Orphaned on the mean streets of Treasure Town, lost boys Black and White must mug, steal and fight to survive. Around them moves a world of corruption and loneliness, small-time crooks and neurotic police officers, and a band of sadistic yakuza who have plans for their once-fair city. Can they rise above their environment? Surreal manga influenced by European comics.
Tekkon Kinkreet was published in English as Black & White by VIZ Media from March 8, 1999 to November 20, 2000. VIZ Media republished the series in a complete omnibus under the VIZ Signature imprint on September 25, 2007.
After watching the anime there was no way that I would pass up the chance to read the manga. The result was something that was great but was completely different from anything that I expected.
Story: The story has several components. The first and main story follows Kuro and Shiro (Black and White) as they struggle to defend their territory and adapt to a changing city. Another follows the Rat as he also tries to fit in with adapting times. There's Kimura, who tries to find his own way and make his own path. Add in a few cops who realize
that the city is going to hell and alien assassins and those are the storylines. Events force the characters into their situations and they struggle to adapt to them. The manga, however, is not structured around the plot, it's based on the characters and how they react, so the story doesn't really have to be amazing.
Art: This is the biggest shock of the manga. I was really expecting a Japanese drawing style that was different from the other stuff I've read. However what I got was something that I didn't expect at all. Instead of getting something in the Japanese style Tekkon Kinkreet is done in the style of western independent comics. The art pays no attention to structure, the buildings are completely all over the place, distorted and wobbly. The characters are....interesting. I want to say that they're drawn really loosely...but that's not the word for it. The whole art-style is very loose and it really works well with the manga. There is little to no shading and there's almost no detail to anything. This is in contrast to the anime where everything is incredibly and painstakingly detailed. However the art really works and it's quite refreshing to look at.
Character: How the characters change and interact with each other is the best thing about this manga. Black's relationship with White is deep and complex, it's hard to figure out who's helping who. Most of the character's have positive relationships with each other even though they're on opposite sides of the law. It's a wonderful thing to view and it gives the manga a very familiar, cosy feel. Every character changes as the city changes and there's never a static moment between them.
Enjoyment: Even though it was something I didn't expect it to be, I still really enjoyed this manga. It's definitely something that a lot of people should read. It's different, it's well-written and drawn....there's no downside to it. Maybe the one thing about it that's hard to define is it's genre. It's not a light manga, there's no real comedic relief...so it's pretty heavy. But it's not.....really dark, there are definitely dark moments, but it's not....depressingly dark. Anway, it's an amazing manga that you should definitely check out.
I started reading Tekkon Kinkreet basically without any prior knowledge of what it's about and finished it over the weekend. I'm writing the review mostly just because there's currently only one review^^
The story has a pretty straightforward pace to it and doesn't really play around with any overly elaborate or complex plotlines. A few of the different mini-plotlines actually have a bit of a lush slice-of-life feel to them, which I found mostly enjoyable. It's suprisingly unpredictable, though.
There are a few absurd moments in the story, often related to the "abilities" of the main characters. It's not really clear to me whether all of the
kid's "supernatural abilities" are actually real or whether some of them are just the characters living inside their own head and imagination. The way they live through their fantasies is presented in a way that often doesn't make it easy to distinguish what's real from what's made up, and while this sounds chaotic, I actually thought it really fits the athmosphere of the story well.
Though I'm not sure if this presentation is always intentional, or if in some cases it's just due to some lackluster art and page construction. Which brings me swiftly to my next point lol
The art is not at all comparable to traditional manga art and probably not for everybody.
I think it's biggest strong points are in the imaginative illustration of the environment and background panels. You can tell the mangaka created this with a lot of passion and creative juice. His drawings aren't the greatest, though.
Movement isn't conveyed very well, gravely hurting the fight and action scenes, and I think the panel layout is a bit odd sometimes, throwing the readers eyes off from their tracks. Page structure in general is a bit of an issue here.
Also a little tip for anybody planning to read this: Despite being labeled as a manga, it's actually read from left to right, like a western comic. Kinda threw me off in the beginning lol
This aspect is really the meat and potatoes of the whole thing.
The 2 main characters are unique and the driving forces for the story. Both present distinctly different looks at their environment, but work best when they're together (hence the names Black & White).
The most important secondary character is the city itself, Treasure Town. Black claims it like a property (often calling it "MY city"), while White is often referred to as the "soul" of the city and his seemingly supernatural abilities are strongly linked to it. It's a fascinating and weird town, yet still has a cohesive internal logic to it that let's even the weirdest parts be believable. It's my favorite part of the story and arguably the most fleshed out "character". Essentially everything in the story revolves around the city's impact on the characters and how they react to it.
The rest of the supporting cast is small, but mostly well grounded. They really only appear either speaking with/about Black & White or making refernces to the changes of the city, which I suppose is kind of the point (and part of what makes me list the city as a a character).
Tekkon Kinkreet isn't really for everybody, but has the potential to really hit home strongly for some people. It's character driven and I love the presentation of the setting. The art is an acquired taste, so to speak.
I have not seen the animated movie yet, but plan on doing so. Since most of what made me knock this down to a 6-rating relates to aspects that I believe video animation can "fix" easily, I'm expecting to like that version a lot more.
So don't mistake the rating as a non-recommendation, I most definitely recommend you giving this story a chance!