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The Animation Is Belle, StoryTelling Needs Work
rgkarim14 January 2022

The Voice Acting: When it comes to this world of animation, there are plenty of people who can make or break the characters, but in my perspective the Japanese voice cast scores levels that English Actors can sometimes miss. All of the group did a stellar job in the performances granted before them, a mixture of laughable tags, parody like delivery, and raw emotion that unleashes the struggle of the characters. When the musical performances come up, the assigned voice actor accomplishes a blend of emotional satisfaction and musical prowess. It accomplishes much of the mannerisms that make anime characters so great and memorable and Belle is no exception.

The Story To Some Degree: Belle's tale is very relatable to the modern era as it dives into the media that connects so many lives in one place, the internet. The story takes place in an app called U, which is all about bringing out your avatar via cool futuristic technology and allows you to be what you want in the world. In this world, anything is possible, and the movie shows the possibility of the communal watering hole and the fame/worship that comes. What's a big favor for me though is how this movie adds more layers to the film by integrating other parts of the tale. Our main character Suzu has a lot of baggage, and her friends have their own vulnerabilities that are certainly going to be relevant to the audience. It mixes these together in a lot of small subplots, and gives us characters that feel semi-realistic. These worlds continue to cross back and forth in the search for happiness, only to then wrap it up in an interpretation of Beauty and the Beast. This multi-tiered approach surprisingly works well, and gives us this mini-series feeling that is entertaining and yet deep the way anime can be.

The Songs: This movie is a lot of a love story component, but also one about finding yourself in the mess of all the horrors that the fickle world brings. While the story does a fine job of plastering the horrors of the modern world and how one must find strength and means to face those horrors. For me though... it's the music that really drives the point home and the scenes around it. Belle's songs are very few in terms of the track list, and the variety is very minimal as well, with few being the toe tapping pop or rock options that anime series have made famous. However, the movie uses the songs to an incredible degree to display the emotion of the moment and really drive the heart and soul. As mentioned earlier, the vocal performances are incredible, the combination of symphony and pop is beautiful, and really reflects the character of Suzu. It's not a parody of the famous Disney movies, but rather dives deeper and despite odd lyrics, the movie unleashes so much of the symbolism this movie wants to show you. Something definitely for a Spotify playlist, but I really enjoyed the beauty of this work.

The Animation, at least 75% of it: Belle is definitely noteworthy of the anime magic for me and much of it has to do with the animation they have brought to the table. For one thing, the design is brilliant on many levels, a mash up of typical Japanese school life, merged with Ready Player One computer assistance, and then further painted with a Japanese paint of Beauty and the Beast. All these styles manage to hold an emotion and magic to themselves, with shading, colors, and a style all about capturing the essence of the moment. Of these worlds, the U world was my style, well there animation is much smoother, the colors and designs much more vivid, and a world that really felt like a warped version of the classic tale. The moments where the animation was heavily invested hold much more than simple movement, but rather hold the entire atmosphere of the scene and it's great to see that art style come to life and feel different from the likes of Nickelodeon and Disney. Truly seventy-five percent of the movie accomplished this and really impressed me when music, sound, and animation worked in the harmony the Eastern culture has practiced for years.


Pacing: At times, Belle is very slow, and sometimes gets a bit too lost in the emotion and not enough in the actual story. Belle is very much a movie that is part afterschool special, and these moments do have a lot of comedy and fun to it, but sometimes gets too lost in the routine to deprive you of the linear pace I enjoy. It made for some slow moments, and some wasted potential to really enjoy other qualities I wanted more of.

The Animation For the Other 25% I have to say that there are times where things were skimped, filling sequences and lesser moments that the team seemed to think tertiary to the rest of the film. These moments in Belle are not very well animated, basic lines, colors, and shading that is very bland and dull compared to the other moments of the movie. Whether this was symbolic or just cost/time saving steps, it's something I'm not a fan of when you see other studios put out more consistent work to keep the splendor going. Belle's team needed a little mor work on optimizing everything to bring the full drop, but I guess things got away from them during this time in our world.

