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Banish all dogs. Save Megasaki City of Uni Prefecture!
~ Mayor Kobayashi

Mayor Kenji Kobayashi is one of two main antagonists of Wes Anderson's 2018 stop-motion film Isle of Dogs. He is the corrupt mayor of Megasaki City who wants to exterminate every dog. He is the distant uncle of Atari Kobayashi and the boss of Major-Domo.

He was voiced by Kunichi Nomura.

Biography

Kobayashi signs a decree banishing all dogs to Trash Island, despite the scientist Professor Watanabe insisting he is close to finding a cure. The first dog to be banished is Spots, a bodyguard dog who belonged to Atari Kobayashi, the orphaned nephew and ward of the mayor.

Six months later, Atari runs away from home, steals a plane and flies to Trash Island to find Spots. Crash-landing, he is rescued by dogs Rex, King, Duke, Boss, and Chief. They decide to help Atari locate Spots, although Chief, a former stray, is reluctant to fraternize with humans. Initially believing he died months ago after his cage failed to open upon arrival, the dogs soon learn there was a mixup and Spots may be alive elsewhere on the island. After a skirmish with a rescue team sent by Kobayashi to retrieve Atari, and the insistence of a female purebred named Nutmeg, Chief has a change of heart and decides to accompany Atari and company on their search.

Meanwhile, Professor Watanabe finds a cure, but is poisoned by right-hand man Major Domo's men so that the dogs can remain on the island. Foreign exchange student Tracy Walker suspects a conspiracy and begins to investigate. She confronts assistant scientist Yoko Ono, a former cohort of Watanabe, who confirms Tracy's suspicions and gives her the last remaining dose of the cure.

Atari and the dog tribe decide to return to Megasaki City to attempt to prevent Kobayashi to exterminate all the dogs on Trash Island. At Kobayashi's election ceremony, he prepares to give the order, but Tracy presents her evidence of his corruption and the cure's existence. Atari and the dogs also arrive and confirm the cure works. Kobayashi has a change of heart, but Major Domo finally snaps as Kobayashi broke Domo's campaign promise. A fight ensues in which Domo successfully presses the button but the electronics are hacked which causes them to fail, thanks to a friend of Tracy's, allowing them to escape. During the fight, Atari and Spots are gravely injured. Atari's only remaining kidney fails, but Kobayashi, admitting his mistakes, donates his own to save the boy. By election law, mayorship of the city falls to Atari, and he decrees that dogs be allowed to reintegrate into society.

Meanwhile, Mayor Kobayashi and Major Domo have been put under arrest and sent to prison for their crimes. Major-Domo is facing a possible death sentence for forcing an attempted extermination of the dog race, and Mayor Kobayashi and his propagandists and co-conspirators are paying fines of no less than ¥250,000 (which is approximately $2,500 USD) and doing under 30 days of community service.

Spots recovers from his injuries and raises his children under the Kobayashi Manor, Atari and Tracy become a couple, while Chief reunites with Nutmeg and takes up the role of bodyguard for Atari.

Gallery

Trivia

  • While Atari gives out his speech for the dogs, the Mayor nearly crosses the Moral Event Horizon before confessing his misdeeds. His former right-hand man Major-Domo would later cross the Moral Event Horizon by forcibly initiating the extermaination of the dog race.
  • In the exact opposite of this film's backstory of the Kobayashi dynasty, historically there was actually a Japanese Shogun known for his love of dogs, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (1646-1709), who was known for instituting animal protection laws, particularly for dogs.

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