It’s funny how Mamoru Hosaoda uses Disney movies as inspiration for his movies. The Boy and the Beast is similar to The Jungle Book and Belle is very similar to Beauty and the Beast with a dash of Ready Player One. Belle is about a struggling teenage girl named Suzu Naito who’s avatar in the virtual world called U is a popular singer named Belle. She comes across a mysterious avatar named Dragon and tries to figure who he is.
Suzu Naito is one of my favorite fictional characters in recent history. She’s very shy, quiet and distant due to her mother’s death. It really makes her feel relatable and you really do feel for her when she’s embarrassed or sad. I also really enjoyed her best friend, Hiroka Betsuyaku. Jessica DiCicco gives such a crazy, funny, but also supportive performance. Most anime movies have amazing animation and Belle is no exception. Everything from the character designs, backgrounds, facial expressions are great. I will admit my one gripe with the movie and it’s very little is the cgi animation. I not really a fan of CGI in anime and I think Earwig might have been the cause of that. That’s only a small nitpick and if that’s my only gripe than that’s a good thing.
Spoiler Warning: This movie actually made me cry. Dragon turns out to be a boy who is abused along with his brother by his father (I wanted to punch him in the face). In order to prove to Dragon and his brother she’s Belle so she can save them from their father, Suzu unveils herself to the entire world of U and sings “A Million Miles Away”. Not only is the song so beautiful thanks to Kylie McNeill’s amazing singing and the incredible music, the scene in general is incredibly emotional that I had tears fill my eyes in the movie theater. It’s my favorite scene in the entire movie and I’ll just say it, this is honestly one of my favorite scenes in all of cinema.
Like Paddington 2 this is one of those movies where I can’t tell if this is either a 2021 or 2022 but either way it would still be one of the best movies of that year. Belle is Mamoru Hosoda’s best movie he’s done, one of the best anime movies I’ve ever seen, and maybe one of my favorite movies of all time. I was very lucky to find a local theater playing this because this was such a beautiful and emotional experience and a perfect way to begin the new year.
+A Million Miles Away
+ Hiroka Betsuyaku
+ Suzu Naito