After receiving nominations at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes in 2018 for his animated film Mirai, director Mamoru Hosoda returns with a magical new feature that is sure to sate fans of his previous work—and potentially impress awards voters again as well.
The story follows Suzu: A 17-year-old girl who becomes a popular singer—the titular Belle—within an online community called “U,” despite being very shy and withdrawn in real life. Though no one knows her real-life identity, Suzu garners worldwide acclaim and success, but everything changes when a monstrous creature known as the Beast enters the world of “U.” While frightful, Suzu forms a relationship with the Beast as Belle, and together they embark on an life-changing adventure.
Produced by Hosoda’s animation company Studio Chizu, the production of the film includes some other big names in the animation industry, such as character designer Jin Kim, who’s worked on numerous classic Disney films like Hercules, Tarzan and Frozen. In addition, Hosoda teamed up with the animators of Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, who are behind the Oscar-nominated Wolfwalkers, working on some background art for scenes in the internet world of “U.”
A theatrical release is set for July 16 in Japan, though there have been no international dates announced as of yet. Check out the trailer for Belle below: