Tekkonkinkreet: About Kids, For Older Kids
Tekkonkinkreet is very deceptive. The cover makes it look like a kids’ story about two cheerful boys who spend all their time running around a ragged city, having a grand old time. This is incredibly and mind-numbingly incorrect. This movie contains bloody violence, people being shot, people being bashed with poles, burned alive, stabbed with shortswords, and generally transported to places of physical discomfort.
Black and White are two street urchins that make up a gang known as the Cats. Black is savvy, bold, and harsh, while his counterpart, White, is a regular innocent daydreamer. In the run-down city of Treasure Town, they fight to control a turf they call theirs, fending off other gangs, yakuza… even aliens. Several characters in particular are of great importance to the plot and subplot, so they get initial coverage.
Kimura is a young member of the yakuza group trying to claim Treasure Town. He’s spent a fair portion of his life doing dirty work, and he’s starting to grow sick of all the crime. He wants to abandon the yakuza and travel somewhere far away with his pregnant wife, but fate won’t have it. Poor guy.
The Rat is a mob boss that Kimura works under; a sort of world-weary father figure who’s on his last legs, just trying to do what he can for his organization before his time is up. Surprisingly, he comes off as a very positive protagonist helper sort of character, which makes the impact of what happens to him all the more powerful.
Snake is the antagonist here. He represents an enigmatic though incredibly powerful organization that wants to change Treasure Town into a huge amusement park called Kiddie Kastle. In order to do that, however, he needs to have all competition put down. He uses Kimura and his two alien assassins to strike out against the Cats and the yakuza, deciding that the only way to get them out of the way is to kill them.
Snake is the basis of the plot, because it’s he who uses Kimura’s wife as leverage and orders him to kill his old boss. It’s he who has his two alien assassins try to take the lives of Black and White by gun and blade. This contributes to a fairly terrifying development in Black.
Within Black is a demon referred to as the Minotaur; a creature of impossible darkness and power that is kept in check by the purifying presence of White. When an assassination attempt pulls Black and White apart, everything starts to look bleak. Black finds the strength to murder the two assassins with whimsical ease, but where his physical struggle ends, his mental struggle begins…
That’s about all I can tell you about the plot. Tekkonkinkreet is a very surreal anime movie, one with a unique art style and tone that you really can’t find anywhere else. Many of you will notice an obvious focus towards visual appeal, which may very well have taken away from the complexity of the plot and characters. From a neutral standpoint, I believe that Tekkonkinkreet is a great movie with a lot to offer to its audience, from plot to characters and shiny backgrounds.
Also worth mentioning is that Tekkonkinkreet is a three volume manga series. For those of you who’ve seen the movie and know that cinematics never perfectly reflect their work of origin, the manga might be a good place to turn. I hear there’s even a three-in-one graphic novel for those of you that don’t want to worry about three separate books. Whether you get the movie or the books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. If you get nothing, then poo on you.