In The Boy and the Beast
, a young runaway, Ren, stumbles from regular old humanity into a beast world, where he becomes the apprentice to a cranky bear-like master named Kumatetsu. They are, suffice to say, an odd couple. Many physical and emotional battles to be waged across two hours. Director Mamoru Hosoda is the heir apparent to Miyazaki, perhaps in storytelling but not in visuals, which are standard Astroboy
-level anime. But The Boy and the Beast
is surprisingly funny, incredibly poignant and boasts some great lessons: Everybody’s got darkness to control, and family is what you make, not what you’re born into.