The Boy and the Beast

December 28, 202196/10056514 min
Alt. Name
Bakemono no Ko
Release Date
July 2015
Run Time
1 hr. 59 min.
Studio Chizu
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Art Style
Animation Production
Rating Summary
There are only three words needed to describe this film: An instant classic! With the beautiful story mixed with the beautiful animation and music, this film will be a hit with anyone who watches it, young or old. If there is only one film you will expience in your anime lifetime of this century, The Boy and the Beast would be a hard choice not to put in the number one spot.

The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 Supernatural Adventure anime film by one of the most followed Japanese animations, Studio Chizu. At the same time, this studio has created some of the most beautifully crafted anime films outside of Studio Ghibli. It would be crazy to assume that every creation that comes from any studio is never perfect but are the fans of Mamoru Hosoda correct with their praise of a movie that was stated as being better than any Miyazaki film? Can a person who has been part of so many franchises like Digimon. One Piece and even GeGeGe no Kitaro write, direct, and even create the studio behind the film create something so magical and entertaining that will captivate its audiences and make people want to rewatch the movie over and over again?

Two souls, living very different lives, wander alone and isolated in their respective worlds. The last person who treated him with kindness for nine-year-old Ren has been killed, and his family shuns him. With no parents. No real family and no place to go, Ren escapes into the confusing streets and alleyways of Shibuya. Through the twists and turns of the alleys, Ren stumbles into the intimidating Kumatetsu, who leads him to the beast realm of Shibuten.

For Kumatetsu, the boy represents a chance to become a candidate to replace the Lord of the realm once he retires. While nearly unmatched in combat, Kumatetsu’s chilly persona leaves him with no disciples to teach and no way to prove he is worthy of becoming the Lord’s successor.

While the two share different goals, they agree to help each other reach them. Kumatetsu searches for recognition; Ren, now known as Kyuuta, searches for the home he never had. As the years pass, it becomes apparent that the two are helping each other in more ways than they had initially thought. Perhaps there have been more minor differences between them, a boy and a beast, than the two had ever realized.

When it comes to the storyline of this film, the story is written exceptionally well, and the pacing is evenly made where the viewer won’t get bored. The character growth within this film is outstanding and surprisingly well made and shows the writer’s master of his craft. There were plenty of surprises within this film that would leave the viewer shocked and on the edge of their seats multiple times.

Though what makes this story even better is the subtle details within the characters and the world they are building simultaneously.
What makes the worldbuilding inside this film so remarkable is that it is boosted to a higher level due to the extensive character development. The viewer will think that there is not much going on, but they’ll realize that they are calling on aspects that they missed or didn’t find necessary during the movie. Having the ability to create a story that is exciting and magical with every viewing is not only complicated, but it is uncommon for any form of entertainment to have this level of storytelling within a singular film.

Though nothing is ever perfect and given that there are slight problems within this story that people may find troublesome is not uncommon. For instance, this story is heavily philosophical and psychological, and if someone is looking for a relaxing movie in the background that they don’t have to pay attention to, this is not the one. Another problem that some viewers may find within this film is that the story lacks an emotional level once the main character becomes an adult. Having it paced so fast may have them feeling like they missed some critical points within the story. Though these two problems within the story are few and very slim, the other problems one may experience within this movie’s story don’t damper the enjoyment.

When viewers watch The Boy and the Beast, they will experience the kind of artistic talents that few anime series and films have reached pure beauty. The artistic style of this film is magnificent and breathtaking that will open the viewers’ minds to the beauty that is anime, but the craftmanship that the artists have accomplished. The character designs are memorable, and the backgrounds look like they were taken directly from an art museum. Though many films get a bigger budget than series and use their resources appropriately, viewers will not be disappointed with this film’s artwork.

As with many of Hosada’s original films, he is the sole writer and director. However, what brought this film to a brand new and unexpected level was the original soundtrack played throughout the film. Each piece was beautifully created and placed in the most appropriate times to boost the emotional impact to a higher level of appreciation. The way the characters are designed mixed with the music and the voice actors throughout this film is incredible, if not borderline perfection. Don’t underestimate the power of a good story with a creative team behind a project cause this film will make anyone fall in love with anime.

Kumatetsu is the anthropomorphic main character of the film, and his personality is best described as a wild boar. He is easily angered and doesn’t understand the subtleties of talking with people in his species or humans. He is one of two people up for Lord of the Beast Kingdom, but he must have pupils to prove to the retiring Lord that he is capable of the role. However, his anger problems and the fact that he has no one interested in being his pupil are just the beginning of his troubles. Though he is a caring and talented fighter, sometimes that is not enough to get what we want.

Ren, also known as Kyuta, is the human child within the Beast Kingdom. He is a typical arrogant child with a hot head and doesn’t have any way to defend himself. Though on the inside, he is just as scared and lonely due to the death of his mother and the unwantedness of his family. This causes him to want to abandon his human self and become stronger inside and out. He is a quick learner and eager to prove what he’s worth if given a chance, and sometimes even if he is not given an opportunity. Though as he ages, he becomes more defined and trustworthy to himself and his friends in both the Beast Kingdom and the human world.

These two characters are an essential part of the film but don’t underestimate the power of the secondary characters within this film. The most important ones for most of the movie are Hyakushuubou and Iouzan. Hyakushuubou is a monk who is the closest friend to both Ren and Kumatetsu as they both are children in some ways need to be parented when they make a mistake. Iouzan is the other character who is up for Lord of the Beast Kingdom; he’s more popular and has many more students than Kumatetsu. While there is more about these characters than what one could write on any piece of paper, they are best experienced with one’s own eyes. They are more than just animated drawings; they’re multidimensional characters.

After viewing this film, viewers may experience the sudden pain of being over and unable to experience that “first time” feeling again. However, this film is a beautiful piece of anime to watch, and even though some anime viewers may not enjoy this type of father and adopted son type story, this movie may breakthrough that wall very quickly. This film is an instant classic and can be watched repeatedly without losing any value. This anime would be the key example of anything one could call a masterpiece of all the visual senses. Don’t allow yourself not to watch this movie anymore; add it to your “To Be Watched” list, and you won’t be disappointed other than that it took you so long to discover this beautiful piece of entertainment.

Cody Senpai

Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.

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