Metropolis (Daitokai), “Metropolis (The Great City)”
• Osamu Tezuka • Dark Horse (2003)
• Fujishobo (1949)
• Science Fiction
• Unrated/All Ages (mild violence)
The second manga in Tezuka’s early “science fiction trilogy.” In a bustling future (pages burst with jam-packed crowd scenes), the evil Red Party forces a scientist to create an artificial superhuman who can be used as a weapon. The scientist and his creation, the androgynous child Michi, escape—but after the scientist’s death, the Red Party tracks Michi down. Although still very crude compared to Tezuka’s mature work, Metropolis represents a leap forward from the even rougher Lost World, while retaining the same breakneck energy and rush of ideas. Tezuka begins to explore themes to which he would return again and again: the struggle between fascism and humanism, the immense power of technology, the thin line between the human and nonhuman, the fight for equality. Michi is a clear prototype for Astro Boy, although he’s a much darker and more conflicted character. Metropolis was loosely adapted into an anime feature film in 2002; the anime is less a faithful adaptation of the manga than it is a fond homage to Tezuka’s vision of the future.