Forget about the Fritz Lang film, although the futuristic urban-scapes of this visionary anime Metropolis certainly do recall the mighty skyscrapers of Lang's film.  Based on a classic manga by Osamu Tezuka, the anime Metropolis focuses on a robot-filled future world and the relationship between humans and robots.  The animation is a wonderful blend of traditional cel animation and computer-aided backgrounds.  The Metropolis website includes a mash note from Titanic director James Cameron, who saw the film in Tokyo and raved, 'Metropolis is the new milestone in anime, a spectacular fusion of CG background with traditional character animation.  It has beauty, power, mystery, and above all...heart.'


Metropolis was directed by anime veteran Rintaro (real name Shigeyuki Hayashi), who worked with Tezuka in the 1960s (on Astro Boy and Kimba, among other projects). Rintaro has directed many celebrated anime including the Captain Harlock TV series, several Lodoss War OAVs, the Doomed Megalopolis series, the 1994 Final Fantasy OAV series, the X 1999 movie, and the Pet Shop of Horrors TV series.


Metropolis is so stunning visually that Sony Pictures has decided to forgo subtitling the film.  It will be dubbed into English, and available at least at first only in a dubbed version.  The film should be released in the U.S. early next year.


Cosmic Warrior Rei

Reichi Matsumoto, the creator of Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999, is about to make his first anime in almost twenty years.  Cosmic Warrior Rei, which is based on the Playstation 2 game of the name, debuts on TV Tokyo this July.  Recently Matsumoto has been working on music videos, and his work can be seen on recent videos for the French group Daft Punk.  Check out 'One More Time' and 'Aerodynamic.'


Fist of the North Star

A new manga anthology 'Comic Bunch' which debuted in Japan this month includes the first installment in a 'prequel' to Fist of the North Star.  Sounten no Ken (Fist of Blue Skies) is set in Japan in 1935 and features an uncle of the protagonist of the post apocalyptic Fist of the North Star manga series.  The same issue of Comic Bunch also includes the first installment of Angel Heart, the sequel to the popular City Hunter manga.