The Boy and The Beast
Cre: Funimation Films
The Boy and The Beast, An Animated Movie That Fuses Fantasy, Drama and Comedy

We’re still in the euphoria of Japanese Film Festival 2016 last week, so we decided to write a review of several movies that we watched starting from today. First up, we got to watch a Japaneses animated movie called The Boy and The Beast. The movie is directed by Mamoru Hosoda and he has successfully nailed his latest work, Bakemono no Ko or also known as The Boy and the Beast. The title may remind us with Disney’s fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast (1991) — but no, this is not a fairy tale at all. Again, just as Hosoda other works, family theme is pretty bold in this movie. A boy who has never met his father since early age, Ren, has to bear the pain from seeing his mother passed away. He becomes frustrated and angry which lead him to escape from home when he stumbles upon a strange, scary creature, a wild beast who does not belong in a modern city like Shibuya.

Long story short, Ren follows the beast named Kumatetsu into the world of beasts, Jutengai. Kumatetsu is a candidate of the next Jutengai Lord, but he needs to beat his only opponent, Iozen, to win the throne. He claims Ren as his apprentice so he will be able to fight. He even gives Ren a new nickname, Kyuta, meaning a nine-year-old boy. After a lot of adaotation and struggle, Kyuta has grown up just as strong as Kumatetsu and even has similar treats like him. Kumatetsu also becomes stronger than before since he has Kyuta as training partner. It feels like they fill each other emptiness and bond just like a father and son. They have been through a lot of changes. At first, they never get along and even clash with each other, yet Hosoda makes the viewer enjoy the process of the boy and the beast’ confrontation by putting in a bit of light yet fresh comedies, valuable lessons, and also touching stories.

The Boy and The Beast
Cre: The Hollywood Reporter

It is funny how Hosoda frames a narration that beasts are scary and dangerous creature in human world, but the role is reversed in the beast world. Human is seen as a threat and a creature that always harm others. In some way, Hosoda perhaps intends this clever satire for human destructive behavior towards nature. As the story unfolds, a conflict arises when Kyuta grows up and finds a portal to get back to the human realm. He gets confused about his origin and it makes him lose control and it leads to him calling his inner darkness which manifests in a shadow with a hollow heart. Fortunately, a school-girl named Kaede, appears and supports Kyuta to overcome his dark shadow at the end. Both Kumatetsu and Kaede have a significant role in Kyuta’s life, but Kyuta will not survive the world if it was not because of his own struggle.

With an orchestra music playing as the back-sound, and two different sides of world, this movie is thematically similar to Ghibli’s Spirited Away (2001), and becomes more entertaining with its indisputably splendid animation. This animation movie also has made us go through various emotions for 119 minutes. We laughed and cried, we even blushed on some romantic scenes in the end. Hosoda perfectly combines wide-ranging themes in one movie. An important lesson that we could get from the movie is, in order to complete ourselves we will always need someone’s help without denying that we also could also be a hero of our own. We absolutely do not mind to watch this movie over and over again.

Writer : Rima Ramadhani / Editor : Novita Widia