My nineteen-year-old manga mad son tells me there is a vast difference between manga and anime. I'm also informed that nearly all manga that is turned into anime bears no resemblance to the original work, and is often supped up for the big screen. If I'm honest, I'll say that I've never read a manga or watched to much anime so I wouldn't know the difference. God forbid I call it a cartoon! A cartoon is something that contains Tom and Jerry or the Flintstones I'm reliably informed. No. Anime is a form of art. So, well and truly put in my place, I sit down to watch Tekkonkinkreet, an anime from the Studio 4o C that brought us the brilliant animatrix series?
Tekkonkireet tells the story of Black and White, two street urchins who watch over Treasure Town as the vigilante group called the Cats. Thirteen-year-old Black is the older of the two siblings, trying to save what's left of his younger brothers innocence. Forced to grow up quickly whilst living in an abandoned car under a freeway, Black has mastered most of the martial arts, and isn't afraid to use them He has taken it upon himself to save the decaying Treasure Town from the evil grips of the Yazuza as well as look after his younger brother, White.
White, on the other hand, is finding the growing up very difficult. Thinking it's an achievement counting to ten at the age of eleven, he really couldn't live without his brother, whereas I get the impression that Black finds him a bit of a burden...
White slowly loses his sense of reality as the film progresses and is taken into protective custody by the police. Meanwhile, Black continues his lone battle against the Yakuza, led in Treasure Town by Suzuki, who has been entrusted by the big boss with clearing out for a new development. Yakuza sells out to Snake, a big gang leader more intent in wiping out the cats than actually developing Treasure Town.
Helmed by first time director Michael Arias, as a first time anime viewer, I got the impression that the story was actually being written as it went along. Characters would appear from nowhere and become big part players in the story - often with no explanation as to what, why or who they were. Confusing to say the least. And confusion reigned supreme in the films climax. The first time I watched it, I really don't know what was going on...I watched it a second time in English and caught on - kind of. I think the film has some deep underlying message that went flying way over this reviewers head.
Whilst the story may be little confusing, the visuals are, as usual for anime, stunning. The attention to details is astonishing. Some big Hollywood directors should look at films like this and take notes - particularly on the continuity side of things. The characters develop nicely along the way and we see a very dark side to Black. Mercy is certainly not a word he knows the meaning of. In fact right up until little White starts going a bit mad, I was really enjoying this movie - I then kind of lost the plot a little both times I watched it.
I've been assured that lovers of the anime genre will lap this one up. Fans of more conventional animation should stick to Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones. The violence is there, maybe not so graphic, and the stories a little easier on the grey matter