The Characters: Lots of players are in this movie, and some are done fantastically, and others are the stuff of dreams in the background to create your own fiction with. Belle fails to balance the secondary characters that Beauty did long ago, at least in terms of the digital world. The cute little AI sprites are great for merchandising, but hold less story usage and integration that more time and planning could have helped. While the human counterparts have more involvement, it's really the cyber world where a lot of the tension/action occurs at least until the end. Even the antagonists are boring, some knock offs from other lore or anime, and do little to deliver the full on blow like Gaston did long ago. Again, build up, introduction and full on use are important for me.

The World Building or lack thereof: The world of U is supposed to be the hub of possibility and recreation, and yet for such a world it's lacking the majesty that I envision places like this could be. Belle's world building is gorgeous when they do it, the architecture of several places, and the creatures have the pizazz that this medium can bring. However, there was so much to explore and perform in, to hide and flee around as the two characters explored the boundaries and limitations this new relationship brought with it. Yet the world of U is surprisingly bland and centrally located given the potential I've seen in other series.

The Story: Truth is the story is complete and deep on many levels, but the movie still feels incomplete and too crammed to be the artistic piece that movies like Spirited Away are known for. Belle's tale has a lot of ground to cover in a short two hours, and this beautiful soap opera needs more time to really give us everything they were going for. Belle is torn between a lot of things, the real life struggles of the characters, the relationship between Belle and Beast, the struggle of the fame and fortune, and even the tragic histories that defined them. If done in a mini-series or a four part saga, I think the movie would have accomplished the master storytelling it could be, but in one installment, there was a lot of things that felt rather blunted and not quite wrapped up like they could have. That haphazard finish blunts the beauty of Belle's story somewhat, and gives it a more generic feeling that others have stated.


Belle is beautiful in many ways to be worthy of seeing in your lifetime. The movie really hits a lot of audience types, diving into relative realms of problems that plague the world today. Its characters, at least the primary, have a lot of layers to it, and the voice acting brings a fantastic performance to anchor on to. Then the music and animation, for the most part, help deliver the full ambience that gave me goosebumps and stuck with me as I left the theater. These moments are the true bread and butter of the film and the biggest theater presence. However, the story needs more time, more parts, or something to really give it all it was promised. The story is very compressed and hasty, giving you some great meat for the main plot, while the subplots feel withered and dried out. Buildup, character usage, world building, and action are very lacking though and I can't say I was disappointed in several of the things they had been teasing me with. Still, the move hits deep and shows much of the craft of the Eastern animators and their art.

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Drama: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0.
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Deeply emotional and cheesy in equal measure with consistently breathtaking animation
Quinoa198413 January 2022
Never tell anyone that you can't heap on the empathy in virtual reality by singing incredibly sappy and cheesy pop songs...

There's a part of me that wants to rate this even higher, or even possibly lower. At times this is staggeringly gorgeous - and I'm not sure if I'm in a minority opinion that the scene scenes taking place in the real world are much more eye catching and appealing than those in the U Dimension (except for the climax, where it walks a tightrope of like Care Bears energy and one of the most heart-soaring moments in modern film, but again animated with emotional gusto, like that thing at the end of movies where everyone is there to applaud/say goodbye to the hero) - and at other times it's that mopey-dopey teenage girl stuff that's not my thing. Have you ever seen an Anime where the teenage heroine freaks out because (gasp) a boy maybe looked her way or (extra gasp) people may know who she is from a virtual reality world in the real one? Lots of that here.

It's also completely open about it being so all-in on being Cornball and I admire and was involved by that. It may not address abuse and trauma and even grief necessarily in the most mature or well-rounded sense, but who would my old ass be to argue or look down if some young kid or teen somewhere found the messages about overcoming such rancid figures productive and meaningful (in real life as well as the web which is where all the horrors of the world multiply)?

It manages to use the main empathetic meat of Beauty and the Beast, primarily the Disney one (they even copy, brilliantly, that one image of the Beast showing regret after kicking Belle out), while not making it so verbatim it neglects its own characters. I guess this is to say if an anime has to do an homage to that, might as well do it with a pop singer and a giant dragon!

I'm not sure if it's great overall, and it's message about a daughter following in a mother's moral footprint is heavy - if, again, presented with a go for broke attitude for its emotional compass (this is BIG, and it's fitting if possible to see it in IMAX as I was lucky to do). I also wonder if it could bother to reckon with people living as a New Body in U. But I'll surely remember that little and pivotal scene where Suzu comes up with the song and how that is animated and edited is staggeringly good.
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A pretty miss
Rob-O-Cop4 April 2022
I've enjoyed the last 3-4 movies from this director but this one was a misjudged sappy convoluted mess.

