An anime film that is worth the watch. I felt as if some of the storyline was generic but the method in which the story occurs makes it unique enough to be interesting.
Some parts, like the relationship the main character has with the love interest, is rather melodramatic. But this film portrays a Master-Student/Quasi-Step Father – Stepson relationship really well.
The characterization of the bear, Kumatetsu, is well portrayed and believable. Kyuuta’s character development, albeit somewhat generic, is engaging enough for the film.
The story’s overall themes of bonding and moving forward by oneself is probably the best aspect of the film. It carries this theme extremely well with all of the characters. It seems to be in favor of Kumatetsu’s honest, straightforward, and blunt parenting compared to his rival’s hesitant and well-meaning parenting that didn’t seem to help one of his children grow into becoming self-reliant and having a strong sense of identity.
Despite Kyuuta’s identity crisis, he’s shown to be able to overcome it, partly thanks to his love interest, and mostly from his positive and blunt style of upbringing. Despite the hiccups along the rode, Kyuuta is better able to handle the real world because of his sense of identity.
Without spoiling it, the conclusion of Kyuuta and Kumatetsu’s relationship is allegorical to moving on after a parent has left and seems to be meant to parallel Kyuuta’s younger self in the beginning of the film when his mother died and he began to hate everyone in his life.
However, one major drawback of the film, for those who don’t understand Japanese cultural themes, is that much of the allegory and cultural significance of the film is lost on outside audiences who may simply conclude “it’s magic” when viewing the film. But there seems to be strong cultural symbolism to Japanese folklore within the film, that the film itself presumes the viewer may already be knowledgeable about. But this isn’t necessarily a damning point because the intended audience is obviously Japanese people and those with the cultural understanding of Japan.
Overall, I would rate this film a 7.7/10. Definitely worth the watch.