Sawada: Cats? What cats? Tekkonkinkreet
Fujimura: Strays. Orphans. Delinquents who rule Treasure Town. They live by the law of the jungle. The city is their playground. Underestimate them and you'll kiss asphalt.
(a mispronunciation of the Japanese word for "reinforced concrete") is an anime film by Studio 4°C
, the animation studio known for creating The Animatrix
. It was adapted from a manga
that originally was called Black and White
in English but nowadays is sold under its original title.
The plot centers around two delinquent brothers called Black and White
. Black acts as the tough, streetwise leader, while White is the childish and innocent half of the pair. Together they form the gang known as the Cats and rule Treasure Town, a decaying metropolis that is both colorful and dangerous. However, the yakuza
known as the Suzuki "the Rat" and his boss move in and their plans to change Treasure Town with negative consequences for the Cats. With the yakuza's appearance come even bigger threats to Black and White, including superhuman aliens charged with hunting them down and a mysterious creature called the Minotaur with a reputation for cruelty.
One of the central themes of the film is the duality of the orphaned brothers. White needs Black to help protect him and Black needs the upbeat White to remind him of his humanity
. Once separated from White, Black slowly succumbs
to his inner darkness
and White must bring him back.
The film is notable for having an American director, a fellow by the name of Michael Arias
, who previously produced The Animatrix
This anime provides examples of:
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The "Aliens".
- Ambiguous Disorder: White, definitely. It's made clear early on that he's somehow... different, with his immature and occasionally obsessive behaviour.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Kiddy Kastle.
- Anti-Hero: Black has a reputation for violence.
- Apologetic Attacker: Kimura, when he shoots Suzuki. He loses his composure entirely when Suzuki reminds him to ditch his gun, clothes, etc. (Much like a father seeing his son off to graduation.)
- Arc Words: "This is my town."
- "Love is all you need."
- "Don't worry, don't worry..."
- "Be happy, be happy."
- "I have the screws he's missing."
- Arrow Catch: The Minotaur performs one, then uses the arrow to stab an alien in the eye.
- Asexuality: Sawada says right out that he's asexual. He bucks the common stereotypes about asexuals (cold, uncaring, etc.) in that he's the most compassionate character in the movie.
- When he mentions it at a strip-show, Suzuki calls it a "sign of the times."
- Badass Cape: Black, when succumbing to the Minotaur.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: The strip club scene.
- Bathroom Stall Graffiti: The entire film is covered in graffiti, and the bathrooms are no exception.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Black being consumed by his doppelganger, "the Minotaur", who tempts him into becoming Treasure Town's most lethal criminal.
- Beauty Mark: Several characters have one, most noticeably White.
- Berserk Button: "I can never forgive anyone who hurts White for any reason", says Black in the manga.
- Big Bad: It's complicated. Snake is the most obvious, but he states that he is taking orders from "the ultimate authority" then directly states he means God.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Suzuki is established as the main threat in Act 1, but his power quickly starts to wane. Dusk and Dawn are a comedic example.
- Bigger Bad: The Minotaur is a good contender, he nearly takes away Black's humanity.
- Bizarrchitecture: Treasure Town is a peculiar mix of early 20th century Japanese architecture and absurdly elaborate examples of classic Middle-Eastern, Indian and Chinese architectures.
- Blood Knight: Black is very... eager to defend "his town".
- Catch Phrase: "Hello! It's Japan, planet Earth calling! Agent White reporting! Do you read me? This is a very peaceful planet. Agent White: Keeping the peace, doing my best to fight the bad guys, wherever they may be. Over and out." ...And different variations of that throughout the movie.
- Also, White's attitude towards life can be summed up as: "Be happy, be happy/Don't worry, don't worry".
- Black also insists that Treasure Town is "his town".
- Cheerful Child: White, though he's actually pretty deeply disturbed and is able to remain cheerful only because of his obliviousness.
- Chekhov's Gun: Black and White's promise and the apple tree.
- Children Are Innocent: Harshly averted. Black has a little too much fun beating people with a steel pipe and White burns one of the Aliens ALIVE.
