See the end of this article for details on how to win the amazing prize bundle. And oh yeah, what the prize bundle actually, you know, is. But read the article first! We worked hard on it!
As asserted previously, Mamoru Hosada is a very strong candidate to fill the seat Hayao Miyazaki left vacated last year. There are other visionary talents outside the Ghibli stable, certainly, but no other contemporary anime director has his touch for humanistic magical realism. From The Girl Who Lept Through Time to Summer Wars, Hosada has crafted fresh and accessible films that work wonderfully outside the niche anime is typically relegated to.
His latest picture, The Boy and the Beast, just recently entered the art house circuit, and it’s wonderful viewing for any cinephile seeking all-ages films that lean a bit brainier–and more inspiring–this holiday season. Carrying some themes over from Hosada’s last effort, Wolf Children, this is another tempestuous coming-of-age tale set right where modern humans and legendary creatures intersect. And it’s a moving meditation on family, identity, and the true meaning of strength, too.
Our lead, Kyuta, is an angry runaway who wanders into the Beast World: a pocket universe home to man-like animals. There, he’s reluctantly brought under the tough tutelage of Kumatetsu, a n’er-do-well swordsman (who also happens to be a bear). Over many training sessions, the two form a combative master/pupil relationship, with roles shifting constantly. The beast teaches the boy how to fight and control his anger. The boy, in turn, encourages the beast to seize his still-unrealized potential.
See, Kumatetsu is at a crossroads, too. His own master has announced he’ll abdicate his title, and the heir apparent actually looks to be Iozen, a rival swordsman (who also happens to be a warthog). Having all the discipline Kumatetsu lacks, Iozen bests the brash bear in a spectacular street brawl, but their master still insists the line of succession will only be decided at a proper stadium match.
Maybe Kyuta could get Kumatetsu in shape for the fight, but then he starts hearing beckoning calls to return to humanity. Torn between worlds, he might actually just turn away from these flights of fancy, and abandon the beast when he’s needed most.
Hosada scripted this film, too, and he’s filled it with a breadth of literary allusions ranging from Shinto folklore to The Jungle Book, and even Moby Dick. Yes. That’s right. It’s hard to say much without spoiling some clever surprises, but Meville’s classic story of obsession flavors this plot almost as much as In the Heart of the Sea, especially during the surreal and eerily-designed finale.
Speaking of the design, Hosada’s signature naturalistic style truly sets this picture apart. His humans look like real people, living in a real world that looks all the realer due to a careful blending of digital and analog techniques. More impressive, though, is the humanity imbued into Beast World’s menagerie, and into Kumatetsu most of all. Every scene he’s in has a real physicality of performance, with his subtle ticks and gestures proving just as impressive as all his overall motion.
OK. Here’s the part where you win stuff. First off, here’s what you can win:
Pretty cool, huh? Now here’s how to win it:
Tell us in the comments here what you’d do if you had a massive ferocious intelligent swashbuckling beast as your best friend. Please keep it classy. Like, no bloody revenge fantasies. Or at least no super-graphic bloody revenge fantasies. Assume your beast is a fairly refined dude like Kumatetsu.
ELIGIBILITY: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase from GeekandSundry.com will not improve your chances of winning. This Giveaway is open only to individuals who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. The following individuals are not eligible: employees, contractors, directors and officers of Sponsor and their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, distributors, web designers, judges, representatives, agents and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Giveaway, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling or “step” of each) or household members (those persons whether related or not who live in the same residence for at least three months during the twelve-month period preceding the start date of the Giveaway). All prizes won by minors will be awarded to their parents or legal guardians on their behalf. Winner may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and complete relevant tax forms as a condition to the delivery of the applicable prize. Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply.
Image Credits: FUNimation