Thoughts on ‘The Boy and the Beast’

For anyone who doesn’t know the name Mamoru Hosoda, he’s a critically acclaimed Japanese director whose written and made recent but wonderful anime classics such as “Wolf Children”, “Summer Wars”, and the wonderfully titled and well-known anime film “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”, all three of which I have seen and hold dearly to my heart. “Wolf Children” is a touching story of family and coming of age (as well as a fan-favorite for furries such as yours truly), “Summer Wars” is a science fiction adventure great for watching on July evenings, and “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” is a cult classic for time-travel stories. And later last year, Hosoda released another potentially timeless classic for anime fans called “The Boy and the Beast”.

          The (greatly original) story is about a bitterly determined nine year-old boy named Ren who has lost his mother and doesn’t know where his divorced father is. Not wanting to live with mean relatives he runs away to downtown Tokyo and suddenly finds himself in a world thriving with anthropomorphic beasts. Not knowing how to get back, Ren is forced to become the swordsman apprentice of another bitter but powerful beast named Kumatetsu, who seeks to win a tournament for the title of Beast Lord. Through hard work and opening up to each other, the boy and the beast begin to respect each other as master and student, and vice-versa.

The immediate thing to notice and love is the wonderful coloring and lining of the animation. Not only is it unique enough to know who drew it, but it allows for quick and rapid character movement that’ll make every person in the background have a story and personality. I especially love the fight sequences and how they are both creative and intense, even by anime standards.

The main characters are very complex and likeable in how stubborn and angrily determined they are. While Kumatetsu is more tempered and more childish than his younger apprentice, Ren is more interesting because of his transformation from angry and bitter to honorable with integrity. It’s like watching your own child grow up into a skilled warrior. It also helps that Ren’s English voice actors also happen to do the voices of Sanji and Nami on One Piece.

If you’re interested, I highly recommend watching this! It’s a wild ride and a fantastically magical  adventure for family and friends and children to definitely enjoy! 🙂

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