In­ter­species Bond­ing

Animation Magazine - - Anime -

ODi­rec­tor Mamoru Hosoda uses univer­sal char­ac­ter dy­nam­ics in

to show growth is a life­long pur­suit. By Charles Solomon.

ver the last decade, Mamoru Hosoda has es­tab­lished him­self as one of the most in­ter­est­ing writer-direc­tors work­ing in an­i­ma­tion with a string of orig­i­nal, com­pelling fea­tures: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Sum­mer Wars (2009), Wolf Chil­dren (2012) and The Boy and the Beast (2015).

Al­though it was the No. 2 box-of­fice earner in Ja­pan in 2015 — pulling in ¥5.85 bil­lion (about U.S. $48.6 mil­lion) — The Boy and the Beast had only a brief Os­car-qual­i­fy­ing run in Amer­ica (in Ja­panese) and failed to at­tract much at­ten­tion. Fu­ni­ma­tion re­leased March 4 the English dub, which should help bring the film the au­di­ence it de­serves.

Af­ter the death of his mother, sulky Kyuta (Eric Vale) runs away from his stuffy rel­a­tives. As he roams Shibuya, he stum­bles onto a pas­sage­way to the Jun­ten­gai, an al­ter­nate city of mon­sters. There he en­coun­ters Ku­matetsu (John Swasey), an ur­sine mar­tial artist who may be­come the next ruler of the realm.

Ku­matetsu is loud, crude, slovenly and bad-tem­pered. Kyuta’s re­pulsed by his de­meanor but at­tracted by his strength. He asks for train­ing. These char­ac­ters don’t form a touchy-feely Daniel-Mr. Miyagi bond. They squab­ble and learn and grow, a process Hosoda cap­tures by jux­ta­pos­ing slap­stick and re­flec­tive se­quences.

Hosoda dis­cussed mak­ing Boy and Beast in a re­cent email in­ter­view, be­gin­ning with his thoughts on the un­usual mas­ter-stu­dent re­la­tion­ship at the heart of the film.

“Dur­ing the growth process, chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ence tur­moil and a sense of things lack­ing within them,” he says. “I wanted to de­pict that not in a du­al­is­tic ‘light and dark’ way, but in a pos­i­tive way, as part of the pro­cesses nec­es­sary to grow­ing up. Ev­ery­one loses sight of their own iden­tity at times, and chil­dren live with the bur­den of their in­suf­fi­cien­cies. Adults tend to look for the ‘right an­swer,’ but it’s the process that’s im­por­tant. I wanted to scrupu-

Ale Mchaddo An­dres Reyes Botello

Julie Kane Ritsch Ka­te­rina Pshen­it­syna

Pet­teri Pasa­nen

Frank Saper­stein

Jeremy Zag

Peter Gal

Raul Gar­cia

Pierre Siss­mann

Wendy Spinks

Joel Kuwa­hara

Michael Hirsh

Eric Ho­man

Ricj Ma­gal­lanes

Feg Yi

Fred­er­ick Fauber

Chuck Peil

Delna Bh­e­sa­nia

Max Howard

Michael Car­ring­ton

David Ten­zer

Ar­ish Fyzee

Ken Kat­sumoto

Cur­tis Le­lash

An­to­nio Canob­bio

Sarita Chris­tensen

Cort Lane

Clark Peter­son

Tara Sorensen

Roger Allers

Di­dier Brun­ner

Chuck Wil­liams

Margie Cohn

Ak Madhavan

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