About a Boy 

And his demigod surrogate dad, in The Boy and the Beast.

mg_movies2_3821.jpg

Veteran Japanese animator Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and the Beast opens this week in select theaters opposite Only Yesterday, the latest animated feel-gooder from Studio Ghibli. We chose to review Hosoda's kids/martial arts/monsters film instead of the Ghibli because: 1) Ghibli's righteousness has grown tiresome; 2) Boy-Beast is told from a strictly male perspective, generally a rarity in animated family movies these days; and 3) We liked the looks of Kumatetsu (voice of Koji Yakusho), the crude, bear-like demigod from the shadowy spirit kingdom of Jutengai, who adopts a bitter, unwanted human boy named Ren (later renamed Kyuta) off the streets of Tokyo's Shibuya district and turns him into a caring and valiant young man.

As written and directed by Hosoda, it's a plea for more spiritual expression in the human world, from the point of view of the traditional Japanese animal spirits who dwell in a parallel netherworld. The sugar that makes that medicine go down is Hosoda's artwork. His depiction of modern Tokyo is more wondrous than real life could possibly be, ditto the splendiferous cityscapes of Jutengai. Meanwhile, the kid Kyuta is drawn very much in the old-fashioned manga style, especially in his exaggerated facial contortions.

The plot itself is a little less interesting. In one of his trips back to the human sphere, Kyuta meets and falls in love with a female fellow student, Kaede, also a bit of an outcast. She and his surrogate father Kumatetsu see to it that the disaffected boy learns to "hold the sword in your soul" in order to "reach a state of non-ego." These are worthy goals for all us. Pixar and Ghibli, please note.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Movie Review

  • Black Cinema

    Fifteen Black-themed films you should've already seen.
    • Jun 10, 2020
  • A Star is Bored

    Coming soon to a screen near you: your own Covid-19-themed horror feature
    • May 27, 2020
  • Crossing the Streams

    From the new releases everyone's talking about to the cult classics they should be, here are five things to stream and skip this week.
    • Apr 22, 2020
  • More »

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay

2020

© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation