The first three minutes of the upcoming Mamoru Hosoda film Belle have been released on YouTube. The video will be available for 48 hours from release.
Belle, or Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime (The Dragon and the Freckled Princess) in Japanese, will premiere at the Cannes Premiere section of the 74th Cannes Festival, which runs from July 6 to July 17. The movie is set to release in Japan on July 16, with an international release “coming soon.” It was announced in December 2020.
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 Sea, The 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 (Accel World: Infinite Burst) 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.
Meanwhile, the cast includes Kaho Nakamura as Suzu/Belle, Takeru Satoh as the Beast, Ryō Narita as Shinobu Hisatake/Shinobu-kun, Shōta Sometani as Shinjirō Chikami/Kamishin, Tina Tamashiro as Ruka Watanabe/Ruka-chan, Rira Ikuta as Hiroka Betsuyaku/Hiro-chan, Toshiyuki Morikawa as Justin, Kenjiro Tsuda as Jelinek, Mami Koyama as Swan, and Mamoru Miyano as Tarō Hitokawamui and Maru Guttokorae.
Other announced cast members include Ryōko Moriyama as Yoshitani-san, Michiko Shimizu as Kita-san, Fuyumi Sakamoto as Okumoto-san, Yoshimi Iwasaki as Nakai-san, and Sachiyo Nakao as Hatanaka-san.
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 mother’s death was no longer able to sing.
It wasn’t 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.
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…
Source: Toho Movie YouTube Channel