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A Film Diary

+ high-res version

Watched: 8 November

Mamoru Hosoda’s anime was a huge box office success in Japan during 2015, though typically it took a couple of years before making it to the UK (and even then there was just the usual blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cinema release). It’s a charming story of a young boy named Ren who ends up homeless on the streets of Shibuya after his mum dies and he decides not to live with his step-father. One night Ren meets with a warrior beast – called Kumatetsu – who comes from a kingdom that exists on another plane, in which a fully-functioning society is populated by anthropomorphic animals. Much of the subsequent action, which involves Ren taking a position as apprentice to Kumatetsu as the latter fights for control of the realm, takes place within this beast world, though Mamoru switches the focus back to Tokyo as Ren finds himself being drawn back during the second half of the story. Though the film’s scenario is strange, the plot is disappointingly predictable once set in motion, but it’s certainly nice to look at and worth a watch if you like the way Japanese animated films often fizz to-and-fro between reality and fantasy. (***)

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