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Anime / The Boy and the Beast

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The beast and the boy.
The Boy and the Beast (Japanese: バケモノの子; "Bakemono no ko") is a 2015 Japanese animated film directed by Mamoru Hosoda, who also directed Summer Wars and Wolf Children.

There are two realms: the human realm and "Jūtengai", the bakemono realm. In these two worlds which must not intersect, there lives Ren (voiced by Aoi Miyazaki as a child and Shota Sometani as a teen), a lonely boy in Tokyo's Shibuya ward, and Kumatetsu (Koji Yakusho), a lonely bakemono. One fateful evening Ren runs away from home and meets Kumatetsu, who nicknames him "Kyuta" and takes him in as his apprentice. The film follows their relationship throughout their journey.

The film also stars Suzu Hirose as Kaede, Kazuhiro Yamaji as Iōzen, Mamoru Miyano as Ichirōhiko, Kappei Yamaguchi as Jirōmaru, Keishi Nagatsuka and Kumiko Asō as Ren's parents, Haru Kuroki as the younger Ichirōhiko, Sumire Morohoshi as Chiko, Momoka Ōno as the younger Jirōmaru, Masahiko Tsugawa as Sōshi, Lily Franky as Hyakushūbō and Yo Oizumi as Tatara.

The film was released on July 11, 2015 in Japan and on January 13, 2016 in France. The film has also been licensed by Funimation and Madman Entertainment for release in the US and Australia respectively.

You can view the teaser here, and the next two trailers here and here.

