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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:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It had to be advanced enough to control the people behind the monitors.
  • 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 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.
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  • 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.
  • Break the Haughty: The events of the movie for both Nico and Cel.
  • 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. Nico's father's avatar 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
    • 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.
  • 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 (but actually an Artifact of Doom). Also the piece in the tournament.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Chick 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.
  • Variant Chess: Metanoia has a really odd version of Sudoku...
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Daniel's (K'mao) liking for Sudoku comes in handy pretty early.
  • 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.