© 2021 Studio Chizu

Studio Chizu Unveils Teaser Trailer for Mamoru Hosoda’s New Film, “BELLE”

Today, we were given the first look at Mamoru Hosoda’s upcoming film, BELLE (in Japanese: 『竜とそばかすの姫』Ryū to sobakasu no hime), with a 30-second teaser. Following the Academy Award winning film Mirai, this new film marks his eighth feature film and is scheduled for release in theaters in Japan the Summer of 2021, which also commemorates the 10th anniversary of Studio Chizu.

The story of the film revolves around a 17-year-old high school girl named Suzu, who lives with her father in a small, suburban town in Kochi Prefecture. With a difficult childhood after losing her mother at a young age, Suzu stumbles upon “U,” a massive online world to explore. It’s within this alternate reality where she creates her own avatar, Belle. It’s not until a mysterious dragon-like figure appears before her one day that the whole world of U is fixated on her.

According to Director Mamoru Hosoda, BELLE is the movie he’s always wanted to make, a story that mixes romance, action, and suspense while also delving into serious topics regarding life and death.

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.

Mamou Hosoda - English press release

When Hosoda brings up this aspect of the Internet in relation to an online world, I can’t help but think of previous series like .hack and Sword Art Online. Personally, from the beginning of the Internet Age, I was always intrigued by stories of complete emersion into a virtual world, where we are free to create ourselves as we like, unhindered by anything remaining in the real world. How freeing that would be! But in today’s time, where misinformation is everywhere and the “truth” seems to be as elusive as obtaining a Pink Tail in Final Fantasy IV, there are still many good things the Internet can provide to humanity as a whole.

With the global pandemic, the world has greatly shifted to online interactions, whether it be live concerts, job interviews, or even simple social gatherings. This is an era that will drastically change not only our working lives, but also our interpersonal communication with others as well.

However, even given all of these changes, many vital aspects of life still remain the same. Hosoda goes on to say, “…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.”

Story Overview

After losing her mother at a young age, the main character, Suzu, lives in a small town with her father in Kochi. She used to love singing with her mother more than anything else, but after her death, she lost her desire to sing.

It was during this time that she and her father’s relationship grew cold, while Suzu withdrew from the rest of the world. Once she discovered that writing music was her only purpose in life, she came upon the massive online space known as “U,” where she could recreate herself anew as Belle.

Another me.
Another reality.
We are no longer limited to a single world.

While inside this online world, Suzu realizes that she is somehow able to sing again… as her avatar, Belle. She quickly becomes a huge sensation when she showcases her own music among the online world. Once she seems to have finally found her voice again, a mysterious dragon-like figure appears before her…

About the Director

Mamoru Hosoda was born in Toyama Prefecture in 1967. From Toyama Prefecture. He joined Toei Douga (now known as Toei Animation) as an animator in 1991 before his directorial debut on the Dijimon: The Movie "Digimon Adventure: Children's War Game!" in 2000. He then worked as a freelance director on the film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time in 2006 and Summar Wars in 2009, both of which gained awareness domestically in Japan as well as abroad.

With producer Yuichiro Saito in 2011, he co-established Studio Chizu and went on to direct Wolf Children in 2012 and The Boy and the Beast in 2015, films he not only wrote the screenplay for, but also the stories in which they were based. Hosoda’s latest film, Mirai, in which he worked as director, screenwriter, and author of the original story, was screened during the Directors’ Fortnight of the 71st Cannes Film Festival, nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 91st Academy Awards and Best Motion Picture-Animated at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, and also won Best Animated Feature-Independent at the 46th Annie Awards.

About Studio Chizu

Established in 2011, Studio Chizu is an animation company that served as Mamoru Hosoda’s headquarters during the production of Wolf Children. The name itself comes from the Japanese word for “map." The importance of this name is often depicted within Hosoda’s films, in which characters show a great sense of vitality or life force to cultivate their own way through life and on into the future.

Title: BELLE (Japanese:『竜とそばかすの姫』Ryū to sobakasu no hime)
Twitter: @StudioChizu
Website: http://www.studiochizu.com
Scheduled Release: Summer 2021, Japan
Director / Screenwriter / Original Story: Mamoru Hosoda
Development & Production: Studio Chizu
Partners / Co-Executive Producers: Studio Chizu LLP
Nippon Television Network Corporation
Copyright © 2021 Studio Chizu

By - Terra Dragos.