- One could argue that they are capable of these frightening acts because they are so innocent that they don't fully grasp how horrible they are. White especially is described as a true innocent by one of the secondary characters.
- Combat Parkour: The two boys, White and Black, have some incredible jumping skills when combat oriented.
- Conspicuous CG: Noticeable still, but mitigated thanks to a blend of traditional graphics with 3D animation, and the appropriate use of cel shading (for vehicles) that goes fairly well with the design of the characters.
- Constantly Curious: White. The car he sleeps in is full of interesting stuff he's picked up.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Subverted, as while this does give Black and White a lot of freedom, it's also highlighted as the root of virtually all their problems.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: White, big time.
- Creepy Crows: Black's dark personality is represented by him being followed by a crow. White is represented by a dove.
- Decoy Protagonist: Dusk and Dawn who provide exposition for the Treasure Town and the Cats at the beginning of the film, only to be thoroughly trounced by Black. They reappear later in the film to give the first warning about the Minotaur's approach.
- Defector from Decadence: Suzuki, and later Kimura.
- Delinquents: Well, duh.
- Deranged Animation: Most notably during the Minotaur sequence.
- Disney Death: For a few minutes you really do think White is going to die from his stab wound.
- Dissonant Serenity: White, when burning one of the Aliens to death and almost getting Black burned as well.
- Dramatic Shattering
- Ear In The Mail: Kimura's Establishing Character Moment is chopping off a delinquents ears and sending them to his friends.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Enemy Without...Or is it Enemy Within?
- Even Evil Has Standards: Suzuki has nostalgia for the old neighborhood and doesn't want to see it torn down. Fujimura ribs him about this, saying that he's wiftful about his own brothels and gambling houses, but Suzuki believes that his businesses performed a public service.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Snake, held at gunpoint, idly asks Kimura what motivated his betrayal.
Love, and truth. Snake: Huh
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Snake's colossal rotating metal tower looms over Kiddy Kastle.
- Face Death with Dignity: Suzuki treats death with the same mellow attitude as he does everything else, though he is a Death Seeker by this point.
- Foreshadowing: "What if Black is the Minotaur?", says one character. Other scenes of the story, including the anime's opening, also foreshadow that.
- Four Is Death: Snake and his three henchmen.
- Friendly Enemy: Suzuki and Fujimura go back a long way. Fujimura mocks the aging gangster's impotence, but quickly shows concern when he wanders alone into gang territory.
- Fun with Subtitles: The Aliens' speech is translated as a bunch of wingdings and gibberish.
- Glory Days: Suzuki flashes back to his days as an old-guard yakuza when Treasure Town was in its heyday.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kimura, whose morality improves after he's scarred, and Black, particularly the one on his hand which symbolises his inner battle with the Minotaur.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Black does wear his sometimes, if only to look cool.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Of the yakuza goons, only Kimura has the good sense to take Black seriously — but even he gets creamed by an expensive liquor bottle.
- White hits one of the Aliens in the face with a bottle to distract its attention from Black.
- Growing Up Sucks
- Heel Face Door Slam: Kimura. He's killed in a drive-by before he can skip town and start an honest life.
- Heroic BSOD
- Hope Sprouts Eternal: After failing to grow for much of the movie's duration, White's apple seed finally sprouts and blossoms during the end credits, after the brothers are reunited. In the manga, Black finds out about it just before the confrontation with the Minotaur, which leads to him keep his promise to White and refuse the Minotaur's help.
- Idiot Savant: White has the mind of a philosopher and understands people far better than they do themselves.
- Implacable Men: The Aliens can survive inconceivable blunt force trauma.
- Ironic Echo: Kimura taunts a small-time gangster by introducing himself as, "What you wish you were: a real yakuza." Kimura is stunned when Snake later reverses that same statement.
- Kill It with Fire: One of the Aliens' few weaknesses.
- Le Parkour: And also plenty of Roof Hopping and free-falling.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Treasure Town used to be a yakuza stronghold, a haven of smut and vice. Snake convinces the boss to turn it into a theme park, similar to how the mafia was edged out of Vegas by conglomerates.
- Living Emotional Crutch: White "protects" Black in this way, even more than Black protects him physically.
