Every piece of art that we consume has something to say about the world around us, and anime is no different. Often, studios will use the genre their work sits within to amplify that message. In the case of Metallic Rouge, the upcoming cyber-noir anime from BONES, both genre and setting played a key part in how that message came together in the end.
Political messaging is nothing new for anime, but the themes of Metallic Rouge played a core part not just in the characters but in the setting itself. According to BONES President and Metallic Rouge producer Masahiko Minami, the choice of a futuristic, sci-fi setting allowed the team to incorporate “more challenging themes” than they could have if they had set the show closer to modern times. Just like the legendary Gundam franchise, there is more to this show than just giant robot battles.
“We were able to ask questions about social unrest in a way that wasn’t so personal,” he said during a roundtable interview at Anime NYC in November. “It gets to the core of cultural aspects: prejudice, segregation, all of these things that are much more challenging to discuss if you make it too personal.”
Science fiction has always been a popular genre for those who want to shine a light on the inequalities of our time, so it isn’t surprising that BONES would use it to highlight the injustices we see every day. By setting Metallic Rouge in the future, when humanity has colonized and terraformed Mars, it shows how deep these injustices really go - that they are so deeply ingrained into us as a species that they will persist even after we have left this world and settled on our nearest neighbor in the solar system.
How well Metallic Rouge explores those themes is something we'll have to wait to see when it streams on Crunchyroll in January 2024.