On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.
After accidentally summoning an ancient spirit, a young Japanese boy named Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) is separated from his mother and embarks on a journey to discover the truth about his missing father. Along the way, he befriends the kindhearted Monkey (Charlize Theron) and the clumsy Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) as he fends off the vengeful Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and two evil twin sisters (Rooney Mara) with his shamisen, a magical stringed instrument.