- Louis Cypher: Snake is suggested to be a Satanic figure, from the red suits he wears, to the superhuman strength of his lackeys. Possibly inverted; he makes allusions to doing "God's" work.
- Made of Evil: The Minotaur is the dark side of the psyche made flesh.
- Madness Makeover: Black becomes more and more unkempt and deranged looking after being separated from White.
- Madness Mantra: "Be happy, be happy/Don't worry, don't worry."
- Magic Realism: The main characters are able to jump over buildings and fly, which is given no explanation whatsoever. The Aliens' origins aren't explained either.
- Mind Screw: It seems at first that the initial acrobatics and flying is just White's fantasies. Then the flying purple men show up...
- Morality Chain: White, for Black. When White goes away, Black turns into a violent psychopath.
- Nice Hat: White is seen with a myriad of quirky hats throughout the film.
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: White's manic renditions of The Minotaur later in the storyline.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Black and White's cats and Black's raven. Possibly Bond Creatures.
- Oddly Small Organization: The Cats. There's three of them if you count Gramps, but...
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Snake decides Kimura isn't fully on his team and requests that he kill his mentor. The alternative is to come home and find his girlfriend's pregnant stomach slit open.
- One Last Smoke: Suzuki spits out his cigarette when shot. Black comes across the fallen yakuza boss and sticks it back in his mouth for him.
- Parrot Pet Position: Black and his crows.
- Perpetual Smiler: Suzuki, otherwise known as the Asian Jeff Goldblum.
- Police Are Useless: The cops are hogtied by the yakuza, and utterly overwhelmed by two kids in goggles.
- The Power of Friendship
- Production Throwback: Scenes from the "Time Boy" anime from Mind Game, an earlier Studio 4°C production, show up on television in Suzuki's safehouse as he leaves for the last time.
- The Promise: Black promised White they would save money to catch a flight and live in a house by the sea one day.
- Promotion to Parent: Black to White, although their status as siblings is unclear.
- Psychic Link: Implied between the brothers.
- Redemption Equals Death
- Retro Universe: The aesthetics of the city strongly evokes urban Japan in The Fifties and The Sixties (with a dash of pan-Asian elements mixed in), complete with period everyday items and vehicles.
- A minor hint of the years in which the show takes place does surface early on, explaining the aesthetics. Suzuki is depicted reading an astrology book for 1967/Showa 42◊, implying the storyline unfolds between the summers of 1967 and 1968.
- However, there's a scene from an arcade that has games that seem to belong to the 1980's.
- Room Full of Crazy: The room that is given to White halfway through the movie goes from being full of ordinary drawings to crazy towards the end.
- Rule of Symbolism: When White is stabbed through the torso, his blood pools around him into a circle. Snake's jacket sports the same red symbol.
- Satisfied Street Cats Though they do hope to someday escape Treasure Town.
- Scars Are Forever: Kimura, after having his ass handed to him by Black. Also, Black has a scar over his left eye and another under his chin, then a third on his hand by the end.
- Scenery Porn: Up to Eleven!
- Shout-Out: At one point, we see a back-alley doctor with a scar dividing his face, with one half darker than the other.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Black and White, obviously. Black even wears a coat with a yin-yang symbol on it.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!
- Snakes Are Evil: Snake is quite possibly the most despicable character in the film.
- Snow Means Death: White hates winter for this reason. Black loses his moral compass in the Winter chapter.
- Sociopathic Hero: Black can somehow pull off an array of brutal assaults while grinning like a lunatic and still be sympathetic.
- It helps that a lot of people he attacks had it coming. Like the yakuza he beats up early on.
- Super Speed: The Alien assassins and the Minotaur.
- Superpowered Evil Side: The Minotaur to Black.
- Trippy Finale Syndrome: The journey into Black's deranged mind seems to last about 15 minutes before skipping to a Distant Finale which is wildly different in tone to the rest of the film.
- Villainous Rescue: The Minotaur easily defeats the Aliens who were about to kill the depressed and confused Black at the end.
- Waxing Lyrical:
- Worm That Walks: A pecular variation - a giant crow made out of hundreds of ordinary-sized crows flying in precise formation.