It tried to marry the world of idol performers (a manufactured and manipulated and notably shallow world of selling music based on looks and marketing) to the struggles of youth in the modern world, and it just won't fit unless you turn off everything you know about social media, and manufactured entertainment. For a director who's made some smart and insightful dramas this one misses its target in the big picture although many of the details that make his previous films worthy are still here.

There is a lot of japanese small town and city details that are rewardingly accurate and familiar. The images are fantastic (not photos as another reviewer criticised the film for, but just really good animation).

The characters when they're not spreading on the cheese are more well rounded japanese people, until they're shifted into cliche, but they switch between the 2 regularly.

It's like the film was directed by two directors, one making quality anime and the other making a greasy cheese sandwich. The end result is an uneasy mixture of the 2, and unfortunately the cheese is the overpowering taste left in ones mouth. I don't know what he was aiming for with this film but he made a move into hollywood and authentic japanese culture loses in that game.
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Coming of Age can be tough in the real world and in the virtual one
ayoreinf31 August 2021
Let's get it right from the start. This movie does have faults - the plot does lose its relation to common sense some times (at least once, but in a very key moment) and it does sink a few times in to very shallow cliché such as the basic premise of the virtual world which makes this story move - translating our inner qualities into a singular personal avatar that really represent who we are. But once again I find myself watching a movie, realizing it has faults and feeling these faults don't matter one bit. I rated it 8 stars but it felt much more like 9. Because Mamoru Hosoda understands the human soul like very few do. I've seen already one of his earlier films - Mirai No Mirai where the very same deep understanding is demonstrated, I rated it 9 but I must admit this movie was much more moving than Mirai. Because the earlier movie is much more analytical and easy to relate to intellectually, while this one works on a pure emotional level. I'm rarely moved by an animated film like I was while watching it, because the characters were real - it has a lot to do with the superb Japanese voice acting, I'm not sure it'll work so well when dubbed but in Japanese it was raw and real and spoke of real issues of grief as a formative experience and about learning to stand for your beliefs against overwhelming odds and about how the smallest support from one's friends can mean the world and work wonders.

One more point that wasn't made by the previous reviewers - it's called Belle (in English) because it's using the French La Belle et la Bete as a major point of reference. It's not Beauty and the Beast in a straight forward manner but the idea of Beauty's love as a releasing power is at the core of the movie. See it and you'll see what I mean, because I won't be adding on that issue.
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What the hell?
benjaminskylerhill16 January 2022
Some gorgeous animation and a couple of strong scenes can't even come close to making up for the fact that this is just Beauty and the Beast with none of the charisma and none of the thematic strength. And the failure of this "film" is for one reason only: it plays out as unfocused as a fever dream of a kid with ADHD who just drank three cans of Bang Energy.

This is a movie with incomprehensible inconsistent world and character building. The virtual world portrayed here has no rules or concepts that make sense. The plot moves from subplot to subplot without being able to focus on anything for longer than five minutes, even abandoning some story arcs entirely without conclusion. Worst of all, most of the subplots don't connect with one another. It makes for one of the most frustrating and scatterbrained viewing experiences I've ever had.

And perhaps even more tragically, because of this lack of focus, the story cannot focus on any character even remotely long enough for us to understand their motivations, desires, passions, or even their names to the degree necessary for us to develop a connection to them. 90% of these characters could be removed without changing any of the core elements of the story or themes, because their contributions to the story are so brief and largely irrelevant to Suzu's journey.

Some characters are introduced with 20 minutes left in the movie, and we are expected to care about them. But we don't. Because they come as yet another unwelcome distraction. This movie was written by a classroom full of ten-year-olds, and all of their ideas were put in the script, regardless of whether they fit as a consistent whole.

95% on RT? Truly one of the most overrated films of all time.
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A spectacular and soaring anime extravaganza
themadmovieman23 October 2021
From one of the best directors in modern anime, Belle is one of the most spectacular movies in the genre for a long time. Complete with typically gorgeous animation, an electrifying pace, riveting character depth, sweet humour and a handful of wonderful songs, this is a film that you won't be able to take your eyes off from start to finish.

