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The Film

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  • Kubo's mother is on a tiny boat, carrying her baby on her back, and a gigantic wave threatens her. Does she freak out? Hell no! She strums on her magic instrument and splits the wave in half!
  • Kubo showing off his Paper Master abilities when he tells a story.
  • One night, when Kubo stays out late and is chased by his Aunts, his mother pulls a Big Damn Hero moment by using her own magic to temporarily repel her sisters. Then, she sacrifices herself by enchanting Kubo's robes to fly him away while she holds off her sisters one last time.
  • During the first morning of their quest to find Hanzo's armor, Kubo practices his magic by forming an origami bird to follow and mimic a real bird overhead. Before long, Kubo pushes the limits of his ability and makes a whole flock of origami birds! He even uses them to make himself momentarily hover!
  • When demonstrating his usefulness to Kubo and Monkey, Beetle fires an arrow into a wall. Monkey doesn't think this is anything special. ...Until he takes out four more arrows and fires them into the same spot in the wall in complete succession. Monkey only has one word to describe it.
    Monkey: Impressive.
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    • Also a Funny moment from Beetle. "Huh, look at that. Literally the first time I've ever done that."
    • Fridge-Awesome: This also counts as the first time ever we see Hanzo's famed archery skills in practice.
  • During the fight for the first piece of the armor, we learn Beetle can fly!
    Kubo: You can fly?''
    Beetle Apparently, yes!
    • Beetle's delighted surprise at learning he had this wondrous gift hidden beneath his shell the whole time!
    • As if that's not awesome enough, bear in mind Beetle is also Kubo's father. Every good father is a hero, but Hanzo gets to fly like a superhero!
  • As their journey takes them to the Long Lake, our heroes are faced with two choices: walk around the lake, or (per Beetle's suggestion) swim across. Whilst Monkey and Beetle argue, Kubo makes a third option: Use his magic to make a life-sized sail boat out of leaves.
    Beetle: Fast learner.
  • A relatively small one. Kubo has just finished telling Beetle about the dangers of the Long Lake, warning him about the Garden of Eyes. Beetle is clearly unnerved by this new knowledge and the very real possibility he could die if he goes. But instead, he musters all his bravery to act unafraid and decides to go down there anyway. That is courage for you.
  • Monkey's duel with one of the aunts on a sinking boat of leaves in the rain. Using the Sword Unbreakable. To note, the aunt explicitly says she's never lost a fight (and has, in the past, killed things that could fit the world on the tip of their ''fingernail''), Monkey manages to kill her.
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    • The fight also displays an awesome volley of back and forth Badass Boasts between the Sister and Monkey.
      Sister: I have crushed creatures that could fit this world on their fingernail. This victory brings me no honor.
      Monkey: Imagine how you're going to feel when you lose.
    • And later...
      Sister: It never fails to amaze me how the creatures down here fight so hard just to die another day.
      Monkey: Down here, there are days worth fighting for.
  • Meanwhile, Kubo is mesmerized by the Garden of Eyes when Beetle breaks the trance by shooting at one of the eyes with his arrows. Following this, he narrowly saves Kubo from being eaten and brings him back to the surface.
  • Beetle's tendency as a Papa Wolf shines through when he fiercely yells at Washi "Don't you touch him, you witch!" Generally, every moment before he learns he's Kubo's father, every time he defends and protects the boy, shows that not even amnesia could erase his deeply rooted fatherly instincts.
  • While surrounded by tragedy, Kubo managing to finish off the other Aunt with his Magic Music deserves a lot of credit.
  • After finding the Helmet Invulnerable, Kubo warns the villagers that the Moon King is coming. The fact that they take him seriously is something to be reckoned with.
  • All three pieces of the armor are united.
  • Kubo's Final Battle with the Moon King. After a close fight, Kubo defeats his grandfather with The Power of Love, transforming him into a human and giving him a chance to be a part of Kubo's family.
    • As Kubo calls forth the spirits of all those whom the townspeople had loved, the townspeople themselves step forward. They'd previously been hiding from the fight, but with this, they stand with Kubo against the Moon King. They don't even flinch as the Moon King crashes against the barrier that Kubo and their deceased family has provided for them.
    • This exchange just before the fight, after the Moon King says beings like him are "infinite". It may not be the right message, but it's chillingly awesome.
      Kubo: No. You're wrong, not infinite. All stories have an end.
      Moon King: (annoyed) ...Is that right? And how does this story end?
      Kubo: (raises Sword Unbreakable) I kill you.
      • Doubles as Kubo's Who Wants to Live Forever? Speech. It's his way of telling his grandfather "Look, if you want to outlive all of us for eternity, fine. But leave me out of it."
    • The Moon King's response deserves a spot too. He walks into Kubo's sword, pushing Kubo back as it fails to even faze him. The Moon King then tells Kubo that if he truly wants a final duel against an epic Big Bad, he shall quite happily grant his wish.
    • Right before that, Kubo chucks a jagged rock as hard as he can right at the old man's face. The Moon King snatches it out of mid air and, with no discernible effort, crushes it into powder, with nary a break in his stride nor a stammer in his motive rant.
    • "And that really is the least of it." One sentence, eight words, all awesome.
    • One sentence, seven words, just as awesome “If you must blink, do it now.”
  • While not on the same level as the climatic battle, Kameyo, Kubo and the villagers deserve a mention for finding the inner strength to open their hearts to the newly amnesiac and mortal Moon King. This guy has caused them so much grief in the making, yet they recognize that rather than ridicule and banish him, they can be bigger than that and teach him to be a good man.
  • With help from the spirits of his parents, Kubo gets his wish when he finally ends a story: the movie's story.
    Kubo: The End.

Meta

  • Awesome Music: Pretty much any time Kubo plays his Shamisen. The ending credits start with a particularly epic cover of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" played on shamisen.
    • The entire soundtrack could count, taking traditional sweeping, epic animation soundtracks and adding lots of shamisen and other elements of traditional Japanese music, and it is gorgeous.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome are all over this movie, and the kicker? Most of it is just stop-motion. Not CGI, except for scenes involving flowing water.
    • Several people on Imgur commented didn't realize it wasn't CGI made to look like stop-motion until the credits.
  • During the credits, we see the crew working on the giant skeleton demon, revealing the puppet's massive size—it's more than twice the size of a human. This little behind-the-scenes tidbit ends on an even more awesome and terrifying note when we discover that the puppet—at least in the shot being demonstrated—isn't even stop-motion, but actually moves.
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