Who doesn't love anime? Since its creation, anime has become a huge component in worldwide culture. At any age, anime has at least once influenced somebody's life. Nowadays, since it is more common; anime has integrated with human culture making it more of a norm in society. Either it is a thirty minute episode from a television series, or a two hour long film; anime is one of the world's favorite forms of entertainment. There are many prime examples of good animators out there, but one of the best has to be Mamoru Hosoda. His signature art style and the flow of his stories have captured the minds of many fans. From his works on animated films such as Digimon: The Movie, Summer Wars, and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time; Hosoda had created perfect examples of animated masterpieces for many generations of fans. His recent masterpiece, The Boy and the Beast, has also followed in those footsteps. The film is about two worlds: the human world and the beast world. A nine year old, run-away boy named Ren/Kyuta becomes the apprentice of the stubborn and unorganized Kumatetsu (the bear) of the Beast Kingdom. Even though they do tend to fight; rather than master and disciple they become more like father and son.
The Boy and the Beast is a film with heart and soul. The storyline was quite inspirational while the character development created an understanding toward humanity. From beginning to end, the relationship between Ren/Kyuta and Kumatetsu had plenty of tensions; but they were the good type of tensions similar to that between family members or friends. Having things in common with those you care about creates a better understanding amongst yourselves. Kumatetsu, Hyakushuubou (the pig), and even Tatara (the monkey) made it obvious toward Ren/Kyuta either it be aiding him with advice on how to clean a house, or to show compassion toward someone. There were many other themes in this film that added to its heart and soul: true strength, love, hard working, friendship, and empathy. Another theme was the dangers of one's heart while going through rough times. Humans weren't welcomed in the Beast Kingdom due to their hearts which were said to be full of hatred and darkness. Ren/Kyuta and Ichirouhiko (the two humans living amongst the beasts) had this void but it was Ren/Kyuta whom conquered it thanks to the compassion by Kaede. Though this film had a good standpoint on these themes; it did have great action and comedy. There were some parts that made you laugh while in others you were on the edge of your seat. Out of all the characters in the film, I really liked Kumatetsu and Iozen (the boar). Kumatetsu had a brash strategy when it came to fighting; using brute strength and determination while Iozen was more patient while in a fight. I do however wished that Chiko, the little white fluff ball that befriended Ren/Kyuta; had more to offer to the storyline since he was a total mystery. There were plenty of scenes in The Boy and the Beast that I enjoyed but, my favorites have to be solely around the fights between Kumatetsu and Iozen. I liked Iozen in the fights for his character and style but, Kumatetsu's determination made it even more enjoyable to watch. The reincarnation scene too was a favorite since it was definitely the highlight point of the film.
My rating for The Boy and the Beast is a definite 5 out of 5. The storyline was truly epic alongside its amazing character development. Just the feeling from this film afterwards made me feel like a totally different person. This film did in fact made me cry but, it was tears of joy. The reincarnation scene is probably the greatest example in the film for this. The anthropomorphism in The Boy and the Beast had the greatest influence on the heart and soul of the film too. It helped enhanced a unique understanding that no matter what species you are; all life is considered to be ‘human’. Everything feels love and empathy alongside hatred and fear. When you let the negative emotions take you over; sometimes what you need to cure it is the help of your family and friends. If you haven’t already seen this film, go watch it now. You’re missing out on a good anime that captures the true essence of heart and soul.