But why exactly does Belle have this spectacular star quality? After all director Mamoru Hosoda has managed time and again to tell incredible stories, from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time to Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy And The Beast and Mirai.

Not only is Belle the latest addition to Hosoda's incredible repertoire, but it's also one of the most dynamic anime films of recent years, blending the classic animation style with timeless storytelling and blockbuster-level action and thrills.

It's a film that really transports you to another world, with the as-ever spellbinding visuals delivering some of the most immersive fantasy you'll have seen in a long time, bolstering the film's originality from what at first feels like a mish-mash of different stories.

In the early stages, it's easy to see Belle as a bit of an update of Hosoda's own Summer Wars, along with influence from Hollywood's Ready Player One. What's more, the film also borrows heavily at moments from Disney's Beauty And The Beast, although that's more as a clever homage than a simple reinvention.

However, because there's so much going on, Belle proves itself to be a lot more than a remake or update of those films mentioned above. In fact, what's most impressive is the way in which it so effectively balances its focus between life inside the virtual world of U, and the characters who live in the real world.

Much like Summer Wars, the action in the virtual world is brilliantly complemented by the emotional stories of the characters in the real world, in this case a group of high schoolers who are living through all the typical trappings of a coming-of-age story.

This is where much of Belle's emotional heart comes in, and while the action in the virtual world is absolutely spectacular, you care for the characters because of how they're developed in the real world, with a wonderful group of friends whose own back stories play in wonderfully to the central action story.

Playing out at an electrifying pace for the vast majority of its runtime, Belle nears edge-of-your-seat levels of excitement, although its finale admittedly isn't as exhilarating as the thrilling conclusion to Summer Wars.

That said, Hosoda directs Belle with such confidence that it's a mesmerising watch at every moment, boosted further by a couple of spectacular and memorable songs that are both fun to listen to, and play nicely into the film's narrative arc.

All in all, I had a whale of a time with Belle. A genuinely thrilling watch from start to finish, the film is a spectacular combination of many of director Mamoru Hosoda's best films, along with homages to a number of others. However, with fresh storytelling, fast pacing, gorgeous visuals, riveting emotional depth and thrilling action throughout, this film certainly stands on its own as one of the most entertaining anime you'll have seen in a long time.
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Deeply moving with a beautiful story, music, and visuals unlike nothing else on the big screen
colewaters16 January 2022
Belle is a beautiful movie filled with great music, a fantastic story, a great cast, and some of the best visuals that I have ever seen in any anime or any animated film. When I went into this movie I didn't know what I was going to be watching, but what I witnessed was one of the best animated films I have ever seen. If all anime is like this or better then I am a fan. I highly recommend this movie and to take tissues. Is what's really sad is that I was the only person watching this movie they should of advertised it better because they really have something on their hands with Belle I mean it is a cinematic masterpiece.

Parents I strongly believe if you let your young ones watch anime then they will fall in love with this movie and I also strongly believe you will as well.
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Looks Great! Cool Style!
Megan_Shida12 August 2022
I really thought the animation was great and I loved a lot of the stylistic choices. A lot of the ideas involving the internet and music were also very cool. There is just A LOT going on with the story. There's a lot of elements of Beauty and the Beast, The Matrix, and other ideas and I don't feel like they always came together smoothly. All in, I'm happy to have watched it.
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Belle is a Feast for the Eyes and Ears
DoubleOscar28 September 2021
Hot off the high from his first Oscar nomination for 2018's Mirai, Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda returns with a touching virtual-reality riff on the classic beauty and the beast tale. But don't let the familiar source material lull you into a false sense of security; Hosoda is not playing it safe just because he has a reliable tale to fall back on. In fact, after years of constant comparison to the films of Studio Ghibli and their unrivaled consistency and pedigree, it seems like the Oscar nomination may have renewed some confidence and ambition back into the veteran director.

Like The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, this film follows another likable teenage protagonist, Suzu who, unfortunately, is unbearably grief-stricken after the death of her mother when she was six. After over a decade of lament, Suzu still has trouble understanding why her mother would put herself in the position that led to her untimely death. She often finds herself crying uncontrollably, only able to compose herself time and time again with the help of her longtime friend, Hiro.

