally no reason to think that she's not a robot, there's not a thing human about her, she is very obviously a robot, this is so goddamn weird) for no reason and with no explination, which is my main issue with this movie. I can see what it's trying to do, but it just doesn't seem to give a shit about itself. It doesn't do anything with any of this. There could have been some reason, any reason, for her to think she wasn't a robot, like maybe she got memories from the dead kid's real life or something, but no, she is a full on robot who was born yesterday and knows nothing and has no reason to think she's human, so this is just stupid.
So this like, servant, I guess, some chick the movie doesn't care to give a proper introduction to, sells her out to that guy who wants her 'dad' to be his dad- I don't know anybody's names, I've already forgotten them all- and he tries to break her but the detective stops him and gets her to find his nephew by hacking the electrical grid and turning the power off. No explination given. That just works. But then the Ruta's guy's tech guys track them down by finding where the power went off and just bring them back anyway.
Then the Ruta guy explains that he has a throne for her to sit on that will link her up to the... I don't even know, internet, I guess? He doesn't really explain it. But it'll link her up to that tower that destroys shit. And then she links up to it and destroys shit and blows up the city. And he seems confused by this. I have no idea why. While doing so she tells him it's for treating the robots so shitty, but that was never an issue before so whatever. You didn't even know you were a robot two seconds ago, so that character development happened off screen, I guess.
While the city is blowing up that kid tries to save her, again, not sure why, she's the one doing it, I guess he just likes her because he spent a couple days with her wherein they did no bonding whatsoever, but fails and she falls and breaks, and he doesn't seem to care that much, so whatever. A lot of this is really, "whatever".Then in the rubble his Uncle tells him that they should go back to Japan, but he decides to stay in the ruined city for no real reason, despite being like 10, his parents are gonna be so pissed when his uncle gets back without him.
That's an hour and 45 minutes of my life I'm never getting back. What was so painful about this movie, really, is how badly it wanted to be good. It wanted to be good, but it just would not put in the effort. There's so much happening, and all of it could have actual artistic value, but they kept on the surface and refused to go into anything, be that plot, character development, or any of the themes like identity, poverty, loss, relationships, any of that. It just was not interested in itself. This is a case of a good story being held hostage by awful writers.
It's already fading from memory, and if I were you, I would feel free to skip this one. Even for kids, because the themes are obviously trying to be adult, like it's not a kid's movie, and there are way better kid's movies out there that handle themes like this way better. Wall-E does it better, for example. Just off the top of my head. This was a hot mess.
To be fair, I did get it as a double feature at the Dollar Tree, so realistically I only paid 50 cents for it, but it wasn't even worth that. And it was just so boring, with this surface level bullshit. There's a lot better anime out there than this. I hate that I dislike it, because I really wanted to like Tezuka, but there's just nothing to work with here, this team gives me nothing to latch onto as a good point in the film's favor.
So yeah, my review? Skip this one. Hopefully Memories will be better.