Japan Release Date: 23rd December 2006
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 11th August 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I guess an anime with an American director is quite a rare thing. I’m no authority on the subject, but when this one came up in the listings I decided to give it a look, as much out of curiosity as anything else. I have seen quite a few anime films over the years, chiefly; I have to admit, from the rather excellent Studio Ghibli. This one was different, both in style and tone; much darker than many I’ve seen before with a very interesting plot. So what’s it about?... Here’s a very brief description.
Two young orphans, Kuro (Black) and Shiro (White) defend their home, Treasure City, against the Yakuza, who are moving in. Both are troubled in their own way and it appears that Black is looking after White, but appearances can be deceptive. When they are separated it sends Black on a downward spiral that it seems he will not get out of. Can White find a way to bring him back? Guess I had better not say any more or the Spoiler Police (Anime Division) will be drawing up something nasty for me.
A very interesting style to the animation; quite simplistic in a way, some of the cityscapes reminded me a little of the work of the artist L. S. Lowry. Still, great to look at and also quite a complex plot; maybe complex is the wrong word here, let’s say I found it quite complex but that may be because I was following it via the subtitles (never all that easy with a very wordy script). Performance-wise, I know it’s quite hard to tell in a foreign language, but I’ll give honourable mentions to the voice talents of; Kazunari Ninomiya as Kuro / Itachi, Yû Aoi as Shiro, Yûsuke Iseya as Kimura, Kankurô Kudô as Sawada and Min Tanaka as Suzuki.
Having read a few reviews I’ve noticed that several reviewers struggled to get into this one. I had no problem, although I did find some of the plot a little too far-fetched. Yes, it’s obviously set in a different world to our own but its roots seem very grounded here; the ‘flying men’ were (maybe) a step too far (for me). Having said that, I still found it quite satisfying and highly enjoyable! Certainly one I would watch again at some point; if just for the fantastic ‘minator’ sequence.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED.
My Score 7.3/10
IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 4,507 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 65/100: (Based on 9 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 32/100 ‘Want To See’ (based on 7,335 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Shiro: [opening lines] Paper money is bigger than metal money. Nine comes after eight. And Spring comes after winter, right, Black? Is that right? Black, when the sky turns black why do I feel so blue?
Suzuki: Unfortunately, your luck is waning. This is not a time to be greedy. Maintain the status quo.
Kimura: What's that, Mr. Suzuki?
Suzuki: Kimura, you believe in astrology?
Kimura: I believe in nothing.
Suzuki: Nothing, huh? At least believe in love, Kimura. Love is all you need.
Shiro: Hey, Black, nighttime is sad. Guess it's because the dark makes me think about dying.
Kuro: Don't worry, White. Nobody will ever break us apart.
Shiro: Be happy, Be happy
Jiccha: What is it about fire? So calm and peaceful but... inside, all power and destruction. It's hiding something. Just like people do. Sometimes you have to get close to find what's inside. Sometimes you have to get burned to see the truth.