[For a recent discussion on the origins of Sleeping Beauty's backgrounds go here, here and here on Hans Bacher's Animation Treasure Blog.]
With regards to content Tekkon kinkurito (alluding to the Japanese words for steel and concrete) is closer to Blade Runner (1982), though. Like the famous Ridley Scott dystopia it provides us with an imaginary Asian dominated metropolis that has stimulus satiation written all over it. In this case it’s called “Treasure Town” and we’re witnessing a Yakuza/gang war about who is ultimately reigning over the city.
But while Blade Runner stands out as Ridley Scott’s masterpiece in my opinion, the story of Michael Arias’ Tekkonkinkurito leaves me cold and mildly interested at best even though it is told through the perspective of two children called “Black” and “White”.
I admire the dynamic film making though, especially the backgrounds and colors. Contrary to so many Western films, dystopian and science fiction in particular, the color concept of this Anime is not based on the blue-steel-vs-yellow-light-cold-warm contrast.
Blade Runner’s blue-yellow-sci-fi-look
In fact, Tekkon kinkurito is not primarily based on lighting but on object colors (like so many animes). Although all four basic colors red, yellow, green and blue are present, the city seems to be structured around the complementary colors red and green.
Scientifically (in the RGB spectrum), red and cyan are complementary colors.
However, throughout most of art history color theory was based on subtractive color mixing using the primary colors red, yellow and blue.
In that traditional color wheel (left), red is complementary to green (generally speaking a primary color is complementary to the equal mixing of the two others). Thus this complementary pair is still widely perceived as aesthetically pleasing.
RGB complementary colors produce grey when mixed,
RYB complementary colors produce brown when mixed.
Since complementary contrast is heightened by human perception, placing these hues next to each other makes them appear brighter. Red and green is probably the strongest of these complementary pairs, so its effect is used in many paintings and movies (e.g. Lady and the Tramp).
It is amazing how dominant red and green is in this city – green varying from olive to cyan, red from pink to ocher.
Just look at the following screenshots. It’s not always clear if red or green is dominant which gives the images a vibrancy without having to resort to oversaturation. Visual dominance of red or green also depends on value, saturation and the relative area each color covers in the picture.