“Belle follows Suzu, a 17-year-old high school student living in a rural village with her father. For years she has only been a shadow of herself. One day, Suzu enters “U,” a virtual world of five billion online members, and she becomes Belle, a world-famous singer. Belle soon meets with a mysterious creature with whom she embarks on a journey of love and adventure on their quest to become who they truly are.”
I’ve been a long time admirer of the films of Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children, Summer Wars, The Boy and the Beast). His latest feature film feels like a culmination of all the themes running through his previous work. Original anime films are a rare occurrence, therefore I hope Belle does well at the box office. With a new generation of young theatergoers and anime’s growing mainstream popularity, seeing the latest anime film could become as common as seeing the latest live action blockbuster.