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Tekkon Kinkreet
Author: Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.

Tekkon Kinkreet

Taiyo Matsumoto

Although I've heard of Tekkon Kinkreet, I haven't seen the film. When the book first arrived, I thought it was a telephone directory, as it enjoys a much larger format than most manga.

The story follows two youths, Black and White, who patrol a futuristic city and run wild, beating up those they perceive to be the "bad guys" and protecting their territory. Fierce and moody Black protects the deceptively simple-minded White, and everyone in the city knows who they are.

I have to say that initially the art style didn't appeal. You only have to look as far as today's other manga review, Kujibiki Unbalance, to figure out what style appeals to me, and this is as far removed as you could possibly get. Distinctively European in style and execution, the messy, sketchy style soon becomes strangely alluring, as it's as big a part of the charm as the city itself, and you realise that, drawn any other way, it just wouldn't have the same impact.

The city is a mess - everyone can see it, except White, who finds it beautiful and alive. The two boys become embroiled in a turf war, and their friendship is tested when circumstances take their toll on Black.

The writing is minimal, but the star of the book for me was the philisophical Rat, an ageing gangster who returns to the city that "made" him with an eye for nostalgia and a warm, if scarred, heart. Always smiling, he sees the world through weary eyes, and the contrast between him and the two young boys was the most appealing part of the book to me.

In an age of restless and violent youth, Tekkon Kinkreet is a rare gem - insightful, thoughtful and, above all, geniune with it's characters, it may not look like the manga you know, but it's one of the rarest gems available, and I'd urge anyone to give it some shelf space.

An oddity, but a damn fine read and worthy of anyone's shelf space.
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