Metropolis/Illustration on sleeve/Ikuei Shuppan/1949
This is a near-future Sci-Fi story of the Earth affected by sunspot activities.
n 19XX, extraordinary large sunspots are detected on the sun. Just then, a secret sect by the name of Red Party orders Dr. Lawton, who has been studying artificial cells, to develop a humanoid, and Dr. Lawton names the humanoid he developed Mitchy. Then, he escapes from the lab together with Mitchy, noticing their plan to exploit Mitchy for evil purposes. But Dr. Lawton is killed, finally found by Red Party. On the other hand, Mitchy comes to be taken care of by Detective Higeoyaji who happens to be at the murder site. One day, Mitchy finds he is not a human. Mitchy gets mad at knowing he was made as a tool and exacts revenge on humans together with other humanoids.
Published in the form of a comic book on Sep. 15 1949 (Ikuei Shuppan)
This work was published just when Tezuka began treating his manga characters, such as Kenichi, Higeoyaji, Mr. Hanamaru (appearing by the name of Dr. Yorkshire Bell in this work) and Duke Red, just like real actors. Duke Red, playing the role of a rich father by the name of Nikula in "Is There a Doctor?", the 1st episode of Black Jack, as well as the role of Minamoto Yoritomo in Civil War, Phoenix, made a debut in this work.
Mitchy, synonymous for a beautiful girl, also made a debut in this work, casted in several other works.
Mitchy, Duke Red and other Star System characters
The birth of Mithcy
This work, known as a part of his early Sci-Fi trilogy (i.e., Metropolis, Lost World (1948) and Next World (1951), was published in the form of a hardcovered, two-color comic book with a sleeve, As Tezuka had only half a year for the preparation of the work, he composed it by partially exploiting the idea for Ghost Man, his practice work written in the school days and the characters appearing in Oyaji no Takarajima, one of his uncompleted works. Actually, there was a German movie titled Metropolis (1926) produced before WW2. Though the movie was also about a humanoid, it's nothing to do with the story since he had not watched the movie yet. What he could just access then was a still of the scene that a female robot was born. Tezuka might have made up Mitchy by expanding the image from the still.
The birth of Mithcy
Mitchy is a humanoid developed and raised secretly by Dr. Lawton. It has the appearance of a beautiful human boy since Dr. Lawton made it based on the most beautiful sculpture in the world. Mitchy has strong arms with 100 thousand horsepower and an ability to fly high upon taking a deep breath. By pushing the button on the body, Mitchy can switch its gender from a man to a woman and vice versa.
Dr. Charles Lawton
Dr. Lawton is a scientist continuously studying a way to give life to artificial protein. He finally succeeds in the experiment while sun spots are increasing extraordinarily. Then he makes up a humanoid with the artificial protein.
Duke Red is the head of a secret sect by the name of Red Party. He always disguises himself into a different person and goes around secretly. He is also called as "Phantom Merchant of Death". He aims to exploit artificial cells Dr. Lawton is developing.
Kenichi is Higeoyaji's nephew and a student at Little junior high school. He meets Mitchy on the street by accident, and notices his face is a perfect duplicate of Roman Angel stored in Dam Dharma Museum. Then he becomes friends with Mitchy.
He is a Japanese detective very tough and good at shooting. While following the movement of Red Party, he happens to witness Dr. Lawton dying.
She used to be a flower vender on the street. Now she lives with his older sister in a slum. Duke Red orders her to make friends with Mitchy to bring Mitchy to his place. Instead, he promises to give her a lot of aid so that she can enter Little Junior high school.
Exerpt from the manuscripts
(excerpt from afterword in Metropolis of Tezuka Osamu Manga Compilation by Kodansha)
By the way, I originally started the serialization as a long-winded tale. Talking of the episode of Nagagutsujima (meaning Long boot island in English), there used to be a scene that they sneak into a secret base where they are attacked by a huge ant. I also added a prologue after I completed the whole story. But I found the total number of pages exceeded the limit of 160 pages. Accordingly, I had to cut quite a lot of scenes. Actually, I speared quite many pages for a story of a flower vender girl and her sister, which I enjoyed the atmosphere as it's like the scene of Thenardier's inn in Les Misérables, nevertheless, I had to cut the part a since it's nothing to do with the main plot.
The climax of the riot by the robots was originally much longer, which I also had to cut some. I kept the manuscripts of the unpublished part until recently. Indeed, it was too good to put in the basket.
Fortunately, Metropolis received much better responses than expected, and a quite many copies were reprinted.
Also, I heard a lot of students came to think of becoming a manga artist. I take pride in helping children recognize Sci-Fi as a part of entertainment by this work.
My fans call Metropolis, Lost World and Next World, those three works as Tezuka's early Sci-Fi trilogy. Among the three, Metropolis would be the most sophisticated with urban air. My Americanized taste then was reflected a lot in the work. Duke Red on the cover as well as a night view of an urban city on the facing would remind us of Manhattan or Chicago before WW2, which shows how I was inspired by American movies set in big cities then. (omitted)
(Please note the above is a liberal translation of the original text in Japanese. )
Exerpt from the manuscripts
Cover illustration/Metropolis/Tezuka Osamu Manga Compilation/Kodansha/1979