Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ANGST/itecture [4] : More Tokyo than Tokyo

In the animated film, based on the manga by Taiyo Matsumoto, Tekkon Kinkreet (鉄コン筋クリート -- a play on the Japanese words for 'concrete,' 'iron,' and 'muscle,' and suggesting the warring images of steel and concrete amassing against the powers of imagination) the orphans Black and White battle mysterious foreign entrepreneurs with the intention of removing the delinquents and steam rolling their home city Takaramachi (Treasure Town) to replace it with an amusement park (...a kind of Baudrillardian hyper-real?). It is in the hands of the destructive Black to save Takaramachi and the gentle White to save Black from his own darkness.

"This picture [above] shows the image board which everyone referred to when drawing backgrounds. When we got stuck, we went back to the original to find our way out. Only Shinji had absorbed everything of Taiyo Matsumoto’s world and never had to go back to the original once when he started drawing ... We had to think of everything: the distance perspectives of the streets, the positional relationship, where Kuro and Shiro lived, the size and the population of Takaramachi, the overall structure … There are possibilities of dramas in all sorts of places in these streets. Shinji put it all together and made it into this drawing of the town ... Actually, everyone in the team knew exactly where the boys were running around on this map. Also, if the scene was at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we needed to draw them with a light at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, even if they ran zigzag through the streets. Animators need to go into so much detail! Amazing!"
-- Eiko Tanaka

Careful attention to flavour and fine detail in the immaculate backgrounds of the city (in the tradition of Miyazaki Hayao) renders "Treasure Town" more Tokyo than Tokyo...

"I'm not sure if it's due to the printing materials or the inks they were using, but there's a very peculiar flavor to the graphic design of the '50s and '60s in Japan, and we thought that would be a nice way of evoking this era that's gone by or just lives on only in this one little town ... [Is Treasure Town meant to be a future version of Tokyo? It seems to have some aspects of the present-day city] ... If anything, I didn't want it to seem like a recreation of a real city. I wanted it to feel like some kind of parallel universe, like it's got futuristic elements, some sort of references to Tokyo and Osaka, but also other big Asian cities, Hong Kong certainly and Jakarta. I wanted it to certainly seem like an organic place, but something where no one's been to quite that place."
--Michael Arias

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