Announced last December, Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast) has a new animated feature coming out this year. As previously reported, the movie is called Belle and tells the story of a young woman in modern-day Japan as she enters a massive virtual world.
Below is the debut 30-second teaser, which gives a glimpse of the film:
Note that the Japanese title is Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime or “The Dragon and the Freckled Princess.”
The movie’s official site has this description of the film:
The protagonist of this story, Suzu, is a 17-year old high school girl living with her father in a rural town of Kochi — their town is a textbook definition of depopulation in the Japanese countryside. Wounded by the loss of her mother at a young age, Suzu one day discovers the massive online world, “U,” and dives into this alternate reality as her avatar, Belle. Before long, all of U’s eyes are fixed on Belle (Suzu), when one day the mysterious and infamous Dragon-like figure appears before her.
“Belle is the movie that I have always wanted to create,” says Director Mamoru Hosoda in an official statement, “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.”
Hosoda added that his previous movies have explored the internet’s impact and how the youth can transform the world. “At the same time, the internet has a more negative side to it, where people slander others without a second thought, filling it with misinformation,” he adds. “In spite of this, I believe that it is marvel that will expand the possibilities of humanity. I wanted to depict this massive shift in our relationship with the Internet in a way that would pave a path towards our future.”
In the studio’s earlier announcement about the movie, it pointed out the difficulty of 2020, which still very much appears to be on Hosoda’s mind with regards to this picture.
“The unprecedented events of last year have accelerated the paradigm shift in our online interactions with one another, be it the workplace or our personal lives,” he continues. He calls the way that this era continues to change “an inevitability.”
“Yet, the things that we must cherish, largely remain the same,” Hosoda says. “Legacies we have inherited from generations past, will continue to exist and adapt to the new age and new tools that will now shape it. This shift is more apparent than it has ever been because of the era in which we currently live.”
Belle will be released this summer in Japan.