Mamoru Hosoda is one of Japan’s most celebrated and acclaimed anime filmmakers, thanks to films like Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and Mirai (which received a “Best Animated Feature” Oscar nomination in 2018). Suffice to say, a new Hosoda film is always cause for excitement — but Belle is particularly exciting news.
In a statement, Hosoda describes Belle as “the movie that I have always wanted to create and I am only able to make this film a reality because of the culmination of my past works. I explore romance, action and suspense on the one hand, and deeper themes such as life and death on the other. I expect this to be a big entertainment spectacle.”
Belle’s plot centers on a 17-year-old high school student named Suzu who’s from a rural village. But when she joins “U,” an online world where billions of people congregate, she experiences newfound fame as a virtual singer named Belle and goes on adventures with a mysterious creature.
Given Belle’s virtual setting, I get Summer Wars vibes watching the trailer, which contains some stunning imagery despite being just 30 seconds long. And based on the above plot synopsis, it looks like Hosoda’s latest might have some Beauty and the Beast-inspired elements, as well.