The Boy and the Beast

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The Boy and the Beast
The Boy and the Beast poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Japanese バケモノの子
Hepburn Bakemono no Ko
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
Produced by
  • Yuichiro Saito
  • Takuya Itō
  • Atsushi Chiba
  • Genki Kawamura
Written by Mamoru Hosoda
Starring
Music by Takagi Masakatsu
Edited by Shigeru Nishiyama
Production
company
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • July 11, 2015 (2015-07-11)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office US$49.7 million[2]

The Boy and the Beast (Japanese: バケモノの子, Hepburn: Bakemono no Ko) is a 2015 Japanese animated action adventure fantasy film written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda.[3] It was released on July 11, 2015.[4] It won Animation of the Year at the 37th Japan Academy Prizes[5] and grossed ¥5.85 billion at the Japanese box office.[6]

Plot[edit]

Nine-year-old Ren has recently lost his dead mother. With no news of his father and refusing to live with his legal guardians, Ren flees into the streets of Shibuya. Ren steals some food and sleeps in an alley, reminiscing the aftermath of his mother's funeral.

In the Beast Kingdom, the lord has decided he will retire in order to reincarnate as a deity and names two potential successors: the popular Iōzen, who is also the father of two children, and the powerful Kumatetsu, who is lonely and lazy. The Grandmaster suggests that Kumatetsu find a disciple in hopes of inspiring him to succeed him.

While wandering the streets of Tokyo with his makeshift companion, Tatara, Kumatetsu meets Ren and suggests that the boy becomes his disciple. Though Ren is fiercely opposed, he follows Kumatetsu back to the Beast Kingdom out of curiosity but is unable to go back to the human world. As he watches a battle between Iōzen and Kumatetsu, Ren is impressed with Kumatetsu's persistence despite the lack of support from onlookers. When Ren cheers for him, Kumatetsu is easily defeated. However, the Grandmaster declares the actual duel of succession has not come yet.

Taking Ren as a disciple, Kumatetsu gives him a new name, Kyūta in relation to his age. Their initial training sessions go poorly, but Kyūta realizes that he can learn from Kumatetsu by imitating him by performing household tasks. The boy gradually finds that he can predict his master's movements to improve his fighting skills and they soon begin in training together for eight years.

Now as a teen, Kyūta has become a distinguished kendo practitioner. Through his relationship with Kyūta, Kumatetsu gained his own following of supporters, including the younger son of Iōzen, Jirōmaru, who wishes to be trained by Kumatetsu. Kyūta finds a way back to the human world, and befriends Kaede, a young student. In the process, Kyūta finds his father, who had been searching for Ren since he disappeared and wants to catch up. Torn by his double life, he is unable to reconcile the resentment he had as Ren and the lack of connections he has as Kyūta. When he rejects both his father and Kumatetsu, he discovers a powerful void within himself that nearly overwhelms him until Kaede calms him down and gives him a bracelet that has helped her when she becomes anxious.

On the day of the succession duel, Kumatetsu loses confidence without Kyūta's encouragement and is nearly subdued by Iōzen. However, Kyūta has been secretly watching and reveals himself, helping Kumatetsu defeat Iōzen. When Kumatetsu is declared the winner and the new lord, Iōzen's elder son Ichirōhiko is revealed to be a human who had been found on the streets of Tokyo as an infant and adopted by Iōzen. Having developed a vacuum in his heart like Kyūta, unwilling to believe that he is a human and not a beast, Ichirōhiko manifests telekinetic powers and seriously injures Kumatetsu with Iōzen's sword. Kyūta is nearly overtaken by his own emptiness and tries to kill Ichirōhiko, but regains his senses with Kaede's bracelet as Ichirōhiko is consumed by darkness and disappears.

Kyūta decides to leave for the human world to fight Ichirōhiko. When Kaede refuses to leave him, they are attacked by Ichirōhiko, who takes the form of a destructive whale. Unable to hold his own against Ichirōhiko, the young man decides to use the vacuum within himself to absorb his opponent's negative energy and then kill himself, saving everyone else. However, Kumatetsu uses his new privilege as the lord and reincarnates as a deity, taking the form of a sword "to be handled with the heart" in reference to their first training session together. He merges with his pupil's form, filling his empty void within him, and defeats his enemy without killing him. Ichirōhiko wakes up surrounded by his adoptive family.

