Friday, July 25, 2008

Black and White Tekkon Kinkreet All In One, Taiyo Matsumoto, Review

Good Morning

I was reading Tekkon Kinkreet Black & White All In One by Taiyo Matsumoto on the train in from work. It is a really incredible manga. Some of the content defies definition. It is about an orphan pair of children who look to be about ten or eleven years old in a run down city, Black and White. There are some very unusual things about them. They are extremely violent, they also can fly which makes for a very strange story. In an odd way, they are almost super powered.

They are in conflict with various denizens of the city including the yakuza, foreign criminals, and other street gangs. They seem to be the spirit of a city which has turned into a rather nasty slum. The characters are interesting. They get help from a drunken old man sometimes. Interspersed with their violent dealings are various episodes like visiting a video arcade, eating apples, going to the public baths, pickpocketing money during a boxing match, and mugging people for their watches.

The art work is stunning. It has an odd feeling, somehow. It is mostly drawn in black white. The drawings are not traditional, they have a rough quality to them which makes them both childlike and at the same time very dark. Towards the end of the story, Black gets separated from White and takes on the spiritual aspect of the Minotaur, the destroyer of men. He fights two assassins who also can fly and kills them. At moments there are pictures of a good Black and a Black that is the essence of evil.

White weres a kind of a weird outfit with a lion mask, and regular all white childrens clothes, Black wears a necklace of a big skull, aviator goggles, and black clothing. This makes them odd. They also sometimes carry big metal pipes.

There is a lot of strangeness in this story. For example, Black and White meet another pair of street children, Dawn and Dusk with powers. You see them on top of buildings, sitting on telephone wires, jumping on moving cars. The two children are completely without fear. Also, they sleep in an old rusted out car. There is a little plot of land where White has planted an apple seed.

The villain is a foreign asian man with rings on his fingers and in his ears. He is trying to build an amusement building for children and take over the town. The villain wants to change the whole character of the city into something like Disneyland. He wants to unite the yakuza and tear down the old strip mall which they hang out at.

Sometimes the police talk to them. They don't know what to make of the children. They have a record of violence. In one scene they attack another little kid and take his backpack. The whole story is very surreal. The story at least ends with peace in the city.

This story is definitely not for children. It is an adult story despite having super powered street orphans as the main characters. The main characters, Black and White sing naughty childrens rhymes, swear, and cause mayhem. The villains are violent. There is some nudity and sexuality. One of the yakuza is depicted talking to his wife while he is in bed about having a child. There is an odd mix of real life and otherworldly powers.

The book is an odd size 7 inches by 10 inches making it very large for a manga. The panels are also larger than usual. They are not laid out in a traditional manner and vary from page to page. The book was turned into an anime film in 2006. It is very avant garde. I am surprised that this was published. It is very unusual.  There is a parental advisory symbol on the front of the book which says "Parental Advisory, Explicit Content."

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