A anime film that could have easily been a Scorsese movie, this was a time when you can really see the art of animation transcend being just animation and deserve the title of a film.
Story - 7/10
For the most part the story is pretty easy to understand and follow. Two orphan brothers must do what they have to in order to survive and in doing so become the toughest gang around. Though when that toughness gets in the way of a redevelopment project run by the returning Yakuza leader and a sinister business man and Yakuza sub-boss their fun life of crime and play becomes deadly.
For the viewer the time the story changes for the boys is the same time things start to get a bit disturbing. Generally violence towards children is kept out of most art forms, but Black and White don't have that luck, eventually being pushed to the point where White fights for his life and Black fights for his sanity. In a great twist we see how, despite always believing White depended on Black, the opposite proved to be more so.
Animation - 7/10
Tekkon Kinkreet's animation is one of the first I've come across where it seems like each frame was given to a different number of animators and they each were entrusted with a specific character. Throughout the film the animation of each character is consistent yet each is done with a different style, unlike some films and shows where throughout you can see that a single animator was given a scene and it causes the look to differ throughout the film.
If this is true, I have no idea, it's just a observation of mine at the current time, it is a very intelligent way of doing things and it helped keep balance throughout the film, where as that jolt of a new style in a two hour movie can at times take away from the story.
Another style they used, which I first noticed and came to love in Summer Story (even though this came out first) was the outlining of characters in a color other than black. When a character is colored with lighter tones I really enjoy it, as it helps him or her pop more in the frame and offers a nice visual change.
As a whole I thought most of Tekkon Kinkreet's animation was top notch, while the faces weren't the most intricate or always visually pleasing, they did well to have them convert the emotions of the character. On the other hand the scenery was amazing, always full of detail, from the building and people to the trash and clutter of a city, it was one of the first movies that really seemed to get the true feel of a city in decay and not the over the top one we normally get.
Sound - 7/10
As with many Anime the soundtrack was there to add a bit of tension and fun to scenes, but nothing that will truly jump out at you to throw on your MP3 player or get you annoyed at the film, it was an overall average score, but its what you come to expect as not every show/movie can be Cowboy Bebop or Trigun when it comes to great music.
As usual my reviews are based on the English version and this time around they managed to get the voices spot on. Every character has a voice fit perfectly to their body and personality, each actor hit exactly the right chord to make you connect with every character, shut your eyes and you'd have no idea you were listening to people in a sound booth as opposed to actors living out the scene.
Characters - 9/10
I'm so happy this film wasn't weighed down by tons of useless characters and unnecessary sub plots. Outside of our two main characters, Black and White, you can count the other major characters on one hand….if you were born with six fingers.
Despite not having the time to fully develop each character, while keeping the story moving, you do get a great sense of each person and for the most part you can tell why they are the way they are.
Black and White are a great depiction of two brothers stuck in a bad situation, one who has to unfortunately be the parent at a young age and another who is almost blissfully unaware due to the fact his brother is doing everything in his power to protect him from seeing the reality of their situation and the decaying city around them. Despite having no parents Black and White are at times being looked after by two caring cops, Sawada and Fujimura and an old homeless man named Gramps who instills his wisdom on the two.
On the dark end most of the characters are pretty standard. Snake, the evil businessman and Yakuza Leader who has a gang of Ninja Assasins at his disposal. Suzuki, the Rat, another Yakuza leader and old criminal boss of Treasure Town who's idea it is to transform the city for profit alongside the Snake. Finally there is Kimura, a man who has fallen in with the Yakuza due to some hard times. Kimura is what we would assume Black's progression would be, forced into true evil due to his circumstances.
Overall - 8/10
With all things considered this is truly a top stand alone anime film, or as I've said just as a film in general. It may have its flaws in a slightly jumbled and rushed ending, but as a whole this sits up there with some of my favorite anime films, such as Summer Wards and a plethora of Miyazaki films. With true cinematographer levels of light and dark, a nice soundtrack and a engaging story TekkonKinkreet should be on every anime fans list.
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