Suzu's relationship with her mother is portrayed through many wordless montages, only accompanied by the gorgeous work of the film's trio of composers, Taisei Iwasaki, Ludvig Forssell, and Yuta Bandoh. As devastating as it is to lose her mother, Suzu's grief is amplified by her own inability to find her singing voice again after the tragedy, despite her efforts. The despair and loneliness she deals with on a daily basis eventually lead her to try U, a new virtual universe that already totals over 5 billion users.

U's technology works by conducting a biometric scan of its user, then creating a personalized avatar. For Suzu, her avatar appears as a beautiful and slender woman with pink hair, really only recognizable as Suzu due to the splash of freckles underneath her eyes. Once in cyberspace, the urge is irresistible. Suzu begins to sing-- And she sings beautifully. So beautifully in fact that it is only a matter of days before Suzu finds herself with millions of followers, all ready to pack virtual auditoriums as Suzu gives performances under the moniker of Belle.

Described by Hosoda as "the one I've been wanting to make," the giddiness of a director finally allowed to make their long-gestating dream project is palpable onscreen, particularly in the film's virtual world sequences. In the real world, the animation is classic hand-drawn work, but in U, Hosoda translates the world's infinite possibilities into a spectacularly dynamic CG landscape, complete with a kinetic camera that swirls and moves in ways only possible in an animated world.

If none of this so far sounds like the beauty and the beast you know and love, don't worry. The "beast" of this tale makes his grand appearance right at the end of the first act as he crashes through a giant dome that acted as a venue for one of Belle's performances. A figure only known as "The Dragon" is seen being pursued by self-proclaimed "Justices" of U. Though he is said to be wildly aggressive and ruining the sanctity of U, Belle immediately believes there is more to him than meets the eye, recognizing a pain that she herself has seen before. Intrigued by The Dragon, Belle suspends any future performances and instead devotes her time to discovering the identity of and connecting more with the mysterious beast.

Outside of U, Suzu must balance her newfound stardom online with the meek reputation she has with real-life friends and classmates. Where the usual high school relationships and drama could, in the hands of a less skilled director, grind the imagination and creativity shown thus far to a halt, Hosoda surprisingly manages to make the grounded portions of his film just as engaging and playful as the virtual primarily by mining the material for a surprising amount of laughs.

Where the film does falter a bit is with its final act, and while the two storylines are engaging in their own right, there is a feeling that they are too dissimilar to one another to possibly connect in a believable way by the end. And for the most part, this is true. The film employs some eye-rolling contrivances in its race-against-the-clock finale, but when the last scene's emotions hit and Suzu fully blossoms into the strong woman she knows she is, the machinations that led the film to that point are largely forgivable.

When all is said and done, it is not going to be the final moments that stick with you from Belle. It's going to be the wonder and visual inventiveness of the virtual sequences -- the sprawling endlessness of the online world and the guiding hand of a director keen on pushing his film beyond that. Hosoda may have spent much of his career in the shadow of the great Studio Ghibli, but with Belle, he certainly makes the most of his chance at the spotlight.
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Great music and visuals, story wasn't fleshed out
bigbadbassface21 January 2022
Not much more to say. The plot was tenuous at best and the relationship between the two in U was under-developed for the level of love they suddenly had for each other. All together the movie never felt believable even in the anime fiction universe, especially the denouement with the Beast's family.
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Beautiful film that had me scratching my head
danmossman6 February 2022
This film is absolutely stunning to look at and some parts of it were moving. Unfortunately a great deal of it made little to no sense to me. The film is trying to tell too many stories and doesn't successfully do any of them. People are falling in love with random things for no reason. Weird film.
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This is a movie you never want to end.
kevin_robbins26 January 2022
Belle (2021) is a movie my daughter and I saw in theatres the weekend it was released here in the United States. The storyline follows a futuristic social media that creates avatars of you in the universe that take on characteristics of your inner self. A shy girl who experienced tragedy that causes her to be an outcast becomes a super star once she gains access to this social media universe. She encounters a being in the universe that is tormented in a way that causes him to lash out against everyone and he has an inner strength that causes everyone in the universe to lose in fights and battles against him. Can Belle help understand and save the soul of the real life individual behind the character?

