This last Friday, I had the chance to see a new film from Japanese anime director Mamoru Hosoda called The Boy and the Beast. I must admit, this is my introduction to Hosoda’s work and I’m told his other films are stronger. I can’t say one way or another but either way I was impressed with this effort.
The Boy and the Beast tells the story of a runaway little boy named Kyuta who stumbles upon a magical land of anthropomorphic creatures called Beast Kingdom. In this land, a beast named Kumatetsu is trying to earn his place as Lord of the entire kingdom. The current Lord tells him he must find an apprentice to teach and train.
Kumatetsu sees Kyuta and decides, even though he is human, to take him as his apprentice. They then face many challenges together as Kyuta matures into a man and Kumatetsu’s curmudgeon ways are softened.
I don’t want to give any more away, but there are also subplots including Kyuta’s relationship with a human girl who teaches him how to read, meeting his long-lost father, and the rivalry between Kumatetsu and another Lordship contender, Iozen.
The finale of The Boy and the Beast is stunning but it does feel anti-climactic because of a lack of familiarity with the adversary. However, the animation involving a giant whale is gorgeous.
The visuals and animation is just stunning. I love the way the camera moves within crowds, and the lighting and shade feels meditative and calming. The martial arts sequences look very bold and captivating, and all the animation is rendered beautifully.
The story can meander a bit with some of the subplots but that didn’t bother me. The characters were engaging and the animation stunning enough to keep me engaged. There is also a lot of humor in the film that kids and adults will like, and Kumatetsu and Kyuta have a really nice bond that grows organically within the story. I am certainly anxious to watch the rest of Hosoda’s other films judging by the strength of The Boy and the Beast.
Have you seen The Boy and the Beast? What did you think and how did it compare to Hosoda’s other films?
Edited by: Morgan Stradling & Kajsa Rain Forden