Demograph: 15+ but gets better with age
Black and White live in a clapped out Fiat 500. They are orphans, and White is retarded. Black looks after White in the dangerous Treasure Town, stealing to keep them both alive and eventually escape. When the Yakuza plan to take over the city and rid it of the verminous street-kids, Black must fight to protect White and claim the city as his territory.
I read Black and White in the much-missed 'adult manga' magazine Pulp in the late 90s. A touching, stylish and original manga, it sat well in Pulp, and well on my bookshelf.
This adaptation has a lot to offer as well. Overall I don't think it was quite as powerful as the manga, but it certainly has visual flair in surplus.
The story is Matsumoto's, and is interesting and charming though perhaps not fantastically original. The conveyance of emotion is strong; Black's emotional breakdown is touching.
Michael Arias' use of computer graphics is second to none. The beautiful, even romantic cityscapes revolve in glorious vibrancy. Like Ōtomo Katsuhiro's, Matsumoto Taiyo's designs turn mundane concrete and metalwork into true spectacles; bathed in colour, intricacy and poetry. For me, that is surely the essence of anime; one which is often spoiled by splicing-in out of place CGI or relying solely on it. Arias succeeds with his own programming, created specifically for such a task. The result is not a video game, nor a collage of disjointed media: it is simply a 3D anime.
The character designs are flawless, charming and perfectly rendered on screen. It is exactly like watching the comic.
Nice music, good voices (Japanese)...
People have complained that the characters aren't likeable. For me that is incomprehensible. White, as my girlfriend rightly pointed out (first time for everything, right fellas?), is adorable. His semi-retarded persona is only lovable. Black is also a touching illustration of the disturbed street-kid.
Someone said they couldn't feel anything for either of them because they are criminals. What kind of comment is that? Sure, they are. But that's what the story is about. Does it make films like City of God or The Godfather emotionless?
It gets a bit odd towards the end, and the ability for the children to perform fantastic acrobatics throughout is a little strange. But anime can take such liberties. However, what's the deal with the line "I gotta say I never met a tall guy worth a shit"?
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