Sunday, February 2, 2014

FROM THE ASHES: Segment # 18

Badass Kids...Check 

And now, time for one of those movies that wins everything. Tekkonkinkreet, a 2006 film adaptation of a three-volume manga written by Taiyõ Matsumoto and originally published from 1993 to 1994 in Big Comic Spirits, definitely qualifies as a winner. This film is directed by Michael Arias (1968-), an American filmmaker who is also based in Japan, and Hiroaki Ando as co-director. While primarily starting off in computer graphics and sequence effects, Arias has also done storyboard art, production, programming, and work on numerous other films before making his way into the director's chair for Tekkonkinkreet. Indeed a man of many talents. Hiroaki Ando is also multi-faceted in his work; as a storyboard director, CGI director, animation director, and technical director. This film has many talented people on his payroll, with numerous producers and the assist of Studio 4°C, whose works include: Memories, Spriggan, Steamboy, Justice League: Flash Point Paradox, Berserk: Golden Age Arc, Thundercats (2011), Batman Gotham Knight, Halo Legends, and many more. Another addition to this culturally diverse crew, is British electronic music duo, Plaid, as composers for the film's unique soundtrack. With such a varied and talented team to support this film, it's no wonder the film got noticed. Winning multiple awards including the Best Film Award at the Mainichi Film Awards, best original story and best art direction at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, and animation of the year from the Japan Academy, and much praise from critics, this film superbly exemplifies talent and originality. So without further ado, let's jump right into the film.

With a wistful opening scene leading right into the colorful opening credits, thus begins our journey. Very quickly is a hyper detailed metropolis established as a feast for the eyes. Truly, this film is beautiful. As not only an anime fan, but also a film enthusiast, I can say: I love how this is filmed! With its bizarre framing, flowing sequences and flight filled angles, it's as if one is soaring through the story rather than simply witnessing it unfold. This is the tale of city vagabonds, cruising the terrain of their jungle like city, kicking ass and taking names, with a mega free running parkour style badassery. The music enthrals, the visuals enchant, and the characters entice one into being sucked into it all. The main story takes one who is corrupt but loves, and one who is pure but fears, and makes them best friends in a harsh world. Anyone viewing this can take much away from this film; justice of youth versus the plans of greedy old men, the consequences of peace and turmoil, a representation of the duality of man's heart and mind, the list goes on. While not blatantly stating anything, this clever story would seem like nothing but a slice of the hard knock life, yet it is so much more than it appears at first glance. I could watch this film a hundered times and still discover one new detail, one new thought; there's simply an abundance of content in this film. It's definitely a dark and twisted tale, with trippy images of dread and euphoria both eloquently blended in. If one looks for it though, rampant symbolism of duality seeps itself into all the imagery. One could almost call this "hidden gems and easter eggs: the movie". Yin and yang, black and white, night and day, its all there. This is most definitely a film to open one's mind to. Astoundingly detailed and complex, exhilarating to the senses, and all around a fantastic experience. Its quirky illusions and allusions may not be for everyone, but for those who would be willing to seek it out; absolutely not want to miss. As far as the voice cast, I personally found the English cast bland and the Japanese cast to be epically awesome. Gut wrenchingly great performances for sure. Be sure to check this one out!

From The Ashes, V.~

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