I pray that one day America will recognize the art of anime as highly as they do with the styles that have evolved from Disney or DreamWorks, but deep in the underground lives a group of people (like me) who were brought up on the Japanese animation styles simply known as anime, and this is one of it’s new age classics. The lead is a young boy named Ren, a runaway who lands into a world unlike his own, where beasts and animals roam like people would. Ren stumbles upon a free-spirited, short tempered master warrior – who is also a loud mouthed bear – whom reluctantly takes on Ren as his apprentice in order to take on the leadership role of his homeland.
Mixing hyper-realism with classic anime characters, this profoundly gorgeous animation delivers elements reminiscent to the glorious style of Akira through visually dominant landscapes and settings while maintaining a traditionally minimalistic rendering of the characters themselves. Unlike most animated stories, these are generally likable characters whose flaws are able to be taken seriously as well as relate to in a fun way. The main characters most entertaining moments are when they interact with each other and it doesn’t falsify the early on relationship they have with one another.
It takes on countless themes, but mainly relationships with authoritative figures as well as one’s inner conflicts and how they choose to handle them. The Boy in this story is just that, a boy, and The Beast is definitely a beast. The characters are colorful and well realized from the beginning and all the way to end. They each have something to give the story and are never forcing their presence onto the viewer. The fight choreography is a spectacle in of itself as well. Bringing martial arts and fantastical imagery to the forefront of the action set pieces brings forth a vastly superhero visual splendor comparatively to a lot of the other countries that do anime and it isn’t in vein.
Everything within the story is done for a reason and works as a plot device or symbol for what could or has happened in the characters story. It’s well thought out and directed with heart and emotional depth. It’s gripping and original for the whole run-time and doesn’t feel dull. If you aren’t into anime or want a gateway film into the genre than I wouldn’t be surprised if you were hooked after this..