Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Briefly - Tekkonkinkreet

Everyone wants to claim Treasure Town is theirs in the 2006 anime Tekkonkinkreet, directed by visual effects artist and American expat Michael Arias. The two street kids named Black (the brooding one) and White (the effervescent sidekick) consider it their turf and get defensive when old style Yakuza gangsters led by Mr. Suzuki ("The Rat") regain some of their old swagger. It turns out the real problem is Mr. Snake, utilizing spacey assassins who can fly to clear away the obstacles of their real estate development plans. Black and White stand in the way of the glorified Disneylands the developers have in mind and become the prime targets. With White injured and separated from him, Black regresses into an illusory and hypnotic life that has real world implications in a showdown with the true forces of evil.

The animation in the film is very good, at times bordering on spectacular, and always atmospheric. The characterizations also have elements going for it, as the relationship between the two boys is rather touching. It was also nice to see some of the characters realizing they had more in common with those they saw as enemies than they realized. But the story is torpedoed by contrivances that are just far too convenient - plot twists are introduced out of nowhere with little plausibility. The last 20 minutes and the introduction of the Minotaur device associated with Black is where the whole thing really runs off the rails. Tekkonkinkreet has things going for it and is far from being a bad anime - it just isn't special enough to recommend it over worthier entries in the genre.

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