The Boy and the Beast

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– With you, I can become strong. –

“The Boy and the Beast” is an animation movie that was first released on 2015.

Background

It is a movie created by Mamoru Hosoda with his production, Studio Chizu. This is his fourth animation film, lead by “Toki wo Kakeru Shoujyo,” “Summer Wars,” and “Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki.”

Story

A normal boy, Ren’s parents divorced and his mother died. He refused to go to his grand parent’s house and run out to Shibuya. When he had no idea of where to go and was sitting at a parking lot, he meets a bear-like beast, Kumatetsu. Kumatetsu asks Ren if he ones to come with him. Even though he refuses at first, he wishes to change to environment that he is in and runs after Kumatetsu. Once he squeezed through a tight path, he was in a world that he has never seen – the world of the beast (Jyutengai).

Kumatetsu told Ren about how the head of Jyutengai (Soushi) is looking for a new beast to lead the world, how he decided to host a battle ceremony to decide his post, and how he needs to have a disciple to participate in the ceremony. To become strong, Ren decides to live with Kumatesu.  Kumatetsu gives a new name: Kyuta (since Ren only told his age to Kumatesu) to Ren. With the support of Kumatetsu’s fellows – Tatara and Hyakushou, Kyuta learns what it means to become strong.

 

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Analysis – What it means to become a family

At first, Kyuta and Kumatetsu have no trust between each other. Kyuta rebels against Kumatetsu a lot, and Kumatetsu has trouble teaching Kyuta since he doesn’t know how weak human beings are compared to them. At first, Tatara and Hyakushou are both worried if this relationship will go well.

Yet, after Kyuta sees the battle between Kumatetsu and Iouzen (a participant in the ceremony), Kyuta starts to believe in Kumatetsu’s strength and starts to imitate his moves. Hyakushou says that Kyuta is like a baby bird that copies its mother’s moves. Kyuta’s fighting skills starts to grow rapidly, and Kumatetsu starts to teach him various things. Strong feelings of trust and family-like love starts to build between the two.

 

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Stereotype of family in Japan

In Japan, even though there are a lot of families where there is only one parent (father/mother), the ‘normal’ form of family is where there are two parents. Even though Kyuta and Kumatetsu are a single parent-child form (and they even don’t have any blood-wise connection), they develop a stable relationship. It’s not the DNA or race that makes the two a family; it’s the time that they have spent together and the numerous memories that they have.

At the climax, when Kyuta tries to kill himself to stop the enemy from destroying Shibuya, Kumatetsu saves him. Kumatetsu won the competition and had the opportunity to become the next Soushi, but he turned down that choice and decided to reincarnate into the god of sword to help Kyuta. When he tells Soushi that, he says, “Kyuta thinks that he is an adult, but he is not. Someone has to fill in the gap that he has in his heart, and I’m the one who’s going to do that.” This is a word that would’ve never came out if their relationship was shallow.

Even though their relationship might not be the perfect shape, they are a family, and Kumatesu will keep living in Kyuta’s heart.

 

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