Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film, BELLE, is set to hit Japanese theaters July 16.
The film is directed and written by Hosoda, and features music by Taisei Iwasaki (Blood Blockade Battlefront). Here the official description:
Our protagonist, Suzu, is a 17-year old high school girl, who lives in the countryside of Kochi Prefecture with her father, after losing her mother at a young age.
She loves singing with her mother more than anything else, but as a result of her mother’s death was no longer able to sing.
It wasn’t long before she and her father grew more and more distant from each other, and Suzu closed her heart to the rest of the world.
When Suzu felt that writing music was her only purpose left in life, she then discovers the massive online space known as “U,” where she takes on her persona, Belle.
We are no longer limited to a single world.
Suzu quickly realizes that when she is inside “U” as her avatar, Belle, she can sing quite naturally. As she continues to showcase her own music in the virtual world, she fast becomes the rising star of “U.”
Nonetheless, that surprise is short-lived. Suddenly, a mysterious dragon-shaped creature appears before her…
Back in April, we learned that the film features character designs by Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Jin Kim, “known for projects such as Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, and Moana.” Meanwhile, the online world of “U” was designed by “London-based up-and-coming architect/designer” Eric Wong. Finally, also contributing to the film from abroad is Cartoon Saloon, the Irish animation studio behind films like Wolfwalkers.
The film stars Ryo Narita, Shota Sometani, Tina Tamashiro, Rira Ikuta, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Kenjiro Tsuda, Mami Koyama, and Mamoru Miyano.