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‘Belle’ builds a breathtaking vision of tired conventions

Warning: This review contains spoilers for Belle.

Belle is Studio Chizu’s fourth film since Hosoda and producer Yuichiro Saito left Madhouse and co-founded “auteur’s studio“In 2011. And while Belle has been described many times so far as “that anime [Hosoda] always wanted to do, “I can’t help feeling that the best parts of this movie are the ones he barely does.

Belle was a spectacle befitting its vision of a new era of mass communication. In Belle, a depressed suburban girl enters U’s virtual social networking world and becomes a global superstar thanks to her voice. Or, her typical avatar anyway, doesn’t look like or seem like her. The songs are also not entirely hers, but an after-school project of a close friend turned producer and her manager. I’m sure there are ideas worth exploring there in terms of celebrity and travel talent, but Hosoda doesn’t go there.

U’s social experience is at the heart of Belle, which Hosoda told Kotaku is the thematic sequel to his 2009 film The war to buy he (which he considers himself a sequel to Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!). And it was a movie that was oddly anticipated when it was (first) released the same year Facebook announced the metaverse – because U is a virtual world, but also an alternate reality.

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Image © 2021 STUDIO CHIZU

You are a sight to behold, and if you do see it, I recommend a big, big monitor. The design was conceived by Eric Wong, a London-based architect who envisioned the Internet in three dimensions, as a city where there is no way up or down, no skyline; Inhabited by avatars of non-human shapes and sizes that look like they were once dressed by Oskar Schlemmer. It has more in common with Adventure Time’s Surrealism Better Reality is something like the Matrix.

The synergistic international collaboration that makes U’s life better made with Disney animator Jin Kim (frozen), the main character designer. Wong’s designs and Chizu’s 3D animation are matched with background art by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon (Wolfwalkers, Late afternoon), creating a fictional setting inside U.

To the end Belle, however, I felt unfamiliar with their world and the characters in it. U always bends with the story, barely restricting its actors. And it took me a few days to document this disappointment and find what I appreciate in the film. Belle stuck between genres. Notify, Belle is a reality. In terms of content, it’s an isekai.

In Proto Anime Cut, historian Stefan Riekeles defines real-kei as “a form of science fiction anime that involves the realistic construction of possible worldviews and convincing visions of future cities and landscapes .” As a result, these people engage in architecture more than spectacular fantasy, trying to capture the scale of the world’s fledgling megacities as they are being built. Concrete forests – no, rainforests – have landscapes that realize ideologies.

Real-kei was also part of what made anime such a global phenomenon, which was Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 film adaptation of anime. Akira. See more: Ghost in the shell, Patlabor. These films can be identified by their cyberpunk cityscapes, from Tokyo (Patlabor: The Movie) to Neo Tokyo (Akira), to Neo-Tokyo 3 (Evangelion). And visionaries soon adopted 3D animation. Nowhere else is the legacy of real-kei more evident than in the manufacturing qualities of Rebuild Evangelion (ends the same year Belle premiere in Japan).

U shares qualities with real cityscapes – Hosoda imagines hierarchy and status in virtual, the growth of social capital and advertising, how policy is stripped of all pressures of security in a world The world doesn’t have a scarcity that makes people sin – but Belle for the most part don’t care about these things.

Instead, U provides the protagonists with what is essentially a power fantasy, one that delves into fantasy settings and settings. It’s an isekai, “another-” or “other-worldly.” And there’s something about these seemingly counterintuitive genres coming together that I think captures the contradiction we’re all struggling to live with right now, as virtual becomes more real. and the third space is digitized and privatized.

Unfortunately, U bends to the story. And Belle’s the story is always the least interesting part of it.

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Image © 2021 STUDIO CHIZU

Warning: Spoilers related to Belleof the plot to follow.

In places, it seems Hosoda doesn’t bother with characterization. You better root for boy and girl together because this is a fairy tale and boy and girl have to get together – Hosoda won’t give you any other reason to think that they should do so. I don’t even remember Suzu’s lover’s name.

The story is also presented in a nonlinear fashion, which feels like scrolling back through a chronologically ordered timeline, but with themes and comments bouncing back over time. And as usual, I felt like I was missing something. For example, the women in the choir, which had such a big role to play in Suzu’s life, were so underrated that their presence onscreen felt awkward. Why the women with these high school students?

I haven’t even talked about the parental abuse plot that pops up in the final 20 minutes and somehow bends Suzu’s character to its conclusion. It’s bad, maybe angry. I will stop thinking about it.

With you, Belle It may be a pre-existing re-imagining of real-kei for a new age, but it is never entirely free from the tired conventions of reverence it so desperately wants to integrate into this future.

Belle Releases in theaters in the United States and Canada today (January 14). It is shown in both English and Japanese.

https://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/review-belle-builds-a-spectacular-vision-on-tired-conventions/ ‘Belle’ builds a breathtaking vision of tired conventions

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