I’m gonna do these things where I’ll tell you whether I recommend the movie or not before I start a review just in case you want to dive in headfirst. If you’re a fan of Mamoru Hosoda, go watch it. If you like Hayao Miyazaki and like some action, chances are, you’ll probably like it. If you’ve never seen anime before but you’re fairly open-minded, go watch it. It’s a good movie, don’t let any of your prejudice get in the way of your enjoyment.
The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 Japanese animated movie (I know right, eww anime. Shut up it’s good shit) directed by Mamoru Hosoda. This film follows a young boy named Ren who has just suffered the loss of his mother and in a fit of rage, decides to run away. One thing leads to another, and he finds himself in an unknown world and is now the apprentice of a slobbish bear-like being named Kumatetsu. Kumatetsu is due to battle with another beast for the title of lord in his town, forgot what it’s called. In this film, we see these two dysfunctional individuals cause each other to progress as characters through their somewhat touching, somewhat hostile, Father-son relationship.
Mamoru Hosoda is my favourite anime director. I’m a sucker for his style. The way he directs the movie, some bits are loud and fun but then the quiet thoughtful moments creep up on you and you start enjoying it more than you expected to going in. It’s not even Disney quiet moment, It’s like a quiet moment from a film for adults. I don’t personally think his works are better than others, such as Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Satoshi Kon or even Mamoru Oshii, but I find myself enjoying his works way more than theirs. I like them way more than theirs. I mean I love their movies, but I love his way more. He’s a good director man, he’s got The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (very good), Summer Wars (very good), Wolf Children (this movie’s so good man, it’s too good man, I love it so much) and Mirai (definitely one of his lesser movies, but that’s not to say it’s not good, but it’s not really good enough to be one of his films). All his movies are so universal, anyone can enjoy them, perfect family movies, kids will love them, adults will love them more, Wolf Children can be for kids if you tell them to close their eyes at the right bits, not sure about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, I mean it’s not an inappropriate movie but it’s just that one bit, not even dirty but still gotta watch it with headphones in case your parents walked in, (people who have watched it definitely know what I’m talking about). Anyways let’s stray from this topic, my dad reads these, he might think I do some dodgy shit.
Wolf Children is my favourite anime movie of all time, change my mind, YOU CAN’T!
This movie is so good that I showed it to my little brother, then I showed it again to him and his friend. They laughed, they cried, Movie’s great man. It’s my brother’s favourite movie of all time. He’s got a good taste for a seven-year-old.
This movie is not without flaws. Like Chris Stuckmann said in his review of the film, it is more exposition-heavy than you would like. Some dialogue is a bit off, but that’s like every anime though, this is doing a way better job than others. And in typical anime fashion, there’s a lot of grunting. It happens a lot, I don’t know why they do it so excessively, some anime’s sound like a really intense porno. I can imagine parents mistaking Dragon Ball Z for one. Sometimes characters disappear for a bit, not a problem, in my opinion, it just makes seeing them way more rewarding, and it doesn’t let characters get on your nerves. It does have that problem where you see something in the beginning of the film, but it’s barely touched during the film and only appears again beyond the halfway point, doesn’t really matter though.
The characters in the film are really great. All the main ones have established their dynamic towards each other so everything seems natural. The movie does a subtle twist where it seems like the movie is about everything leading to this big battle, but really it’s about the two main characters. They both are flawed in their own special ways, the same goes for their strengths. This movie’s whole focus is on how these two characters help each other better themselves as people. Quite ironically, the teacher is the most flawed of the two. It’s really fun to watch these two bicker and exchange heartfelt moments together. The side characters are still good, there’s these other two that always make sure to add the bits of advice for Ren that Kumatetsu is too stupid to give. They make sure that Ren doesn’t turn out to be as much an idiot as Kumatetsu.
The animation is stunning. So smooth. Obviously not when the characters are static but the fights are beautiful. So much detail. Very bouncy for an anime. It looks a bit like a traditional western animation but still looks like anime. The backgrounds are gorgeous, the beast world, has this rural, countryside feel that really gives the place its own personality and really compliments the designs of the beasts and their clothing. The city is so detailed. In fact, it looks real sometimes. There’s constant motion and everything is so alive, while also consisting of this dead grey look, but some parts look bright.
I can’t say much about the voice acting. I don’t really understand Japanese so I watch it in the dub, which is fine. You guys could say all you want about dubs and how they’re shit, couldn’t care less. This is how it works for me, if it’s live action, I watch in subtitles, if animation, then I watch it in the dub. That is if I can stand the dub for more than ten minutes. Most are fine, but some do get irritable. I recognised Luci Christian and Eric Vale playing young and teen version of Ren. Luci Christian played Nami in the English dub of One Piece and also played in Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 as Wrath, as well as many others. Eric Vale played Trunks in Dragon Ball Z, Sanji in One Piece, Solf J Kimbley (The Crimson Alchemist) in Fullmetal Alchemist, both 2003 and Brotherhood, and many others. I could’ve sworn Steve Blum played the monkey in this but no it’s this other guy, Ian Sinclair. It was a good dub. If you’re not so against it, I would recommend it.
A lot of people have said that this is one of Mamoru Hosoda’s lesser films, no, that place is for Mirai. The movie does squeeze in a lot of themes which kind of blur what the film is trying to say, but the movie is still really enjoyable and has a lot of heart, and there probably is a clear message to take in by the end of the film if that didn’t affect you too much. If you don’t like the film, then that’s your opinion, but know this, that opinion cost you your life. I know where you live man. Imma Liam Neeson your butthole.
I know what you’re thinking, bloody hell he’s a mega weeb. Shut up, I’m just passionate about things that I think are good. If it makes you feel better, I think My Hero Academia is not that good. And people that think they’re Japanese because they watch anime and start acting like an anime character do make me want to slice my belly and rip my guts out, and I hate to use this word, but they are cringy.
Who’s excited for when Lelouch of the Resurrection comes out on blu ray by the way? Bloody love Code Geass. Why does Aniplex have to be such dickheads? All the original Fullmetal Alchemist show blu rays are out of print and now they cost like two grand. Amazon’s have run out already. My favourite show of all time as well.