Despite its intimidating 600-plus pages, Tekkon Kinkreet: Black &andamp; White by Taiyo Matsumoto rockets along at breakneck speed; before you know it, the story has ended, and you find yourself flipping back through the book for a lengthier gaze at Matsumoto's explosive, neo-punk artwork. The full-throttle, splash-and-dash illustrations perfectly suit the wild, action-fueled story: A pair of fiendish little street urchins sharp-as-nails Black and sweet-but-brutal White defend their hold over the city's violent underworld against a gang of yakuza who want to take control. What could easily have been a work of pure, unmitigated ultraviolence instead has numerous unlikely moments of tenderness and humor, thanks to Matsumoto's nuanced writing and obvious affection for his characters. The book has also been made into a movie available on DVD.

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