Belle in the online universe

In the latest episode of the podcast we are having an “anime takeover”, as we cover Mamoru Hosoda’s new film Belle! It’s a contemporary take on the tale-as-old-as-time: Beauty and the Beast, partly set in a vast online universe. We’re joined by TheGamer’s Lead Features Editor (and our good friend!) Jade King, who brings her anime expertise to the mix. We discuss what the film has to say about exploring identity online. We also chat about the film’s mental health themes of grief and anxiety.

In Belle, high-schooler Suzu enters the online world of U, where she discovers newfound fame and confidence. She is able to do what anxiety prevents her from doing in the real world. But soon she encounters the mysterious Beast, who is a hunted outcast in U. Who is he really, and what secrets does he hide? And can Suzu summon Belle’s strength in real life, to reach out to him?

This episode has spoilers for Belle throughout. Also, content warning: this episode contains non-graphic references to domestic violence, as we discuss how this is handled in the film. Please be aware of that when deciding if and how you chose to listen.

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