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Animation / RPG Metanoia

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RPG Metanoia is a computer-animated film released in 2010, the first to come out from the Philippines.

Nico is an avid player of the incredibly popular MMORPG Metanoia, where he plays as the wandering vagabond Zero. Unfortunately, that's the only thing he does well, but he doesn't let that stop him from enjoying the game with his friends; that is, until he's forced to realize just how much he's missing out on life in the real world. Worse yet, a malignant virus begins to spread around Metanoia, and Nico may be the only one capable of stopping it...

Roughly four to five years in the making, the film was surprisingly good, and showed at the 2010 Manila film festival. Any Pinoy fan of animation should definitely give it a watch.

Not to be confused with the webcomic, Metanoia.

RPG Metanoia provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Nico calls his father "Dee" (mostly short for Dad or Daddy). His dad calls Nico "Chief" in return.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Metanoia itself. It had to be advanced enough to control the people behind the monitors, then taunt Nico and use his mom as a hostage near the end of the film.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Helm of Destiny is a rare in-game item that grants "God Mode" to the one who wears it, but it's actually a piece of malicious software that forces a subliminal effect to the player's brain, or specifically the one who's looking at the monitor, like what temporarily happened to Nico's mom near the end of the film. The latter half of the plot focuses on Nico's group aiming to destroy it to reverse its effects.
  • Art Shift: While the rules of Patintero are being explained, the graphics are rendered as 16-bit Pixel Art.
  • As the Good Book Says...: With an article quote referencing Matthew 5:5 when they're discussing the origins of the game but modified for a different meaning.
    The meek shall inherit the earth... the rest of us will go to the stars.
  • Big Bad: At first, they were just competing against opposing e-sports teams but Sargo, the winner of the tournament, picked up the Helm of Destiny when Nico dropped it. The now-infected Sargo then proceeds to create an army by fighting and infecting the other players who are still logged in the game.
  • The Big Guy: Both Bobby (for being the largest physically) and Daniel (for being mute) can fit this. Their characters Sumpak (for long ranged firepower) and K'mao (for close combat), respectively, also reflect this.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When K'mao generated an energy shield to protect himself and the other avatars from the collapsing interior of Watchtower 88, the simplified Chinese character for paper (纸) appeared. There are also a lot of Spanish words, such as "Puerta Cerradura" (Door Lock).
  • Break the Haughty: The events of the movie for both Nico and Cel, providing a lesson that there are things that can be enjoyed outside of playing a video game.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Rarely but there are some like Zero's "Hurricane Assault", K'mao's "Bato Bato Pick", and Mang Ernie's "Puerta Cerradura" (Door Lock).
  • Captain Geographic: Downplayed. The avatar of Dee (Nico's father) wears a blue armor and helmet that has the eight-ray sun of the Philippine flag and other yellow accents but the red is nowhere to be seen. The creators may have done the research about this as it's disrespectful to depict it in whole as part of a clothing, except for authorized representation of the country like in international sports events.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Characters in both the real world and Metanoia have unique faces. Just look at this image with the latter's Player Characters. Too bad that their faces are eventually covered up by the Helm of Destiny.
  • Catapult to Glory: Nico's father's avatar launched Ahdonis and the Japanese girl to a hole in the roof of the church where the Final Battle takes place with his arm cannons.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The bike given to Nico the last Christmas, which he left lying in a corner, became handy when he needed to rush to the Bomb Shelter.
    • The Jiglie that C4SS4NDR4 saved from Zero which melted the Helm of Destiny.
    • Nico's computer's old video card which stalled at just the right time before the game can take over his mother's mind.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Nico's father also plays Metanoia, but says early in the film that he's busy with work in Dubai instead. He's one of the gamers who arrived to Nico's call for The Cavalry near the Final Battle.
  • Cyberspace: Although it doesn't take up majority of the screentime anyway.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: The player characters are shown to be conversing as if they're alive by themselves (they sort of are) with occasional shifts to the players talking to each other in the Bomb Shelter.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Nico invited Cel to May's birthday party when the battle was over.
  • Digital Avatar: All of the players of the game that has been shown resemble their player characters.
  • Dummied Out: In-universe example with the game engine's initial functions as a subliminal reality program that resurfaced when the Helm of Destiny was worn.
  • Escapism: One of the main themes of the movie. Nico isn't physically active in his real life and plays video games because it's the only thing he's good at. Cel isn't socially active either.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Mejoria Grande resembles the Spanish Colonial Philippines. Justified since it's in the Philippine server.
  • Fauxshadow: Since the start of the film, Nico wishes to upgrade his computer or specifically have a new graphics card to alleviate the issues with his game freezing. His mom eventually bought him one, but he forgot to install it as he was pre-occupied with solving the problem brought by the Helm of Destiny. Ironically in the end, he's even glad he hasn't installed it yet, as his PC freezing at the right time prevents the malevolent A.I. from taking over his mom.
  • Final Battle: In-universe, it's a battle to save everyone who's been controlled by the helmet and shut the game down for good.
  • Floating Island: There are some above Mejoria Grande.
  • From Bad to Worse: Nico's group losing the tournament and Nico himself losing the Helm of Destiny were disappointing enough that they decided not to play the game for days, but in their absence, Sargo wore the Helm and began infecting other avatars, then it turns out the players of these avatars also go berserk if even their monitor gets turned off. It got to the point where the cable news covered the incident and revealed that it has already affected thousands of players around the globe.
