Japanese anime seems dominated by overstylized action flicks populated by squeaky-voiced kids whose ability to rain down death and destruction belies their babyish features.
Not so the work of Mamoru Hosoda. Best-known in America for “Summer Wars” (2009) and “Wolf Children” (2012), Hosoda crafts sublimely beautiful coming-of-age stories. The kids in his movies may start out petulant, irresponsible and selfish, but invariably, they grow up.
“The Boy and the Beast,” the director’s latest coming-of-age story, is a brilliant, funny morality tale that examines the transformative effects of martial arts training.