A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Listen to your teachers, follow their example, and accept help when you need it. The relationship between Kyuta and Kumatetsu proves that a father-son relationship isn't based on blood and that teamwork and perseverance are necessary to achieve certain goals. The movie spends a lot of time discussing the meaning of strength -- and how it shows itself in many forms.
Positive Role Models
Kyuta starts out strong-willed and angry, but he grows through his relationships with Kumatetsu and Kaede. He develops his skills as an apprentice, a warrior, and eventually a student and man. He's able to resist the darkness. Kumatetsu is egotistical and harsh when he first acts as Kyuta's master but later acts like a true mentor and father figure.
Violence & Scariness
Sword battles, explosions, and property destruction. A character is nearly killed in a sword fight. Two young humans fight the Darkness and each other. One character dies, then reincarnates. The main character is an orphan, which could be distressing for younger children.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kyuta and Kaede hold hands and embrace; they're obviously interested in each other but not in an overtly romantic way. Both a young Kyuta and big Kumatetsu wear traditional Japanese fundoshi underwear that shows the bottom, but it's in passing.
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"S--t" is heard a few times, plus many uses of "damn it," "what the hell," and insults like "cocky little brat," "cocky little s--t," "idiot," "shut up," "pissed off," "kick your ass," "idiot cry baby," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Starbucks is shown every time Ren/Kyuta goes back into Tokyo in the human world.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Boy and the Beast is a subtitled animated Japanese fantasy about an orphaned human boy who ends up being taken under the tutelage of a "beast" in a fantasy kingdom. This coming-of-age story has fish-out-of-water, adoption, and hero's-journey themes, and it features several battles, sword fights, and near deaths -- as well as an actual death (though it leads to reincarnation). The language is sometimes strong -- including "s--t," "damn," "pissed off," etc. -- but the messages about the nature of strength and the importance of perseverance, determination, and teamwork are clear. It's ideal for older tweens and young teens who are ready for more mature animated adventures. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Fabulously voice-acted and featuring lovably flawed characters, this is a touching animated story about an orphaned boy who's raised by a warrior beast. Although it takes a while to establish Kyuta and Kumatetsu's uniquely comical, bickering relationship, their mentor-mentee rapport eventually grows into something quite sweet and powerful. Director Mamoru Hosoda has created a coming-of-age tale that's epic, gorgeously animated, and emotional. While too mature for most single-digit-aged viewers, older tweens and teens (especially those familiar with subtitled movies) will connect with Kyuta and enjoy how he not only learns from Kumatetsu, but teaches him, too.
One of the best sequences in the movie is when Kyuta and Kumatetsu, along with a monk-like pig and a wise-cracking monkey, visit the lords of various realms to discover the true meaning of strength, only to find that each has his own definition of the word. Kumatetsu is a bulky behemoth who thinks he doesn't need any advice, but of course he -- also an orphan who taught himself everything -- does, just as Kyuta needs a family. Once a teenager, Kyuta's forays back into the human world are heart-tugging as he develops a friendship (with a hint of romance) with the lovely Kaede (Suzu Hirose). Longing to belong somewhere but feeling stuck between both worlds, Kyuta/Ren is the kind of protagonist audiences will love.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.