February 14, 2008



Reviewer: Maria Komodore
Rating (out of 5): ****

Anyone who has seen Hayao Miyazaki's extraordinary Princess Mononoke, marveling over its breathtakingly beautiful and imaginative visualizations, or enjoyed the striking look of The Animatrix, won't be surprised to hear that Tekkonkinkreet director Michael Arias was involved in both those films (and also had a hand in the visual effects for The Abyss (1989), The Prince of Egypt (1998), The Road to El Dorado (2000), among others.) This wonderfully dreamy anime marks Arias' feature directing debut.

Based on the manga by Taiyo Matsumoto, Tekkonkinkreet focuses on two young orphan boys, who look after each other in an effort to survive in Treasure Town, a rapidly evolving city somewhere in Japan that's becoming less and less friendly with every passing day. White (wearing his outrageously shaped hats) and Black (steeped in negative feelings and a certain blood thirst), spend their days roaming around the city, hopping on roofs, and climbing up electricity poles. That is until Mr. Snake (representing real estate interests that want to transform Treasure Town into a Disneyland of sorts), and old yakuza leader Suzuki (representing the good old times when the crime world was kinder), engage in a power struggle. The two youngsters inevitably find themselves in the middle of this mess, in which fighting change proves unfruitful.


With its realistic, busy, and rigorous background, its weird camera angles, and its masterfully dark and magnificently innocent inner-state and dream sequences respectively, Tekkonkinkreet comments not only upon economic interests devouring the humanity of the world, but also on big city isolation, life on the margins of society, and most of all on the choice one has to make between immersing oneself in unhealthy consuming feelings, or adopting a sunnier attitude towards life.

The DVD also includes a fun interview with British band Plaid, whose soundtrack works well for the film; an informative short documentary/diary shot during the making of Tekkonkinkreet; and Arias' own audio commentary.

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Posted by cphillips at February 14, 2008 3:52 PM