Featured In Issue 261, May/June 2022

WSR Score3.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Shout Factory
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Thematic content, violence, language and brief suggestive material
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Mamoru Hosoda
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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"Belle" is the story of Suzu, a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she ha only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters "U", a massive virtual world, she escapes into the online persona of Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a montrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and eepic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious "beast" and to discover her true self in a world whre you can be anyone. (Gary Reber)

Special features include nine featurettes: "The Making Of Belle" (HD 44:05), "A Conversation With Director Mamoru Hosoda" (HD 29:13), "The Music Of Belle" (HD 15:32), "Finding The Voice Of Belle" (HD 11:49), "Scene Breakdown: The Station" (HD 10:37), "Scene Breakdown: The Ballroom" (HD 12:06), "Mmoru Hosoda @ Animation Is Film" (HD 18:05) and "Hosoda Draws Belle" (HD 08:50); design gallery; Kylie McNeill performs "Gales Of Song" (HD 02:37) and trailers.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was animated digitally and sourced from a 2K master Digital Intermediate format. The animation is generally simplistic with respect to the characters with more simple set deign. The color palette is strongly saturated with solid primaries and diverse pastel hues that suggest texture. Flesh tones appear naturally hued. Contrast is excellent with superb black levels and shadow renderings. White levels appear natural. Resolution is satisfying throughout. This is a fine animation picture that is very colorful and dynamic looking. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack is available both in Japanese with English subtitles and English. Dialogue focused, the integration is a bit disjointed aa it is ADR. Subtle atmospherics enhance the soundfield, as do sound effects. The music is vibrant and is spread wide across the soundstage with extension to the surrounds. Bass extension can be deep and energized. This is a rather simplistic soundtrack with occasional holoonicŪ segments provided namely by the music. (Gary Reber).