“The Boy and the Beast”, by director Mamoru Hosada’s made it’s United States debut on November 21 at the Hawaii International Film Festival. The theaters were teeming with viewers for both of the HIFF showings as hundreds flocked to watch the anime adventure film.
The film tells the story of a ill-tempered runaway boy named Ren from Tokyo Japan, who finds his way into the supernatural world of beasts. He becomes the apprentice of Kumatetsu, a brutish beast on his way to becoming a lord. The relationship between Kumatetsu and his new apprentice is tense as their fiery personalities conflict with each other. As their years of training progresses however, the two learn from each other. There is also a deeper struggle as Ren debates whether he belongs in the human world or the beast world.
Although the film is family friendly and aimed towards younger children, it touches on some pretty intense themes: the darkness that humans have inside themselves, the influence of loneliness and defeat, the various meanings of strength. It’s inspiring but not preachy, as Ren works vigorously to to become strong under Kumatetsu’s guidance.
The personalities and art styles of each character differentiates this film. Although a lot of the characters have absurd and sometimes obnoxious characteristics, by the end of the movie, you feel connected to each one.
With the detailed backdrop of an imaginary world and fantastic voice acting the film is definitely impressive. The merges humor and adventure to create an altogether moving film.