Name: Bakemono no Ko/The Boy and the Beast
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural, Action
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Producers: Atsushi Chiba, Daisuke Kadoya, Genki Kawamura, Seiji Okuda, Takuya Itō, Yuichiro Saito
Music: Takagi Masakatsu
Studio: Studio Chizu
Release Date: July 11, 2015
The plot of Bakemono no Ko is set in the human realm (Tokyo’s Shibuya ward) and the Beast realm (“Shibutenmachi”). In these two worlds which must not intersect, there lives a lonely boy and a lonely beast. One day, the boy gets lost in the beast realm, becomes the disciple of the beast Kumatetsu, a humanoid bear, and is renamed Kyuuta and thus both of their lives begin to change after this fateful encounter.
Bakemono no Ko is written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda, the creator of Wolf Children and the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and it is absolutely beautiful. The story portrays two world, the human world and the beast world, two worlds that should not intersect with one another. Still somehow these two representatives of the two worlds, Ren and Kumatetsu, find harmony in their dysfunctional everyday life. Both are lonely and both want to be strong, both are stubborn and they fight all the time. Yet through their mutual understanding of each other’s weaknesses derived from the struggles of life they complement each other and become strong together. As time passes both of them grow and the line between master and disciple is blurred.
They story is written masterfully, executed to perfection and ace very well. The dynamics of the two worlds and the relationship between the two characters is represented in a beautiful manner. The struggles in a heart of a lonely child and the darkness born from the hatred is portrayed as beautifully as possible. Parental love and how far a parent is willing to go in order to help his child be it his own child or adopted, is something that the story touches upon. But the main focus of the story is growing stronger through mutual support. I will not spoil the story any further.
Bakemono no Ko has a big set of characters but the main focus was given to the two main characters, Kyuuta (Ren) and Kumatetsu. Their growth and relationship with one another was portrayed in a very detailed manner. As for character development, Kyuuta and Kumatetsu got the most limelight. We saw Kumatetsu turn from a brash misfit to a parent who was willing to risk his life for the disciple he raised. We can also see Kyuuta (Ren) go from being a hateful child about to be consumed by darkness to someone who understood his shortcomings and worked hard to overcome them. We also get to see Kyuuta as a conflicted teenager whose heart is torn between the two worlds and falls into an identity crisis and struggled to reaffirm. Another character who gets development in Bakemono no Ko was Ichirohiko. He is the same as Kyuuta but the exact opposite. He is also a human child raised in the beast realm and taught to believe that he is a beast. But as he grows he comes to notice the difference between him and the others around him and falls into an identity crisis and is consumed by darkness. He is what Kyuuta could have been, the other side of the coin, the Yang to Kyuuta’s Yin!
There are a few more characters in Bakemono no Ko that play an important role but do not get much development due to the time limit of a 2 hour movie and the main focus of the move and it is understandable. Some of my favorite characters of among the supporting cast are Kaede, the Monk and the Rabbit Grandmaster.
Here are some notable characters from the anime:
The animation of Bakemono no Ko was beautiful. The art was a bit different from the contemporary standards in the industry but it looked great with the bright colors and the theme of the movie.The art of the human characters reminded me of the animation of Aku no Hana, a bit realistic, but Bakemono no Ko was a LOT better. Studio Chizu did a great job animating it. It was a beautiful work to look at.
Here are some screenshots from the anime:
The music in Bakemono no Ko was beautiful. I really loved the background scores and they went really well with the atmosphere of the movie. It was successful in conveying the emotions portrayed in the movie. Takagi Masakatsu did a really good job with the compositions. I really liked the song that was used during the credits ‘Starting Over’ by Mr. Children.
Bakemono no Ko was a very enjoyable experience. The quarrels between Kyuuta and Kumatetsu and their training scenes were hilarious. The fight scenes were really great and the climax was excellent. The ending gave me some feels. Overall Bakemono no Ko was an emotional joyride. It was a great experience felt good after watching. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Mamoru Hosoda has been called “The Next Miyazaki” by many critics and with works like Bakemono no Ko he is well on his way to bieng able to justify this claim. I personally believe that this movie was not as great as his previous works with Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. But nonetheless Bakemono no Ko is a great movie. It was enjoyable. It had a good story, an interesting set of characters and most importantly I had a good time watching it. It’s a feel-good movie and perfect for getting you out of a bad mood. I recommend this beautiful movie to everyone.