This movie is directed by Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars) and contains the voices of Ryô Narita (Your Name), Shôta Sometani (Themis), Tina Tamashiro (The Flowers of Evil), Toshiyuki Morikawa (Berserk) and Kôji Yakusho (13 Assassins).

The animation in this is breathtaking and the characters and universe are very well depicted. There is surprisingly a lot of depth to the writing and fantastic character development and depth. The evolution of the storyline is well portrayed and the final reveals of what is going on and why is well done and very sad. I loved the ultimate resolution and this is a movie you never want to end.

Overall this is a very unique and clever film that I would strongly recommend and score a solid 9/10.
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Missed the mark
htran9113 January 2022
Pros: Well animated, both the traditional 2D art style and the 3D style. Songs are beautiful and well performed. The depiction of the the main character's struggle with her traumatic experience is powerful and moving.

Cons: The pacing is extremely poor. The story introduces a myriad of characters, events and conflicts one after another that cause a significant amount of confusion, while also focusing on side arcs that are not important to the main story. The transition between the 2D and 3D style happens so abruptly that it feels like you are watching two entirely different movies. Characters are extremely archetypical so much so that they are awkward and unbelievable. There is very little character development for any of the characters other than the main character, Suzu, which also is lacking. Key story elements are missing or introduced throughout the story at unusual times, making it difficult to understand character's motivations without significant assumptions being made. There are many instances of deus ex machina making the story even more difficult to take seriously. Overall, it seems that this movie suffers the most from being too short or condensed from a larger volume of work. Perhaps it would have been better suited as a long OVA or series to flush out some of the characters and story line.
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Had beauty, but didn't ring bells of magnificence
pranayjalvi1 February 2022
Mamoru Hosoda's latest is colourful, but not deep enough to leave an appealing mark, just like his previous directorials used to do.

Belle is a mix of Beauty and the Beast meeting in a virtual world where love happens, although in a rushed and an unexpectedly lame way. Belle seems conflicted as to what kind of story it truly wants to be: a romance like the original fairy tale based on loving oneself, not judging a book by its cover, and being kind to others, or an action tale where there's a villain for the sake of having a villain, but no real conflict beyond Suzu briefly clashing with the Justices, learning The Beast's identity, and the consequences that come with it in real life.

To summarise, Belle had a good concept, a cliche romance story and a futuristic colourful virtual world which grabs the attention, but gets conflicted as to what it truly wants to be. It's a one time watch, and if you are Hosoda's fan, I would advise to watch Wolf Children and Bakemono no Ko a number of times, rather than watching Belle for the second time.

My Rating : 5/10.
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a-19899-6286512 October 2021
Sorry for my bad English. I'm not a Native speaker.

Great image and sound mastering.

Ordinary music arrangement and character design.

But the plot... not great.

Weak characterization and the topics changed around too fast makes it like an unfinished story.

A little pity. ;-;
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The internet helps but also hurts
isaacochoterena22 March 2022
This movie shows that at some point we will be completely dependent on the internet.

The film manages to give a good approach that makes us interested in the story, this has a good development and has several messages about the dependence on the internet by allowing us to escape from our reality. It also tells us that being anonymous on the internet can lead us to believe our own lies, something that will consume us and end at some point. I don't like what it says about depositing our feelings and creating something on the internet will make us forget reality, I think that all of this will generate dependency and bring negative consequences. Although it highlights the importance of human relationships and how they help us prosper. The animation of the backgrounds and landscapes is very good, as well as the character development is good. Although the movie slows down a bit before reaching the end.

It is a very enjoyable film, which manages to deliver the positive and the negative of the use of the internet and its dependence on the new generations.
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The film tries to depict the confrontation between virtual and real worlds in teenagers in the form of an animation.
hasanimasoud20 October 2021
The story of the film is a very deep story dealing with an up-to-date subject, which is also very attractive by adapting the story of the demon and the darling, and has made the animation have a good script. The animation is very well made and full of eye-catching and emotional scenes that always impress the viewer. In addition, the animation creates a very good atmosphere for the viewer with beautiful and lovely music and songs. In general, the animation has both a gentle teenage romantic atmosphere and a fascinating adventure, and with its deep story, it points out important concepts that completely satisfy the viewer.
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Some great scenes, few good ones
viki-poyta13 March 2022
This film kicked off great, and I was invested from the start. However my excitement gradually faded into incredulity as the story seemed to fragment into sparsely fleshed out cliches.

