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Mamoru Hosoda’s Next Film Is “The Boy and the Beast”

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TheBoyandtheBeast_KeyVisualIn a press conference held at the headquarters of Toho Co, Ltd. in Japan, The Boy and the Beast (a.k.a. Bakemono no Ko) was announced as the next feature film from director Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children). The film is being produced by Nippon TV and Studio Chizu, which is creating its second film after 2012’s Wolf Children since the studio was founded in 2011 by Mr. Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito.

“Beast” is being billed as a coming-of-age adventure story set in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward and a parallel world inhabited by supernatural creatures. In the film a lonely young boy gets separated from his parents and manages to stray into this realm, where he meets a similarly lonely beastman named Kumatetsu. Kumatetsu gives the boy the new name of Kyuta and takes him on as an apprentice, setting the stage for adventures together as the two befriend one another.  Mr. Hosoda has been quoted as describing the movie’s theme as “Are they going to be father and son…?”

“Beast” has already been picked up by the French film production company Gaumont, which plans to release the film in France and other international territories and aspires to give it a broader release beyond the scope of arthouse and film festival screenings. Yohann Comte, Gaumont’s head of sales, has extolled the arrangement as the result of a year and a half of negotiations and described “Beast” as Mr. Hosoda’s most ambitious film to date. Mr. Comte has also shed some light on the style of the film’s supernatural world, citing the look Moroccan flea markets as a major source of inspiration.

Like Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast is based on an original story and screenplay by Mr. Hosoda and other key staff from that film are also involved, including music composer Masakatsu Takagi and animation directors Tatsuzo Nishida and Takaaki Yamashita. Takashi Ohmori, Yohei Takamatsu, and Yoichi Nishikawa are credited as art directors. Character casting has not yet been done, but the film is already targeted for a release date of July 11, 2015 in Japan and Mr. Hosoda expects production to conclude in June of that year. Gaumont expects to begin distributing the film in France and other territories starting in late 2015 or early 2016.

[via Variety, Crunchyroll News, Anime News Network]