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Mamoru Hosoda's 'Belle' First Teaser Revealed

There are very few Japanese animation directors who can hold a candle to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, either in terms of box-office success or critical acclaim. Among the few who have got somewhere close is Mamoru Hosoda. His films have been big hits in Japan and abroad and he has won multiple Japan Academy Prizes, Japan's equivalent of the Oscars. His most recent film Mirai was the only non-Studio Ghibli anime film to be nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar and a Golden Globe and the winner for the Best Animated Feature- Independent at the 2018 Annie Awards.

Last year it was confirmed that Hosoda and his Studio Chizu would release their next film Belle (Hosoda's ninth) in Japan in the summer of 2021. Chizu has this week given us our first look at the film with a 30-second teaser and a new promotional image.

With such a brief running time, we don't get to see very much footage at all. We do get to see some beautiful looking animation, however. And get the inkling that this is less like his past few, more fantasy heavy films and more in line with his more sci-fi film Summer Wars.

That turns out to be very much the case, as much like Summer Wars, this film will deal with virtual worlds. The main character is a 17-year-old named Suzu who finds success as a singer named Belle within the virtual world she uses to escape reality. Within the virtual world, she meets a mysterious dragon-like creature and embarks on an adventure.

Hosoda said:

BELLE is 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.

I have directed films in the past, exploring the implications of the Internet and how our younger generations will transform the world with their own amusement. 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. 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.

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. As this era continues to change, unbound from the shackles of yesterday’s common sense, capturing this global phenomena felt like an inevitability.

Yet, the things that we must cherish, largely remain the same. 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.

I hope you can enjoy our world that is now evolving at the speed of light while savoring those things that really matter to us, in this film.

Belle will be released in Japan by Toho in Summer of 2021, marking Studio Chizu's 10th anniversary. French company Charades is handling international sales.

Check out the teaser, below.