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Robotic Angel

Japan 2001
produced by
Yutaka Maseba for Tezuka Productions, Emotion, Kadokawa Shoten, Bandai Visual, Toho
directed by Rintaro
screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo, based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka, character design, key animation supervision: Yasuhira Nakura, CG/art director: Shuichi Hirata, animation studio: Mad House, music by Toshiyuki Honda


review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Private detective Shunsaku and his young nephew and assistant Kenichi come to Metropolis to find the mad scientist Laughton with the help of robot Laughton. They arrive in town during the celebration for the Ziggurat, and incredibly high tower reminiscent of the biblical tower of Babel, given to the city by industrialist Duke Red, who is secretly also the leader of the Malduk movement, a revolutionary movement that opposes all robots which the society in Metropolis has become highly dependable on - at the cost of human jobs ...

However, at the same time, Duke Red houses Laughton, who is not only mad but also an organ thief, and lets him build Tima, the ultimate human-robot hybrid based on his dead daughter, that is to be the master of the Ziggurat, which is actually the ultimate weapon. However, Duke Red's adopted son Rock is totally opposed to Tima out of sibling rivalry paired with obvious madness, so one bright and sunny day, he blows up Laughton's lab, and the Doctor and his robot with it ... or so he thinks, because Shunsaku and Kenichi have just managed to catch up with the Doc, and while Kenichi somehow manages to save the robot/girl - and gets lost withher in the sewage systems of the town in the process - Shunsaku manages to secure the Doctor's log ...

Rock however won't be satisfied until he sees Tima totally destroyed, but instead finds her alive (or functioning, considering she is a robot), and hunts her and Kenichi from the sewage systems up to street level, where he finally manages to corner them - but when he corners the couple and moves in for the kill, Duke Red intervenes, saving Tima from certain extinction, taking Kenichi prisoner, and disowning Rock for good.

Rock however is not one to be easily beaten, and before you know it, he has abducted Tima again and tries to get rid of her for good when Shunsaku intervenes, puts Rock out cold and uses Tima to track down Kenichi ...

In the meantime though, Duke Red has first instigated then overthrown a revolution and in the process killed the president so he can proclaim himself ruler of Metropolis, and before long he has Tima and Shunsaku captured, and now wants her to take control of the Ziggurat, even if she wants to just be ahuman girl and is interested mainly in Kenichi. Ultimately though, she climbs the throne of the Ziggurat - but with the effect that she decides on the total extinction of mankind and the rule of the robots - which in a gripping finale set to the song I can't Stop Loving You as sung by Ray Charles, Fuke Red has to pay with his life, but it's ultimately Kenichi who can keep her from putting her plan into action as a whole, even if that means her demise and the total destruction of the Ziggurat.

In the aftermath of the crash of Metropolis, Kenichi realizes that he might want to stay with the robots - who as a whole have been much nicer and more trustworthy towards him than the humans ...


First and foremost, Metropolis - very obviously inspired by Fritz Lang's 1927 film of the same name without being derivative - is a feast for the eye, it's set in a whimsical retro-futuristic world reminiscent of art deco and classic cartoons (circa 1930's) as well as technical drawings, old clockworks and the like, and it's very rich in detail.

That's not to say though that Metropolis sucks on a narrative level, it's a daring mix of a confoluted political thriller and a simple love story, all in the context of a far-out science fiction tale, all blended into one exciting, suspenseful and at times funny and sentimental piece of film.

Quite simply put, fascinating, and definitely recommended !


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD