06th Sep2017

‘The Boy and the Beast’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Features the voices of: Randy E. Aguebor, Bryn Apprill, Kumiko Asô, Morgan Berry, Jessica Cavanagh, Luci Christian, Lily Franky, Josh Grelle, Sean Hennigan, Suzu Hirose, Chuck Huber, Ivan Jasso, Brittney Karbowski, Haru Kuroki, Mamoru Miyano | Written and Directed by Mamoru Hosoda


If you’ve ever been told to stop watching cartoons because they are for kids, this is something to be ignored. Hell, the fact that many anime is use themes not suitable for kids is proof of this. Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and The Beast is a good example of just why animation should never be ignored, and also unforgettably good.

The Boy and the Beast is the story of a young boy living on the streets. One day he stumbles into a magical world of beasts, and meets Kumatetsu, a warrior who is looking to become the leader of the animals. The only problem is, he needs to have an apprentice to prove he is worthy of this, and it appears that the boy, who he names Kyuta will be the perfect choice.

While the story for The Boy and the Beast may be a little predictable in the story that it presents to the audience, that doesn’t mean that it’s message is lessened. What we see with Kyuta and Kumatetsu is two characters that are alike, and need to learn to work together to find themselves. What is nice is the way that they go about it.

Both of the characters are hot-headed and spend most of the film yelling at each other, the important thing is though that in this arguing, they find the strength that they need, and work together well. While Kyuta should be the apprentice, they learn from each other and their similar history and become better people.

Another element of The Boy and the Beast is the danger of Kyuta being human. We are told that to have humans in the world of beasts is dangerous because of the darkness that can grow in humans. It is interesting that this “darkness” that does show in Kyuta is centred around conflict and depression. The harder Kyuta’s life becomes and the more torn he becomes between the world of humans and animals, the stronger the darkness becomes.

The handling of the darkness (depression/negative thoughts) in the movie is handled well, with the message being that it is being together with friends and family that actually helps defeat those issues. Loneliness and withdrawing from people is what strengthens the negativity, and it is by overcoming it that both Kyuta and Kumatetsu get what they want.

While The Boy and the Beast isn’t a Studio Ghibli film, the animation still has that noticeable beauty that makes animes like this stand out. The Ghibli style isn’t replicated here of course, but even in its difference, there is still impressive skill at work. One thing that is impressive is the use of busy crowds and how we see the characters. The level of detail put into the important characters draws the eye to where we should be looking, while pushing the rest into the background. There is also an epic feel to the battles, especially in some of the later scenes with characters fighting against inner darkness.

The Boy and the Beast is one of those anime movies that you can watch to make you feel good. It is one of those films that shows you are never alone, you just have to realise it. A well-handled look at depression and negativity in our lives, it really works well to pick you up and put a smile (and maybe a small tear) on your face.

The Boy and the Beast is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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