This film tries to be many things; high school romcom, technological dystopia, fairy tale, disney musical, domestic violence PSA. These genres are all attempted with varying success. The best scenes, in my opinion, are the awkward interactions between teenage characters. Unfortunate, since coming of age stories are a dime a dozen and this film certainly tried to elicit bigger emotions than a couple of brief laughs at a blushing and silly-walking teen.

The music is on average fine, not memorable. However the soundscape in general was genuinely quite spectacular, and although I´m not a fan of this style of animation there is something to be said about the 3D feel it facilitates as compared to more traditional animation. The audio-visual experience was of course enhanced by seeing it on the big screen.

The story, however, is a mess. The characters make stupid decisions, the technological aspect is left completely surface level and nonsensical, the reveal of the monster is completely underwhelming. It lacked credibility and nothing was really resolved in a satisfying manner. The way the story is sometimes told through chat windows, comment sections and video feeds is pretty unique, but overused and annoying.

I chuckled a few times and was impressed with the use of the medium, but won´t be watching this again or recommending it.
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Staggeringly breathtaking anime with convoluted plot
witra_as23 January 2022
Staggeringly breathtaking anime with convoluted plot about fame and tragedy masked in digital modern era. Mamoru Hosoda presented interesting surreal cyberscape and beautiful pop songs over Suzu's relatable teenager personal journey you could easily attached to.
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C+ (flat 6). January 22' @Regal
Celewa6 March 2022
Spectacular visuals and animation but narrative is disjointed, particularly in the latter half of the film. Set up and themes don't quite land. Weak story.
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jasminn_tan12 March 2022
I realised belatedly that this was a fresh new take on Beauty and The Beast only when the Beast was introduced, so I thought that this would be a typical romance story. But it wasn't and although it had darker themes such as child ab*se, it was handled quite alright - nothing too explicit but the ending felt incomplete. The visuals were stunning and the songs were incredibly beautiful. That last song even brought me to tears.
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for the heart
Sh31kh_H0kv524 June 2022
Another heart warming experience in anime that keeps me wanting more of it, love, trust and kindness and mostly accepting who you are is the key concept here, this not only brings it close to reality but open it to new possibilities and that is moving me beyond the voices i heard. Belle the experience was amazing.
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One Good Song, Two Good Shots: The Movie
Lefteris-Anagnostopoulos30 September 2021
Saw the film at the Athens International Film Festival.

Ryû To Sobakasu No Hime is not one movie. It's two different scripts mashed together. Now... a pretentious d***head could say that that's what the director intended and everything is a commentary to the dual life of the protagonist... HA HA. Yeah right, as if...

Characters, story, plot, character development, EVERYTHING (besides a good soundtrack and some good visuals) are underdeveloped. It's like I was watching the first draft of something, even conceptually, I mean the core idea seemed "first draft"! The themes of the movie (besides the obvious and cringe "be yourself-you are unique") are not clear. And then the movie ended and I couldn't be bothered to remember a single name from our characters. My mind was too preoccupied trying to understand a fictional world that the director couldn't be bothered to flesh out. All that AND at the same time the movie was something like a soft retelling of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, going as far as to replicate some shots and scenes. Homage maybe? Sure, why not, either way I don't care.
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An Anime Beauty and the Beast
toseale4 August 2022
Belle does everything it wanted to do in such a great manner. The animation is astonishing, and I really want to explore more of the studio that made this movie, because it's breathtaking. I loved all of the music, Suzu's voice is beautiful and so is the music she sings with. She's also got a lot to unpack as a character and the really good writing for the movie made its delivery great. The characters are all loads of fun and their arcs are incredible. It was funny when it wanted to be, and I spent plenty of time laughing in those moments. The story itself was a little hard to follow, but I put the pieces together as it progressed, so I won't complain. Overall, I really loved this movie, and I'll probably be rewatching it soon.
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Deeply Touching
macieshirley15 January 2022
While the plot has many predictable aspects, it was such an enjoyable watch. It's touching on the topic of loss was incredibly felt, and as someone who has known grief, it hit hard. The depiction of online life was very realistic and engaging. Left the theater with much to discuss and many tears shed. The animation was also spectacular. English dub was well done.
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