DVD: Metropolis (TriStar)



English DVD Title (Region 1)

Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis


Japanese (5.1 Surround), Japanese (5.1 Surround DTS), English (5.1 Surround), French (2.0 Stereo)

Aspect Ratio:

English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
107 minutes
1.85:1 Anamorphic





  • Menus (English)
  • Chapters (28)
  • Trailers: Metropolis (US), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, Cowboy Bebop
  • Animax: The Making of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis (33 minutes)
  • Filmmaker Interview with director Rintaro and writer Katsuhiro Otomo (8 minutes)
  • Animation Comparison: Wheel Room (4 minutes total)
  • Animation Comparison: City View (2 minutes total)
  • Concept Art: Tima and Kenichi
  • Concept Art: Supporting Cast
  • Concept Art: Art Direction
  • History of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis
  • Filmographies on director Rintaro and creator Osamu Tezuka



By: Anthony Romero

Released about a year after the movie came out, this multi-disc set from TriStar/Sony features the 2001 animated film Metropolis. For its age, this set offers a lot of options, including four different audio tracks, seven different subtitle options and a variety of extra content. It falters, though, in regards to the video presentation, which has not aged well.

 Video: Star Rating

Sony has done some great video presentations for DVD releases of Toho productions, including the Showa Godzilla films. This, sadly, is not one of those releases. On the plus side, the colors look fairly good on this release, although there is a slight yellow tint to them. The image has tons of compression applied to it, though. This causes the movie to look very soft, lacking sharp definition and showing signs of pixilation. At least the source used is in good shape, devoid of overt signs of damage or other inconsistencies of that nature.

Metropolis is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

This DVD set includes a ton of different audio options for the film, with four audio tracks in total found for the movie. This includes two surround tracks in Japanese, both a DTS and Dolby Digital one, along with a surround track for the English dub and stereo one in French.

Starting with the Japanese tracks, dialogue is clear here while the overly jazzy score does have great depth at times thanks to the surround presentation in both. For example, footsteps in particular do a great job of defining space through the surround tracks. In terms of which is the the better of the two, the DTS or Dolby Digital version, I attempted to do blind listen tests but found myself unable to consistently pick a superior one: both are pretty close.

For the surround English track, it fares similar to the Japanese with the exception of the dialogue. That's not to say the quality is bad per say or the performances are poor, although they aren't great, but rather they do a bad job with the surround aspect as they feel relatively flat and up front rather than other elements of the audio.

Finally we have a stereo French track. This one is decent for a stereo version, although makes you appreciate the surround mix for simple things like how it breaks up the dialogue with the soundtrack. That said, I was impressed with the quality of the acting performances on this dub track.

The movie can be accompanied by removable subtitles in a wealth of different languages that include English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai.


 Extras: Star Rating

Outside of the theatrical trailers, which are found on the first disc, the supplemental content is located on the second, mini DVD. I want to pause on that for a second, as mini DVDs are so rare. For those who owned Nintendo Gamecubes, the size might be familiar. For others, it might be strange, although most players should work with them, using the smaller indent in the tray area. The advantage is that they load content quicker, being smaller. That might be great for a game, but for the DVD medium it's not a big win for the end user.

Anyway, this disc has a mix of video, text and gallery based content. Video wise, leading the way is an excellent "Animax: The Making of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis" feature. Stuffed with cast and crew interviews, the 33 minute extra dives deep into elements of the production for the film. Next up is a shorter, 8 minute interview segment with director Rintaro and writer Katsuhiro Otomo. This retreads a bit, but is nice to have more input from the two. There are also "Animation Comparison" features, two in fact which are 4 and 2 minutes of total video respectively. Total should be emphasized as they are broken into numerous smaller videos, and provide a detailed look at all the elements required for a finished scene. Sadly, it's very slowly paced to achieve this and the CGI techniques haven't aged well, making this hard to get through. Aside from the animation comparison material, the extras here have removable English subtitles.

For the text based material, first up we have the "History of Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis". This is 11 screens worth of text. It's long, but informative on aspects that led up to the movie's creation. Next up are filmographies on director Rintaro and creator Osamu Tezuka. This is less compelling, especially for Rintaro as his career went on after this film.

Finally, we also have image galleries for concept art. This includes both the main characters and supporting cast along with other elements as well. Unlike the Blu-ray/DVD Metropolis (Mill Creek Entertainment) release, this is not video but rather something that you navigate through with the remote, which is preferable.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, this is a good release of Metropolis on DVD. In the US it remains one of the few ways to get the French track as well, if that's important, while it contains a wealth of extras. It's weak in the video department, though, and for that reason would instead recommend the more modern Blu-ray/DVD Metropolis (Mill Creek Entertainment) release, as it contains better video quality with a similar array of extras.