Watch BELLE the newest movie by award-winning filmmaker, Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more), comes a fantastical, heartfelt story of growing up in the age of social media.
Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.
English Dub Trailer
You can watch Belle in theaters and IMAX in both Japanese and English starting January 14, 2022,get your ticket now!
For the first time, outside Japan, Mamoru Hosoda’s newest film BELLE had a chance to capture western audiences’ hearts during the Animation is Film Festival 2021 in Hollywood!
In 1999, Mamoru Hosoda began his journey with Dejimon Adobenchā (Digimon Adventure) as his first anime directorial debut; since then, Hosoda has developed this craft and quickly became one of Japan’s most predominant figures in Japanese animation. In 2011, Hosoda founded his own animation studio, Studio Chizu.
Hosoda developed his own unique and highly influential animation style, which can be seen and felt throughout his work. His works are heartfelt, beautifully animated films and convey a sympathetic aesthetic element, often relatable. In 2019, his adventure fantasy comedy film, MIRAI, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. His most recent film, BELLE, premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, receiving a 14-minute standing ovation.
In BELLE, Hosoda visually transforms the internet, as the popular virtual world known as ‘U’. In a plot where characters face personal turmoil, isolation, a sense of belongingness, and the need to pretend to be someone else, Hosoda effectively exploits the ability to remain anonymous online and how anonymity can have its benefits and disadvantages on its users.
We had the opportunity to briefly speak with Hosoda during the Animation is Film Festival 2021 regarding his newest work and his thoughts on MIRAI’s Oscar nomination:
*The video below may contain SPOILERS* After the screening, Hosoda addressed the audience members and answered fan questions:
The film pays homage to Beauty and The Beast (specifically Disney’s version) and is composed of tantalizing visual animation with extraordinary, captivating music tracks. In addition, Hosoda mentioned working with veteran Disney animator Jin Kim as Belle’s lead character designer earlier this year. (Below are some of Kim’s BELLE concept Sketches).
Kim has worked for Disney since 1995 and is credited in over 30 Disney titles including, Zootpia, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and his most recent work Raya and the Last Dragon. Adding to Kim’s involvement, Studio Chizu also teamed up with Irish animation studioCartoon Salonto produce the background art for the popular virtual world, ‘U’.
Get ready to dive into the beautiful world of U and watch BELLE this spring! Gkids is set to release BELLE in theaters on January 14th, 2022. For more information, visit GKids.com.
The Lupin the 3rd franchise created by Monkey Punch began in 1967 and has spanned a variety of manga, TV series, games, a theme park ride, and musical adaptations. It featured acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki in his first feature film debut with The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979. The Lupin the 3rd: The First is a highly anticipated film that marks the VERY first installment in CGI for the lauded animated franchise. In recent news, the upcoming English language dub film will feature the voices of
Lupin III – Tony Oliver Daisuke Jigen – Richard Epcar Goemon Ishikawa – Lex Lang Fujiko Mine – Michelle Ruff Koichi Zenigata – Doug Erholtz Laetitia – Laurie C. Hymes Lambert – J. David Brimmer Gerard – Paul Guyet
From 2D to CGI 3D
“I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lupin III in 3DCG for a long time now. I saw the characters and story, and it looks like this new Lupin is going to have a whole new feeling to him. It’s exciting just imagining how the movie is going to turn out.”
-MONKEY PUNCH (OCT. ‘18)
An excerpt from Gkids’ Interview with LUPIN III: THE FIRST director Takashi Yamazaki:
As soon as the project began in September 2015, the 3DCG Lupin character designs were also developed. Lupin has different characteristics between the TV series and the specials, and likewise, various options were considered for this movie.
First, several character designers and concept artists were hired to develop about 30 different designs of Lupin in 2D. The Staff cast voted on the three most popular designs. Those were further improved until the final design was completed. Once Lupin was finalized, developing Daisuke Jigen, Goemon Ishikawa, and Inspector Zenigata was relatively easy by applying the same style.
However, Fujiko Mine proved to be difficult. She was portrayed as a provocative lady in the TV specials with eyes slanting upwards, whereas she was cute and playful with eyes slanting down in the series. Her characteristics changed according to the staff. After many discussions about which direction to go and whether she should be slim or voluptuous, the production team decided on the current design.
Building 3D models based on 2D concepts turned out to be challenging since small details make or break Lupin’s likeness. Two dedicated 3D modelers were building digital maquettes in ZBrush for the main characters. What resulted were completely different models, and it was hard to believe that they came from the same concept art. In the end, the one chosen was the model that was most expressive in CG animation. Attention to small details such as the sideburns and jawline were considered to finalize the 3D models.
The new characters Laetitia, Lambert, and Gerard were developed based on Director Yamazaki’s rough sketches. Lambert’s 3D model was almost entirely developed from Director Yamazaki’s sketch. Gerard’s design was less straightforward. Ultimately, the character drawn in the animatics turned out to be well-received, so the model was developed from that design.
