The charming Japanese anime film brings thrilling adventures and predicts the future of digital worlds. Belle is a story about Beauty and the Beast in virtual reality, a metaversion of the future.
Social networks, apps, chats. We are always online. We only have one step left in the metaversion. But imagine a digital environment that puts the famous Matrix in your pocket. U virtual community is so perfect. More than five billion registered users form the largest Internet community in human history. And it continues to grow. But in fact, it only exists (for the moment?) in the fantastic Japanese animated film Belle.
Modern virtual world
Virtual World U is depicted in the film as a different reality. You can sign up to meet friends or just have fun. We already know and use something similar. But director and screenwriter Mamoru Hosoda went even further.
According to his ideas, advanced technologies generate the avatar of each user based on his real biometric data. And then he becomes his new self. “Maybe you can’t start over in the real world,” he said at the start of the film. “But there it is !”
Belle (2021): trailer for a Japanese animated film • Source: Association of Czech Film Clubs
Many users on social networks often act as they would like to be. They carefully hide the shortcomings and pains of others. Just like the main heroine of the film.
The young Japanese Suzu lives in the countryside. She is shy and uncomfortable. After her mother died, she stopped understanding her father. Sadness also prevents her from singing. In the virtual realm of U, on the other hand, she is Belle’s self-aware superstar. He stands on a flying whale and sings wonderfully before enchanted crowds.
The beauty and the Beast
Belle means beauty. It is no coincidence that this is the name of the main heroine and the film. It’s a reference to the classic fairy tale romance Beauty and the Beast, which is probably most famous through Disney animation.
Director Hosoda revealed that he was fascinated by this story. Also the virtual beauty Belle meets the Beast. The lone and brutal scarred monster causes chaos across the U. Other users want to destroy it. The spectacular action that follows resembles a superhero epic. But there’s also drama when Belle tries to save the Beast and a desperate Suzu searches for her true self in the real world.
Hosoda, who has already started making digimon films, invented the virtual world of U, together with London architect and illustrator Eric Wong. They were inspired by giant concerts in Hyde Park and the legendary 2001 sci-fi movie: Space Odyssey.
However, behind the hovering modern skyscrapers of the endless digital world, abandoned ruins lurk. Among them is the dilapidated Animal Castle, which has a classic European look. Hosoda surmised that the Internet has been around for about a quarter of a century and that some previously popular services have not been used for a long time. His film shows a striking contrast between the rise and the fall.
Forecast of the future
Even in the incredible virtual world of U, all is not perfect. User comments can be nice or hurtful, just like on our Internet. Hosoda believes science fiction movies and novels predict the future. At the same time, they have the power to change it for the better.
Not only Meta, which owns Facebook, is working hard on the metaversion. There are many more people interested. Whatever the result, the result will probably not be as charming as in Belle.
Mamoru Hosody Movies
Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda is better known in our country than you might think. Maybe you saw something of him yourself. Her previous film Mirai, The Girl of the Future was nominated for an Oscar. It’s about time travel and, like Belle, it was inspired by a classic story, the Christmas Carol.
Mamoru Hosoda also directed the anime Boy in the World of Monsters, Wolf Children, Summer War, and About a Girl Who Leaped Through Time. These are all stories with a fantasy or science fiction plot.