Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Boy and the Beast
Released February 26th 2016 (NYICFF 2016) March 4th 2016 (Limited Release) released July 11th 2015 (Japan)
1 hr 59 mins
Rated PG-13
Action, Adventure, Animation


Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Writers: Mamoru Hosoda

Kōji Yakusho as Kumatetsu
Shōta Sometani, Aoi Miyazaki (child) as Kyūta/Ren
Suzu Hirose as Kaede
Yo Oizumi as Tatara
Lily Franky as Hyakushūbō
Masahiko Tsugawa as Sōshi
Kazuhiro Yamaji as Iōzen
Mamoru Miyano, Haru Kuroki (child) as Ichirōhiko
Kappei Yamaguchi, Momoka Ono (child) as Jirōmaru
Sumire Morohoshi as Chiko
Keishi Nagatsuka as Kyūta's Father

Kumiko Aso as Kyūta's Mother

Review by Stephen M.

When Funimation decided to bring over The Boy and the Beast and that it would open the New York International Children's Film Festival, anime fans were excited to see Mamoru Hosoda's latest film.  With a solid track record including Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through  Time, Mamoru is slowly  building a reputation of amazingly original stories that are beautifully animated, drawing comparisons to Miyazaki.  The Boy and the Beast in comparison to his other works doesn't disappoint at all.

The story focuses on Ren who loses his mother while his father is not around since his mother and father divorced.  Sole child to a rich family, he rejects all of this angry that his parents are no longer there for him.  He is drawn into the Beast Kingdom world with one of the lords, Kumatetsu choosing Ren as his pupil and renaming him Kyūta because of his age.  The two's constant battling with each other with their strong personalities makes for a delightful tale of growing friendship with amazing voice acting by Kōji Yakusho and Shōta Sometani.  From the character designs to the backgrounds to the animation especially the battle scene with the whale is just jaw dropping in a good way of course.  The only negative for me for the film is a bit of predictability towards the end.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film which is appropriate for younger teens and up.  For the most part very light-hearted until towards the end.  Incredible adorable characters with humor that will appeal to both boys and girls, stunning imagery, this has been one of the best anime films that I have seen in ages.  I cannot wait to see what comes next from the creative mind of Mamoru Hosoda.

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5 Stars

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