In the aftermath, Ren celebrates his victory with Kaede in the Beast Kingdom and returns to the human world. After reconciling with his father and himself, he attends the local university and keeps Kumatetsu within his heart.

Voice cast[edit]

Character
[7][8][9][10]
Cast
Japanese English
Kumatetsu (熊徹) Kōji Yakusho John Swasey
Kyūta (九太)/Ren (蓮) Shōta Sometani,
Aoi Miyazaki (child)
Eric Vale,
Luci Christian (child)
Kaede (楓) Suzu Hirose Bryn Apprill
Tatara (多々良) Yo Oizumi Ian Sinclair
Hyakushūbō (百秋坊) Lily Franky Alex Organ
Sōshi (宗師) Masahiko Tsugawa Steve Powell
Iōzen (猪王山) Kazuhiro Yamaji Sean Hennigan
Ichirōhiko (一郎彦) Mamoru Miyano,
Haru Kuroki (child)
Austin Tindle,
Morgan Berry (child)
Jirōmaru (二郎丸) Kappei Yamaguchi,
Momoka Ono (child)
Josh Grelle,
Brittney Karbowski (child)
Chiko (チコ) Sumire Morohoshi Monica Rial
Kyūta's Father Keishi Nagatsuka Chuck Huber
Kyūta's Mother Kumiko Aso Jessica Cavanagh

Release[edit]

The film was released on July 11, 2015 in Japan. The film received its International Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and its UK Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 16, 2015.[11]

In December 2014, Gaumont secured international sales outside Asia and theatrical distribution rights in France.[12][13] The film opened in select theaters in the United States on March 4, 2016. The film was released in France on January 13, 2016.[14][15] Funimation has licensed the film for the US release.[16] American theater chain AMC briefly listed the film with a February 12, 2016 opening,[17] but later listed the film for March 4, 2016.[18] The film has been licensed by StudioCanal for the UK and Ireland release, Madman Entertainment for the Australian release,[19] and Mongrel Media for the Canadian release.[20]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film was #1 at the Japanese box office during its opening weekend by replacing Avengers: Age of Ultron, earning approximately US$5.4 million from 492,000 admissions on 457 screens,[21] before being dethroned by Hero 2 in second week.[22] The film was Japan's second highest-grossing film in the year 2015 with a total box office gross of (converted from yen) US$48.6 million.[6]

The film ranked #28 at the American box office during its opening weekend on March 4, 2016. As of March 16, 2016, the film has an American box office gross of $474,308.[23]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.5/10, based on 65 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Boy and the Beast combines familiar parts to create a gripping, beautifully animated adventure with inventive storytelling to match its visual appeal."[24] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 65 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25]

Mark Schilling of The Japan Times said that the film "has more in common with the “Harry Potter” series than the usual female-centered [Hayao] Miyazaki fantasy" and would later say that the storyline "stays centered on Kyūta’s long, vexed struggle to become not only strong, but also whole."[26] Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku said "[The Boy and the Beast] is an entertaining coming-of-age adventure on one hand and an excellent thematic exploration on the other. This is one of those films that is perfect for any age group—there’s something for everyone in this one" [27] Charles Solomon of the Los Angeles Times said "'[The] Boy and [the] Beast' is a bracing tale of two flawed individuals who find the love and discipline they need to assume their rightful places in their respective worlds."[28] Peter Debruge of Variety called it, "an action-packed buddy movie that strategically combines several of Japanese fans’ favorite ingredients: conflicted teens, supernatural creatures and epic battles."[29] Peter Keough of The Boston Globe gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars and wrote, "[Hosoda] does know how to mix an eclectic array of film plots and concepts into a mish-mash that seems original."[30] Pat Padua of The Washington Post wrote, "But it is the world of man, not beast, that makes this coming-of-age movie most touching."[31]