  • Grid Puzzle: The titular MMORPG features Sudoku puzzles that are weird hybrids with chess that only K'Mao can crack.
  • The Heart: Mark fits this for being the most easygoing with playing the game in contrast with the rest treating it as Serious Business (though downplayed for the three boys who aren't Nico). Still, even he recognized that Nico had set them back.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • The Overseer is a giant robot with multiple heads, fought by Zero in the first scene.
    • The Big Bad brought one with a Mayincatec design in the Final Battle. Rather underused as the only significant thing it did was to blow a hole in the roof of the church.
  • Instant Knots: Zero seems to be able to knot his yo-yo around pretty much anything.
  • Instant Runes: Oh, plenty, mostly when magic attacks are shot out or blocked.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • May instructed the other boys of Nico's group to just let him win their physical games, so as to motivate him in playing more often. Nico learns this the hard way when Mark accidentally lets it slip.
    • It takes a while for Nico to figure out that Sargo was the avatar who wore the Helm of Destiny and corrupted the game, and Cel (the owner of Bomb Shelter) is the person behind Sargo.
  • It's All My Fault: Nico regrets finding the helmet but nobody blames him.
  • Just a Kid: Averted, but you can't help but wonder just how old all the other players in Metanoia are compared to Nico and the gang.
  • The Lancer: Nico fulfills this role in his group of friends despite being the protagonist because he's brash and generally can't be reined in by others before the Character Development.
  • The Leader: In an example where the role is not fulfilled by The Hero, Bryan fits this instead. He's assertive, levelheaded, and not prone to outbursts like Nico or tomfoolery like Mark.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Metanoia itself. It was originally a subliminal reality program designed to help astronauts cope up with the loneliness of space travel but it didn't go well. It was then repurposed into a game engine to not let the budget go to waste, even if their test subjects were lobotomized.
  • MacGuffin:
    • The Helm of Destiny is initially a rare item sought by Zero and Sargo, but it's actually an Artifact of Doom.
    • The orb piece in the tournament must be slotted into the mechanism to win the final round. Player Versus Player ensues when the gamers saw it landing on Sargo's hand.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Watchtower 88, which is justified because it's a tournament area meant to test the players' skills.
  • Mechanical Horse: The carriages in Mejoria Grande are drawn by some. They have more legs than regular ones.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Overseer's robot goons.
  • Multinational Team: The Cavalry that arrived in the Final Battle consisting of those that didn't fall to the Helm's control.
  • Multiple Head Case: Overseer, the robotic boss Nico/Zero was shown fighting in the first scene.
  • My Hero, Zero: Nico's avatar. It's a very generic name but it can also mean how he usually feels inferior.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nico's team lost the tournament when he selfishly fought Sargo one on one even when fulfilling the objective would have ended it. Worst of all is that he dropped a very important item that started the main conflict.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: During the tournament, Nico's friends struggle at pulling Sumpak who's stuck in the entrance gate. Sargo creates an explosion that forces Sumpak in. It's justified as Sargo is in a rush and also needs to proceed inside.
  • No Flow in CGI: In times when their hairs do move, these are in clusters instead of individual strands.
  • "No Talking or Phones" Warning: This one.
  • Part-Time Hero: Well, it is still a game, as opposed to their real-life selves.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Nico has to tap his computer's CPU case whenever his game freezes so that he can play properly again. Through his father's suggestion, this prompts Nico to request for a new graphics card.
  • Punched Across the Room: The final battle is in a church and several combatants are tossed from one side of it to another throughout the battle.
  • Right Behind Me: Nico said some things about May while she was about to give them invitations.
  • Sixth Ranger: May and with her joining, the role of The Heart is fulfilled. She helped Nico reconcile with his friends and discover fun things in life that don't involve a computer.
  • The Smart Guy: Bobby, having esoteric knowledge about the game, and Daniel, being good with puzzles, fit this, too.
  • Spinning Paper: A variation without spinning when the origin of the game was being explained.
  • Starcrossed Lovers: Implied with the two Korean avatars meeting at the Unification Bridge. They acknowledge that it's a huge risk for them to meet there and the man calling those controlled by the Helm of Destiny as "no border patrol" alludes to the situation of the North and South.
  • Shown Their Work: There's a lot of Filipino details scattered around the film.
  • Stylistic Suck: The animation's framerate regularly dips when it focuses on some events inside the Metanoia game, but it's an intentional way to showcase how Nico's old graphics card struggles to run the game.
  • Variant Chess: Metanoia has a really odd version of Sudoku...
  • Wham Shot: Near the end of the film, there's Nico's mom freezing in place staring at the monitor, revealing that even after the Helm of Destiny was melted, there's still a malevolent A.I. that wants to backup itself. Fortunately, the computer froze just at the right time to prevent the process.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Daniel's (K'mao) liking for Sudoku comes in handy pretty early.
  • You Are Fat: Sumpak gets stuck on the gate near the beginning of the tournament. As his friends try to pull him inside, they even had to mock Bobby for creating a fat avatar just like himself.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: To the extent that not even the developers of the game can stop the virus by shutting down the servers since it anchored itself to the internet. They couldn't just turn off the computers either because the affected players go berserk.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The male Korean avatar and Shishou, as the Japanese girl avatar calls him, pulled this during the respective assaults on their servers.