A significant part of the impact of Rintaro's striking anime Metropolis comes from Toshiyuki Honda's stylish and imaginative soundtrack. A mix of sweeping orchestral pieces and vibrant, ragtime-inspired numbers, the music expresses the film's contrasts of technology and humanity, as well as grim situations and whimsical, toy-like designs, perfectly. As befitting a sci-fi epic, orchestral compositions such as "Ziggurat," "Sniper," "Foreboding," and "Judgment" have a dazzling, icy precision, while the bombastic "Propaganda," "Fury," and "Awakening" conjure the film's thrilling action. But it's the score's ragtime pieces that really convey Metropolis' heart and soul, and they do it in a surprisingly versatile way -- from the film's rousing title track to the down-at-the-heel charm of "Three-Faced of Zone" to the funereal "Snow" to the light-hearted "After All," these tracks are filled with nearly as much character as the film itself. "Run," a fierce amalgam of big band and big beat, and "El Bombero," a synth-bass-driven avant-swing number, also characterize the score's (and film's) distinctively retro-futuristic feel. Even "There'll Never Be a Goodbye (The Theme of Metropolis)," the film's love song, is torchy instead of schmaltzy -- a nice change from the ballads found on most anime soundtracks. With its flawless execution and unique influences, Honda's Metropolis score ranks with Cowboy Bebop's music as among the very finest that anime has to offer.