The Boy and the Beast

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda. 119 minutes. Rated PG-13. Matinees dubbed in English. Evening shows in Japanese with subtitles..

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The 1:35 and 4:20 shows are dubbed in English.

The 7:20 and 9:50 shows are in Japanese with English subtitles.

A young boy in modern-day Tokyo stumbles into an alternate dimension and becomes the apprentice to a bearlike warrior, in this stunning animated fantasy from writer-director Mamoru Hosoda.

On the run and hiding from his extended family and the police after the death of his mother, lonely nine-year-old Kyuta heads down a corridor between two buildings in Tokyo's Shibuya district.

There he stumbles upon the alternate dimension of Jutenkai, a world inhabited by beasts, and where humans are not welcome.

The lord of the beasts in Jutenkai is set to choose his successor, but the candidates couldn't be more different: Iozen, brave and honourable, is seen as the likely choice, while Kumatetsu, a bearlike warrior, is perceived as an abrasive loner.

When Kumatetsu is instructed to take on an apprentice, his advisors suggest Kyuta, new to Jutenkai, as an ideal candidate.

Years pass. At age seventeen, Kyuta returns to the human dimension and meets Kaede, a smart young girl who offers to teach him to read. But being back among humans prompts Kyuta to seek out his father, which leaves him questioning which world he truly belongs in.

Torn by his commitment to Kumatetsu, and with a battle approaching, he returns to Jutenkai unprepared for what will happen next.

Stunningly animated and brimming with sensational martial arts and sword-fighting scenes, writer-director Mamoru Hosoda's newest fantasy takes us on a memorable and life-affirming journey, in which the tender and funny moments remind us about the importance of family, loyalty, love, and sacrifice.