Friday, 7 January 2011

Anime: Review of interesting action/drama "Tekkonkinkreet"

This Japanese animated film isn’t going to be for everyone, but you will probably like it if you liked the weirdness and the action of The Matrix or Akira and the colour of Slumdog Millionaire. Starring two brothers, Black and White, known as the Cats, who roam the streets and stamp their authority over the area, much of the drama comes from the fact that they are both children, making their way on their own, carrying out death-defying street-running stunts; but, because of how young they are, the violence they get into is quite disturbing, the measures they take to protect one another necessarily lethal.

Why are they being attacked by Terminator-like, unstoppable blue figures, silent figures who appear with little explanation, as if from some advanced alien future? They have been set on the Cats by Snake who wants to modernise Treasure Town and bring in more money for the Yakuza. The gangsters are trying to change, despite growing pains, and the brutal tactics they take mirror Black’s journey, who, as the older and more canny brother, becomes wilder in defending their street lifestyle.

There are mysteries a-plenty in the town, especially the bond between Black and the childishly playful White, with her strange, probably psychic, insights. And the theme of loss of innocence as the city changes pervades the story, including a brief scene depicting the two cops (whose empty threats are ignored by the gangsters) visiting a strip club for the first time to meet an older Yakuza. Perhaps the blue men are figures of an unstoppable amoral future, or show how the city is being taken over by a modern alien world outside.

With a shocking climax that takes us further away from the reality of the colourful city, it’s clear that in this town the price of safety is corruption, but what kind of safety does it buy? And can corruption be undone? These are questions left ambivalent despite a satisfying end to the brothers’ story. Maybe too disturbing or weird for some, I found this action-packed and interesting story highly entertaining.


sheepdan said...

Recently watched this too... very well written, and lots of interesting juxtapositions between the old and new gangsters. Quite dark in places, though, more than I was expecting from the cover image!
I've heard the manga of it is good too.

Richard Townrow said...

I was also surprised by the brutality/nods towards inner rage and corruption.

Looks like there's three volumes of the manga. It's annoying how hard it can be to track down a whole series.