The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children): When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he's taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who's been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely family will be put to ultimate test-a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.
Part of the "summer autocinema" programme, in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2017) See more »
Kyuta thinks he can stand on his own two feet already, but really he still needs someone to help him. I may be small-time chump, but I'm still gonna help him. I'll make up for what's missing inside his heart. That's the one thing this small-timer can still do!
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Love anime, especially the best of Studio Ghibli (particularly the likes of 'Spirited Away' and 'Princess Mononoke'), and love animation in general.
Having loved Mamoru Hoshoda's previous three films, it was inevitable that his latest film 'The Boy and the Beast' was highly anticipated. Was not let down, it may be Hoshoda's weakest film but that is just testament to how wonderful 'The Girl Who Leapt in Time' (my favourite), 'Summer Wars' and 'Wolf Children' are, though picking a favourite between them was difficult. Because 'The Boy and the Beast' is still a very good film, two thirds of it even being great. Is it the most original anime there is? No, there are some familiar tropes here though in no way is this a bad thing. Have these tropes been executed a little more imaginatively elsewhere? Sure. Does 'The Boy and the Beast' still do a good job with these tropes and the storytelling? Absolutely.
It is somewhat a shame that the final third is not as good as the first two acts. The pacing does lose its excitement while the storytelling itself becomes rushed (especially the main villain's reveal that comes rather suddenly and doesn't feel explored enough) and jumpy, meaning that the film loses some of its cohesiveness.
On the other hand, the animation is amazing. The way it's designed is almost realistically photographic, while there are some inventive shots, very natural character designs and gorgeously detailed and real-looking background art with a great contrast between the vibrant pastel colours of Jutengai and the drabness of Shibuya. The music score is a mix of rousing and melancholic, always easy on the ears and at times dream-like.
'The Boy and the Beast' was clearly written with a lot of thought and insight, and balances the funny and poignant moments beautifully. The story has familiar but universal tropes and very relevant and relatable themes (love, friendship and peace being the big ones), executing them very intelligently and inventively gripping. It's nearly always entertaining and it's touching too, with something for everyone of any age and gender.
Characters are very well-written and interesting, never being too black and white, too perfect or stereotypical. These are characters with flaws but also with enough to make one want to identify with them. The conflicts, in individual characterisation and with how the characters interact, are very believable and delivered with tension. More could have been done with the main villain perhaps but this didn't bother me.
Voice acting is very dynamic and fit the characters very well.
Overall, very good film that may be Hosoda's weakest out of a very strong filmography but is more a beauty than it is a beast. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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