Ahead of Belle’s Japanese release this week (and its premiere at Cannes), our latest look at Mamoru Hosoda’s follow-up to Mirai comes in the form of a music video for the film’s virtual pop-idol protagonist — and gives us some more glimpses of its distinct fantasy world.
“U” is performed by Millennium Parade and Kaho Nakamura, the voice of Belle in the film. Which makes sense, as the film follows Japanese high schooler Suzu, who escapes her rural life to spend her free time in an online world where she masquerades as Belle, becoming a smash hit singer in the process.
It’s a snazzy song, but the primary appeal of the music video is to get a look inside the world of U, where Suzu and billions of other people across the world transform into dazzling virtual avatars of all shapes and sizes. And they’re not all friendly, as Belle discovers, when she encounters a mysterious beast-like creature, armies of mysterious masked sci-fi warriors, and more. It honestly looks incredible — the contrast between the gleaming effects of the virtual world and the traditional aesthetics we see in glimpses of Suzu’s normal life is rather something to behold.
And we’ll have to wait a little while to behold it ourselves — while Belle releases in Japan tomorrow, it won’t be out in the U.S. until later this year, after GKids recently announced it had acquired distribution rights to the movie. The film, which features character designs from Tangled, Frozen, and Moana designer Jin Kim, as well as Wolfwalker’s Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart — plus a soundtrack not just from Millennium Parade but Death Stranding’s Ludvig Forssell — will arrive in the U.S. in late 2021. Stay tuned for an Aussie release date.