Andy Webster of The New York Times was more critical of the film, saying "Mr. [Mamoru] Hosoda is skilled with fight scenes, and his settings — the pastel-hued Jūtengai and the drab Shibuya, evoked at times with surveillance-camera perspectives and crowd-paranoia angles — are impressive. But the characterizations and conflicts here are strictly generic."[32] Sherilyn Connelly of The Village Voice said that the film "works with many common anime tropes but doesn't find anything new to say about them."[33] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars and said "A huge success in Japan, this thrilling, if overlong, epic from director Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children, Summer Wars) is part Karate Kid and part Japanese folklore."[34] Jacob Chapman of Anime News Network had a mixed response to the film and said "The Boy and The Beast is the kind of movie you put on to please a kid with its loudness and color, but promptly leave the room to do something else.[35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE BOY AND THE BEAST (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. April 11, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Boy and the Beast". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Summer Wars' Mamoru Hosoda Makes 1st New Film in 3 Years". Anime News Network. December 11, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ バケモノの子(2015). allcinema.net (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Umimachi Diary, Boy & the Beast, Bakuman Win Japan Academy Prizes". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Top 10 Grossing Domestic Japanese Films of 2015 Listed". Anime News Network. January 1, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Kōji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Shōta Sometani Star in Hosoda's The Boy and the Beast Film". Anime News Network. April 12, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  8. ^ 細田守監督「バケモノの子」声優に役所広司、宮崎あおい、染谷将太ら豪華俳優陣ずらり! (in Japanese). eiga.com. 
  9. ^ 広瀬すず「バケモノの子」ヒロインで声優初挑戦!細田守監督が絶賛「凄い才能」 (in Japanese). eiga.com. 
  10. ^ http://www.bakemono-no-ko.jp/news/index.html
  11. ^ "The Boy and the Beast - 2015 BFI London Film Festival". BFI. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  12. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (December 12, 2014). "Gaumont Dives Into Japanese Animation with Mamoru Hosoda's 'The Boy and The Beast'". Variety. Retrieved May 15, 2015. 
  13. ^ 細田守監督最新作は「バケモノの子」!フランスでの公開が既に決定. eiga.com (in Japanese). December 11, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  14. ^ Official Gaumont's Twitter account
  15. ^ "Résumé de l'actualité : lundi 22 juin 2015" (in French). Crunchyroll. June 22, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (May 15, 2015). "FUNimation Entertainment Acquires U.S. Rights To Mamoru Hosoda's 'The Boy and The Beast'". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2015. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Theater Chain AMC Lists The Boy and the Beast Anime Film as Opening in February". Anime News Network. January 9, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  18. ^ "The Boy And The Beast". AMC Theatres. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  19. ^ Mayorga, Emilio (June 19, 2015). "Annecy: Gaumont to launch 'Boy and the Beast' Jan. 13". Variety. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Boy and the Beast Film Gets Canadian Screenings Starting on May 27". Anime News Network. February 29, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  21. ^ Schilling, Mark (July 13, 2015). "Japan Box Office: 'Boy And The Beast' Opens Ahead of 'Terminator Genisys'". Variety. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  22. ^ Mark Schilling (July 22, 2015). "Japan Box Office: Japan Box Office: 'Hero' Opens On Top". variety.com. Retrieved July 27, 2015. 
  23. ^ "The Boy and the Beast (2016) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
  24. ^ "The Boy And The Beast (Bakemono No Ko)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  25. ^ "The Boy and the Beast". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
  26. ^ Schilling, Mark (July 15, 2015). "Successor to Hayao Miyazaki's throne turns Shibuya into a realm of beasts". The Japan Times. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  27. ^ Eisenbeis, Richard (July 14, 2015). "The Boy and the Beast is the Anime Version of The Jungle Book". Kotaku. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  28. ^ Solomon, Charles (December 3, 2015). "Review Animated 'Boy and the Beast' draws on emotional depth to rise above typical martial arts saga". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2016. 
  29. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 23, 2015). "Film Review: 'The Boy and the Beast'". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  30. ^ Keough, Peter (March 3, 2016). "Suspended anime in 'The Boy and the Beast'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 
  31. ^ Padua, Pat (March 3, 2016). "A boy comes of age, with the help of talking animals, in this cartoon fantasy". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 
  32. ^ Webster, Andy (March 3, 2016). "In 'The Boy and the Beast,' Learning From Anime Animals". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
  33. ^ Connelly, Sherilyn (March 1, 2016). "Familiar Anime Tale 'The Boy and the Beast' Presumes That Beasts Are Pretty Dumb". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  34. ^ Savlov, Marc (March 4, 2016). "The Boy and the Beast". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 
  35. ^ Chapman, Jacob (February 4, 2016). "The Boy and the Beast - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 

External links[edit]