Oct 26, 2018
literaturenerd (All reviews)

This isn't going to be an easy one to review. I have very mixed feelings towards Tekkon Kinkreet. It's one of those anime that to me wasn't great and certainly wasn't bad. However, that isn't to say it was average. It's more accurate to say it was simultaneously spectacular, and a total piece of it ended up in the middle.

Oh and Spoiler alert! I can't really talk about why I'm conflicted with this film unless I go into some spoiler territory.

Plot and characters:

We are introduced to a wild and beautifully animated city. According to the director, this city was created by taking elements from Japan, China, and India. Our main characters are 2 orphans named Black and White. Black is an angry, brooding, violent anti-hero. White is a special needs kid who remains pure and innocent despite being surrounded by crime and poverty. Together they balance each other out and form a very obvious Yin-Yang dynamic. The first 1/4th of the film is Black and White living together in the slum called Treasure Town and defending their turf from Yakuza. We get some very touching scenes of brotherly bonding. We're introduced to the city and Tekkon gets to demonstrate its beautifully fluent animation and vibrant colors. Everything is going great. The movie at this point is safely in 8/10 territory. Then everything starts going wrong.

Around 1/3rd through the movie, an evil foreign real estate developer is introduced. This guy wants to destroy the slum where our heroes live in order to build a giant amusement park. That's right! It's time to rip off the plot of such great films as "Breakin 2 Electric Boogaloo and basically every Disney TV movie from the 90s. It gets better. The evil real estate tycoon introduces 3 super powered assassins who can fly. We're just going to throw in super powers and kick any small sense of realism out the window halfway into the movie. The tycoon's plan is to have the assassins kill Black and White. Once the 2 orphan defenders are dealt with, the rest of the slum will give up hope and evict themselves...I guess. The first assassin is dealt with when White pours gasoline on him and sets him on fire. White is pretty pleased with himself and says "Maybe this whole rotten city should burn!". WTF Tekkon!? We're over halfway through and out of fucking nowhere you turn the sweet retarded kid into Rorschach?! White ends up getting injured by the 2nd assassin and is taken into protective custody. We also get a touching, tragic scene in which one Yakuza thug is forced to kill his old boss at the behest of the tycoon. The Yakuza guy loved his old boss, but the Tycoon will kill his family if he doesn't obey. The boss understands this and accepts his fate. It's probably the best scene in the entire movie and if had ended here, we would still be in 7/10 territory.

Now we enter act 3 and here is where things REALLY fall apart. The foreign real estate tycoon succeeds in tearing down the Treasure Town slum and building an amusement park...surrounded by more Chinese/Indian slum. I can't wait for Disney World to build a park in the endless, sprawling slums outside Bengal! The tycoon though is STILL obsessed with killing Black and White! He develops a plan to kill Black in the middle of his own amusement park using his remaining assassins. Never mind the fact this would create a massive panic and badly hurt visitor numbers to his park. Character motivations in this film make zero sense. Speaking of which, the yakuza thug reports back to the tycoon and just decides "fuck it! I hate this guy too much!". The thug kills the tycoon and gets shot in return. Whelp, his family is fucked. It also completely undermined the best scene in the movie. We aren't done yet though! Black goes completely insane without having White by his side and develops multiple personality disorder. We're 90% in and its time to just throw in multiple personalities. Since we have no time left, Black quickly kills the assassins and banishes his dark personality in 5 minutes simply by thinking about White's innocence. This is definitely the fastest and easiest I've seen dissociative identity cured in a movie! It's almost like it had no reason to be here! Black reunites with White and the film subverts expectations yet again by ending perfectly happy with them playing at a beach. As for the 5 or so murders and 12 assaults Black commits in this movie with tons of witnesses? Who gives a shit?! It has zero repercussions! The film just kind of ends and I don't feel like anything was really learned or accomplished.

Art and Sound:

The art and animation is amazing! This film just oozes with style and personality. It has a very unique aesthetic that kind of reminds me of Yuasa's style. The soundtrack is honestly nothing special and I wasn't impressed with the voice acting. This anime was written and directed by an American guy. If this anime is famous for anything, it's that little bit of trivia. So I went with the English dub. Big mistake. White's voice actor is a 6 year old child who had no prior acting experience and according to IMDB has never worked again after this. The dub is just fucking painful in places and the soundtrack does this film no favors.


Tekkon Kinkreet is a visually stunning film! If you consider anime to be a purely visual medium and ONLY a visual medium, you can still love every second of this film. I just want to make it clear that I'm not some uncultured asshole who gives low ratings to purely visual experiences. I didn't go on Letterbox or IMDB and give low ratings to "Man with Movie Camera" or "Olympia". Those are great films and I rated them accordingly. Tekkon is in fact a narrative story and to me doesn't just fail in telling that story, it failed HARD. It still has individual scenes that are good, but the total project is just...ugh. It has this weird obsession with subverting expectations in the stupidest possible ways. I think the director just gets giddy to jerk the wheel and send us all over a cliff. Tekkon Kinkreet is like watching City of God as written and directed by a drunk Rian Johnson. No matter how pretty it looks, I just can't personally rate this one above a 6.