Singer-songwriter Kaho Nakamura is Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle

Studio Chizu has revealed singer-songwriter Kaho Nakamura to be the voice of Suzu/Belle, the protagonist of Mamoru Hosoda’s upcoming movie Belle (Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime, meaning The Dragon and the Freckled Princess in Japanese). 

Nakamura, who released her acclaimed second full-length album Ainou in 2018, will lend her singing voice to the role in addition to performing the voicework. It is her first anime voice-acting role. 

Suzu is described as a high school girl who was raised in a nature-rich village in Kōchi Prefecture. After her mother’s accidental death when Chizu was young, she closes her heart to the world and becomes unable to sing. 

Belle is Suzu’s persona in the virtual world of “U,” and is described as a daring beauty with a unique singing voice and a songstress with no peer. Of the five billion accounts in “U,” Belle is the one receiving the most attention. Compared to Belle, Suzu is reserved and lacking in confidence.

Belle is set to release in Japan on July 16, with an international release “coming soon.” The movie received a teaser trailer in February, while its first full trailer was released in April. It was announced in December 2020

Belle is director Mamoru Hosoda’s latest movie, following previous works like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, and the Oscar-nominated Mirai.

The movie’s staff includes Frozen character designer Jin Kim, British architect and designer Eric Wong, and Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart from Irish studio Cartoon Saloon, which produced the Oscar-nominated Song of the SeaThe Secret of the Kells, and Wolfwalkers. Studio Chizu is handling the animation production.

Other staff include illustrator Kageichi Akiya as the designer of the dragon, Takaaki Yamashita (Mirai screen designer) as the CG animation director in regards to the virtual world of U, Hiroyuki Aoyama (Mirai animation director) as the character designer and the real world’s animation director, Nobutaka Ike (Princess Principal) as art director, Anri Jōjō (Mirai production designer) as art designer, and Ryō Horibe (Mirai) and Digital Frontier’s Yohei Shimozawa (Doraemon: Nobita’s Treasure Island) as CG directors.

Among the movie’s previously-revealed cast members are Yoasobi’s Rira Ikuta and anime voice actors Kenjiro Tsuda and Mamoru Miyano

Studio Chizu describes the story as:

Our protagonist, Suzu, is a 17-year old high school girl, who lives in the countryside of Kochi Prefecture with her father, after losing her mother at a young age.

She loves singing with her mother more than anything else, but as a result of her mothers death was no longer able to sing.

It wasnt long before she and her father grew more and more distant from each other, and Suzu closed her heart to the rest of the world.

When Suzu felt that writing music was her only purpose left in life, she then discovers the massive online space known as U, where she takes on her persona, Belle.

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

Suzu quickly realizes that when she is inside U as her avatar, Belle, she can sing quite naturally. As she continues to showcase her own music in the virtual world, she fast becomes the rising star of U.

Nonetheless, that surprise is short-lived. Suddenly, a mysterious dragon-shaped creature appears before her

Sources: Studio Chizu website, Twitter

Melvyn originally wanted to write about video games, and he did so for a few years, starting from his college days. He still writes about video games sometimes, but now focuses on anime-related news content and the occasional review. Some of his free time is spent self-learning Japanese, both out of interest in the language and because English-translated light novels and manga are expensive. Every anime season, Melvyn looks forward to discovering new standout episodes and OP/ED animation sequences, as well as learning about the storyboard artists and directors behind them.
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