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Thursday, January 30, 2014

“Metropolis” Screening at Anime Club by Emily

Monday, Feb. 3, at 6:30 p.m., Stillwater Public Library Kicks-Off “One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads Fahrenheit 451.”  Following that event, we’ll have weekly programs and activities for all ages.  I’m so excited that the library is including an anime film as an event in the series on Saturday, Feb. 8. at 2p.m.  We’ve had an anime club for teens for several years now, and I love the idea of inviting adults to attend so they can see that anime isn’t just for kids – it can be entertaining and thought provoking for all ages.

 I didn’t really start to watch anime until after I graduated college.  I had held some preconceived notions about manga (Japanese style comics) and anime (Japanese animation) and never took the time to actually read or watch any.  Luckily, a friend of mine showed me the error of my ways, and made a number of suggestions.  I started with a manga by Osamu Tezuka called “Ode to Kirihito” and I was hooked.  Osamu Tezuka is often referred to as the “Father of Manga.”  The film that we’ll be screening – “Metropolis” – is based off of a manga of the same name written in 1949 by none other than Osamu Tezuka.

 “Metropolis” was released in 2001, and also has connections to Fritz Lang’s silent that came out in 1927 (Tezuka incorporated some of Lang’s imagery).  The film takes place in a dystopian world where robots and humans live together, but are not equal.  Robots are discriminated against and forced to dwell in the city’s lower levels.  Many of the humans living in Metropolis are unemployed and living in poverty – they blame the robots for taking their jobs.  

 In the heart of the expansive city lies a grand tower called the Ziggurat, which was built by Duke Red, a wealthy businessman attempting to seize control of the city.  Red also commissioned Dr. Laughton, a scientist with questionable practices, to build a humanoid robot named Tima in the likeness of his deceased daughter.  Duke Red has plans for Tima to merge computers with human consciousness and control all of Metropolis.   But, before Tima can be turned into a super-android Detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi interfere and rescue Tima.   Kenichi and Tima get separated from Detective Shunsaku and end up on a journey together in Metropolis.  The two begin to fall in love, but can a robot love?

 The film is visually stunning and will leave you philosophically questioning the nature of technology and the virtual world.  We hope that community members of all ages will join the teen members of our Anime Club to screen, then discuss the film and how it relates to “Fahrenheit 451.” Japanese snacks will be provided.   

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