One of our most-anticipated animations of the year comes from Mamoru Hosoda, the acclaimed auteur behind The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, and most recently, the Oscar-nominated Mirai. He’s now returning with Belle, which is set for a July release in Japan and now the first full trailer has debuted.
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, she enters “U,” a virtual world of 5 billion members on the Internet. There, she is not Suzu anymore but Belle, a world-famous singer. She soon meets with a mysterious creature. Together, they embark on a journey of adventures, challenges and love, in their quest of becoming who they truly are.
“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,” Hosoda said earlier this year. “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.”
Boasting quite a team of international animation talents, the film features contributions from Cartoon Saloon’s Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart for the fantasy scenes, British architect and designer Eric Wong who helped created the world of “U,” and Disney character designer Jin Kim, who has worked on the studio since 1995 on films like The Emperor’s New Groove, Zootopia, and Moana.
Watch the trailer below.
Belle opens in Japan on July 16.