The Boy And The Beast contains examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • When Kyuta first arrives in the beast world, many of the residents, especially Tatara, Ichirohiko and Jirohiko, initially consider him a social doormat due to him being from the human world.
    • A line from some of the delinquent girls implies that Kaede is a social doormat, or at least, no one from her class likes talking to her. But along came Kyuta, who scared the delinquents out of their minds and rescued Kaede.
  • All There in the Manual: The novelization, also written by Hosoda, explains a few details not revealed in the movie, including the reason why Renís parents divorced. According to Renís perspective, his uncle (from his motherís side of the family) disapproved of Renís motherís marriage to Renís father, so he showed up at their apartment sometime before the events of the movie with a lawyer and forced them to separate. ďIt probably had something to do with the fact that I was Ďthe only boy in the family and the precious future head of the house,íĒ Ren states.
  • Badass and Child Duo: The two main characters quickly become this after meeting each other.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: The scene where Kyuta beats up the delinquents to rescue Kaede happens offscreen.
  • Beast Man: There's a whole world full of them!
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ichirouhiko is reunited with his adoptive family, and will presumably make peace with his origins. Kyuta/Ren decides to leave the magical realm for good and Kumatetsu willingly turned himself into a sword to save his surrogate son. Even so, the two will always be together, as Kumatetsu now lives inside of Kyuta as a God, plus Kyuta/Ren now has his relationships with his father and Kaede, so he won't be alone.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Ichirouhiko hates and looks down on humans like Kyuta, most likely due to being in denial about the fact that he's actually a human himself.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The Lord, who literally has a set of bunny ears (as he's a rabbit), who is a seemingly goofy old fart who everyone in Jutengai respects implicitly. Several of the other lords that Kumatetsu and Kyuta visit to learn about strength also qualify.
  • Children Do the Housework: Ren/Kyuta does the cooking, cleaning and laundry for his martial arts teacher/adoptive father Kumatetsu. Before he was adopted, Kumatetsu's house was a mess and he can only cook rice mixed with raw eggs, which Ren/Kyuta hates.
  • Children Raise You: Kyuta learns as much from Kumatetsu, and the learning goes both ways.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After a little training, Kyuta easily defeats a gang of beast bullies and earns their respect. In the human world, he takes down the delinquent boys who were ridiculing Kaede with little effort.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Jiroumaru becomes friendly to Kyuta almost immediately once Kyuta has become strong enough to beat him, since he likes strong people.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Kumatetsu to Kyuta/Ren.
  • Deity of Human Origin: It's specified that humans can't do it but beasts can reincarnate as gods after years of training.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's about a boy and a beast.
  • Fantastic Racism: The beasts look down on humans because they can easily be corrupted by the darkness in their hearts.
  • Foreshadowing: In the beginning, Tatara jokingly states that if Kumatetsu was chosen as the next Grandmaster, he would become a "God of tool". Come the climax, Kumatetsu decides to become a sword so Kyuuta/Ren can use to defend himself against Ichirouhiko.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Kumatetsu (Choleric), Ren/Kyuta (Melancholic), Tatara (Sanguine), and Hyakshubou (Phlegmatic).
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Attempted by Kyuta at the end of the film. His final option to fight a berserk Ichirouhiko was to open his own void, absorbing Ichirouhiko in the process. He would then stab himself, thus taking both of their lives. However...
    • Kumatetsu, barely able to walk, demands the Lord transfer the position of Lord to him now, as well as give up his right to reincarnate as a god, so Kumatetsu instead can reincarnate himself as an artefact spirit in the form of a sword to save Kyuta from the berserk Ichirouhiko. He succeeds not only saving Kyuta's life but sparing Ichirouhiko's as well.
  • Implied Love Interest: Kaede to Ren/Kyuta.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Kumatetsu to a T.
  • Irony: When he first enters the beast world, an overwhelmed Ren runs about on fours in a panic. It doesn't get anymore ironic than a human boy running about on all fours like a critter, whilst in a world full of anthropomorphic animals on two legs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kumatetsu may be a jerk, but he cares about Kyuta.
    • Tatara is even more of a jerk than Kumatetsu, but he eventually demonstrates an affection for Kyuta.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After Kyuta beats up the delinquents in order to rescue Kaede, their girlfriends realize that insulting Kyuta isn't worth it and they make a break for it.
  • Mind over Matter: Awakening the "inner darkness" of a human seems to give said human this, among many other supernatural powers.
  • Monster Whale: There are numerous allusions to Moby-Dick throughout the movie, culminating in Ichirouhiko's magic manifesting in the shape of a gigantic sperm whale chasing Ren.
  • Mugging the Monster: The delinquents probably shouldn't have picked a fight with Kyuta like that and get curb-stomped for it.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Even after Kyuta becomes strong enough to throw Kumatetsu over his shoulder, he's still as scrawny as when he was nine.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Kumatetsu doesn't have a consistent body type. Sometimes, he has a body of a chubby and buff young adult, other times he has a body of a pro wrestler, and sometimes he has a body of a skinny fit man. Part of this has to do with the fact that the movie takes place over several years, as well as the fact that his body shape changes as he releases more power, but still.
  • Novelization: A light novel adaptation was written.
  • Oh, Crap!: The delinquent girls who insult Kaede and Kyuta are utterly shocked when the latter gives a Curb-Stomp Battle on their boyfriends and they quickly get the hell out of Dodge.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Kyuta one-shots the delinquent boys who insult the former and Kaede offscreen as their girlfriends watch on in shock.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Lord can somehow do this while other characters are looking right at him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ren/Kyuta's mother died before the events of the story, while his father divorced her some time before her death. It turns out Ren's father wasn't informed of what had happened to Ren's mother until after his son had already disappeared into Jūtengai and spent years searching for him even after the police had given up. They reconnect at the end.
  • Pig Man: Hyakushubou is a pig, while Iouzen and his family are boars.
  • Pretty Boy: Ichirouhiko to the point of Dude Looks Like a Lady. A story segment show him being quite the Chick Magnet.
  • Punny Name: As the word for boy in Japanese is "男の子" ("Otoko no ko", lit. "Male child"), the title of the film can be read as either the translated The Boy and the Beast, or as Beast Child.
  • Raised by Wolves: Well, a humanoid bear with some help from a pig and a monkey, but still. It turns out that Ichirouhiko is actually a human that Iouzen found abandoned as a baby and raised as his own.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kumatetsu is red, Ren/Kyuta is blue, though the latter is associated more with white. Kumatetsu could also be considered red to Iouzen's blue. His two children, Jiroumaru (red) and Ichirouhiko (blue) contrast each other like this as well.
    • May also apply to Tatara and Hyakushubou, who would be red and blue respectively.
  • Recycled Premise: A child accidentally discovers a parallel magical world where the ruler of said world lets them stay, despite everyone hating humans. They work and live there for a while and eventually face the dilemma of returning to the normal human world. Someone close to them gives them a small band to wear in order to make sure they remember who they are. That doesn't sound anything like Spirited Away, nope not at all. There are differences between the movies but you have to admit, they are similar.
  • Rescue Romance: Mild example, but Ren rescues Kaede from some rather bad delinquents when they first meet.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Chico, an unidentified fuzzy rodent-like thing Ren picks up at the beginning of the movie. The credits imply it may have been the reincarnated form of his mother.
  • The Rival: Iouzen to Kumatetsu.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The delinquent girls who insult Kaede and Kyuta make a quick break for it when the latter effortlessly beats up their boyfriends.
  • Sheath Strike: The main form of combat in the Beast realm. Many men and boys carry katana, but the Lord has forbidden everyone from drawing them, so swordfights are nonlethal affairs with the scabbard covering the blade.
  • Shout-Out: Many to Moby-Dick in the second half, Ren even reads it at the library.
  • Spiritual Successor: Like Hosoda's previous film Wolf Children, it has a main character who has contact with both the human world and a non-human one and feels conflicted between both. Ren even resembles Ame in appearance when he grows older and, interestingly, Yuki too in the sense that he initially prefers the non-human world as a child but ultimately chooses to stay in the human world and attend school after maturing and befriending someone there.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Subverted with Kyuta after returning to the human realm for the first time. He makes friends with Kaede to catch up on his studies and eventually reunites with his father to the point that he decides to leave the magical realm forever.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: According to this movie, all humans possess one, which is easier to trigger in the bakemono realm.
  • Time Skip: One of about nine years in the middle of the movie.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Aoi Miyazaki plays the child Kyuta, Haru Kuroki voices the younger Ichirohiko and Momoka Ono voices young Jiromaru.
  • Title Drop: The Japanese title literally translates to "The Beast's Child, which is how Ren describes Ichirouhiko after the end of their battle when commenting that they're the same.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The delinquents who ridicule Kaede make the mistake of underestimating Kyuta's fighting abilities and taunting him. Three guesses what happens next.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kyuta and Kumatetsu.
  • Where It All Began: Ren/Kyuta's story begins and ends in Tokyo's Shibuya ward.
  • You Are Not Alone: When Kyuta is almost overwhelmed by the void after rejecting both his biological father and Kumatetsu, Kaede gives him a Cooldown Hug and reassures him that other people (including her) share his feelings of rage, loss, and resentment. Ultimately, this is a major difference between Kyuta and Ichirouhiko, as the latter never had anyone to share his feelings with.
  • You Are Number 6: The reason Kyuta got his nickname was because he was nine years old at the time (and refused to tell Kumatetsu his real one). When he turns 17 Kumatetsu jokes that now he should be called "Jyuunanata".

Alternative Title(s): Bakemono No Ko