Home Cartoon movies Nice Movie Review: Japanese Animation About Ourselves Online

Nice Movie Review: Japanese Animation About Ourselves Online


A marriage of “dazzling spectacle, high-octane action and social commentary”, this Japanese animated film received a 14-minute standing ovation when it premiered at Cannes, said Tara Brady in The Irish Times. The story revolves around Suzu, a 17-year-old high school girl who is not notable, but for her extraordinary singing voice – which she cannot bring herself to use in public. At school, she wasn’t a big social puncher, until she signed up for “U,” a virtual world “located somewhere between Instagram and The fifth Element” which allows its users to live as idealized avatars.

In this metaverse, Suzu is reborn as Belle, “a singing, pink-haired beauty” who becomes an overnight sensation. The film’s best scenes, however, aren’t the “tumultuous tableaux” that play beneath its J-pop ballads, but “the blushing teenage exchanges, family worries”, and even, in a late twist, a powerful ( but delicately handled) dramatization of child abuse.

This finely observed and beautifully animated sci-fi fairy tale is one of director Mamoru Hosoda’s best yet, Robbie Collin told The Daily Telegraph. Long “captivated by abstract digital spaces,” he has created a shimmering metaverse here that “wows you with its whimsical volume of detail.” And if the plot owes much to The beauty and the Beastthe film’s exploration of “our double lives online and offline” is entirely new.

BeautifulThe central message of is powerful, Simran Hans said in The Observer – that the more our online characters capture who we really are, “the more powerful they become”. All in all, this is an anime to swell the heart.