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A new spin on yin-yang

Yin and yang, day and night, the balance of opposites — this idea has been so overused that it has become an eye-rolling cliche in modern media expressions, despite its profound and ancient roots.

However, Michael Arias’ adaptation of Taiyo Matsumoto’s graphic novel Black and White into a feature-length anime film called Tekkonkinkreet has breathed new life into this worn-out idea. The film is an elaborate aural, visual and emotional experience, pulling you into its richness from every direction.

The main characters are two boys, one named Kuro (Black) and the other named Shiro (White). Of course these two characters complement each other, but their integration is not a clean one as the characters bleed into each other, blurring the lines that supposedly distinguish them as opposites.

Everything else about the film is the same way: The clarity and predictability of the plotline falls apart upon close inspection, just as the buildings of the beautifully ugly city are clearly separate yet hard to distinguish from one another. Even the minor characters are constructed out of seemingly contradictory symbolism. Although yin-yang is a Daoist idea, religious symbolism doesn’t stop in the detailed art.

There’s a lot of badly done Japanese anime out there, and this is one of those films that reminds you why anime is so great and how it has become such a powerful medium of expression throughout the world. Be prepared to feel the weight of reality float and teasingly slip out from under your feet while watching this film, and watch it in high definition or you’ll miss out on more than half the experience.

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