Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE Takes Center Stage as It Moves Past 5 Billion Yen at JP Box Office
While the world is in its current state and theaters are still finding their footing with people hesitant to be in a closed space for a decent amount of time with strangers, a couple of films in Japan have broken past the rest of the pack to bring people in. Joining Evangelion 3.0+1.0 and Detective Conan's latest outing in breaking past 5 billion yen in 2021 at the Japanese box office is Mamoru Hosoda's BELLE.
Oricon reported today that BELLE has crossed the 5 billion yen (US$45.52 million) mark, only the third film to do so this year, and with the film inching closer and closer to Hosoda's Boy and the Beast lifetime box office gross of 5.85 billion yen. Boy and the Beast is currently Hosoda's biggest film at the Japanese box office, but BELLE is set to take that crown sooner rather than later.
BELLE will be released in Japanese theaters on July 16, with GKIDS bringing the film stateside sometime in Winter 2021. GKIDS describes the film as such:
Suzu, a 17-year-old schoolgirl, lives with her father in a village surrounded by nature in Kochi prefecture after her mother died in an accident when she was a little girl. Suzu used to love singing with her mother more than anything else, but after her death, she has not been able to sing.
Writing songs is the only thing that gives Suzu any comfort until one day she is invited by her best friend to enter a virtual community in the Internet called U with over 5 billion members worldwide. In U, she can live another life as an AS, which is what avatars are called there. Although Suzu can’t sing in real life, singing comes natural to her in U as an AS known as Belle. Belle quickly captures the attention of U’s citizens with her songs and becomes a worldwide superstar diva.
The day of Belle’s huge concert viewed by millions of AS around the world— A mysterious presence known as the Dragon suddenly bursts into the concert hall. Her concert is ruined by the violent, arrogant Dragon. Belle, who wants to know why the Dragon suffers so much pain, approaches him. Dragon, on the other hand, slowly opens his heart to Belle’s gentle singing voice.
Soon, the search for the Dragon’s identity (unveiling) starts around the world.
A group of AS who claim to be the protectors of justice start their relentless pursuit of the Dragon who they believe disrupts order in U. The Dragon becomes the target of trolling and abuse both in U and the real world. The more people persecute him in both worlds, the more Belle feels stronger to find him and heal his heart.
Will Suzu’s voice from a remote corner in the real world reach this single, unknown individual in a world of billions? A miracle occurs when the two worlds merge into one.
Another reality. Another you. You’re not alone anymore.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.