I’ve been a fan of the classic Disney version of The Jungle Book for as long as I can remember, and I loved the recent live-action adaptation as well. So imagine my surprise when I learned about an anime that places a Japanese fantasy spin on the basic premise of The Jungle Book in The Boy and The Beast. Anyone who enjoys coming of age films and great anime movies will find a beast of a good time with this one.
This being a movie from famed Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Lept Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children), I knew was in for a great time watching the story follow a young orphan named Kyuta living on the streets of Shibuya, Japan. After running away from home, he’s wandering the streets until he’s magically pulled into a magical world of beasts. It’s not long before he stumbles into Kumatetsu, a gruffy but ultimately kind hearted bear-like beast who happens to be looking an apprentice and takes Kyuta in. From here the two begin to form a bond through their pains and their triumphs as Kyuta grows into a young adult while Kumatetsu fights to become leader of the beast people. As that weren’t enough, there’s also someone or something evil that threatens to destroy both the human and beast worlds, and it will take everything Kyuta and Kumatetsu have learned from each other to put an end to it.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the film, as seeing Kyuta and Kumatetsu bond through plenty of fighting and bickering was all kinds of fun. Then of course there’s plenty of touching drama to show how much they care for one another which is always a plus in my book. The high definition visuals and audio are just as amazing as the movie, as they bring up a nice amount of detail. There’s not much in the way of extras outside of some trailers and promotional videos, but the main feature is more than enough for those who watch.
The Boy and the Beast is a touching and highly recommended movie for those who enjoy Miyazaki titles, touching dramas, and animated features. With so many good things going on with this film, any who give it a chance will discover a beastly fun time with that’s worth watching with the family.