What is great about 3DCG is its rich texture. The slick texture of Lupin’s leather jacket was made possible because of the medium. There were more than 10 different outfits designed for Fujiko and Director Yamazaki mentioned that it was like an upscale costume fitting. However, because of the budget, only a couple of outfits were developed. Fans can enjoy the carefully selected outfits in the film.
Special thanks to GKids for interviewing the film Director Takashi Yamazaki, and providing us with the said interview. For those interested in reading the entire interview please do so here (Lupin III: The First Press Kit PDF).
Follow the iconic “gentleman thief” as Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal that will stop at nothing to resurrect the Third Reich. The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades, and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that has made LUPIN THE 3RD one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new. Watch the trailer below!
Follow Lupin at these official social media links:
Those who watched Saturday morning cartoons (aka SatAM) in the ’90s may remember Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground. Garry Chalk was one of many voice actors from these shows, voicing Grounder in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr.Robotnik in Sonic Underground, a dystopian version of the Sonic the Hedgehog TV universe.
Garry can be seen among the government officials sitting down during a meeting discussing the ‘anomaly‘ detected. It is unclear if Garry Chalk’s character in the film is more than just a minor cameo, or if there’s more than meets the eye.
Hill Top Zone
A road sign with ‘Hill Top Zone‘ can be seen seconds into the trailer. Hill Top Zone is the fifth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The level is most notable for its geographical location, amidst the high peaks of West Side Island, which makes one wonder of its location within the film.
Green Hill Zone
This one’s pretty in your face. Right at the beginning of the trailer, Green Hill Zone can be seen right before Sonic travels into our world. It is unclear if the film will explore more of this zone (or any other) as a setting.
Sonic The Hedgehog Title Screen Emblem
The title screen emblem from Sonic The Hedgehog can be seen on Sonic’s headband. The game was originally released in 1991 for the Sega Mega Drive (Japan) and quickly became one of the most recognizable logos among hardcore Sonic fans.
Many who played Sonic The Hedgehog may remember the giant ring that would appear at the end of a level and teleport the player to special stages. The film drew inspiration from this, having sonic apparently teleport from one part of the world to another. Variations of this ability have been shown throughout the games and TV series.
Misa Amane (Death Note) and Fabiola Iglesias (Black Lagoon)
Among voice actor cameos is Shannon Chan-Kent, a Canadian based voice actress, who has voiced numerous notable characters such as Misa Amane from the hit anime series, Death Note and Fabiola Iglesias from Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.
She is also the singing voice of Pinkie pie, Sonata Dusk and speaking voice of Silver Spoon in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Jeff Fowler’s Gopher Broke cameo
This film will feature the theatrical, directorial debut of Jeff Fowler, who previously worked on Gopher Broke, a 2004 short, animated film written and directed by Jeff Fowler.
The short film follows a hungry gopher who hatches a clever plan to get a quick snack but discovers that even the best-laid plans can go udderly awry. The opening title can be seen during Sonic’s exploration of the motel room.
A more modern and more ‘realistic‘ version of the Egg-O-Matic can be seen through half of the trailer. Although it has not been confirmed that this is, in fact, a representation of the Egg-O-Matic, it does share some similarities.
Blur Studio, although its name is not a direct reference to Sonic’s nickname “The Blue Blur“, the studio has had ties to the Sonic The Hedgehog games before the film. Blur Studios produced several CGI animated cutscenes for Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic The Hedgehog 2006.
According to an interview, by Di-O-Matic, Inc, with then Animation supervisor Leo Santos, “One particular challenge we had on the Sonic opening cinematic (and the Shadow the Hedgehog cinematics) is the fact that Sonic’s mouth is sometimes on the side, sometimes on the middle.” With Blur Studio’s experience with animating Sonic in the past, why was there a need to redesign?
Doctor Ovi Kintobor or Dr. Ivo Kintobor
This one is probably a long stretch but, Jim Carrey’s portrayal of a ‘thin‘ Robotnik is similar in appearance (somewhat) to that of Doctor Ovi Kintobor, a character that appears in the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions in the UK. The character served as a background origin story to the present day Eggman. In other comic series published by Archie Comics, Carrey’s portrayal is similar to that of, alternate universe Robotnik, Dr. Ivo Kintobor, who is kind, generous and friendly.
Needless to say, there will probably be more hidden gems within the movie. Be on the lookout and mark your calendars for February 14th, 2020! Watch the newly released trailer here:
HBO Max will be the US streaming home to the entire Studio Ghibli film library, one of the world’s most coveted and revered animation catalogues.
HBO Max will be the US streaming home to the entire Studio Ghibli film library, one of the world’s most coveted and revered animation catalogues. The landmark deal with North American distributor GKIDS for the twenty-one Studio Ghibli feature films marks the first time these beloved films have been licensed to a streaming platform.
“We are excited to be working with HBO Max to bring the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films to streaming audiences in the US. As a premium content brand, HBO Max is an ideal home for our films,” said Koji Hoshino, Chairman of Studio Ghibli. “Upon launch of the service this spring, existing Ghibli fans will be able enjoy their favorites and delve deeper into the library, while whole new audiences will be able to discover our films for the first time.”
Studio Ghibli is one of the most acclaimed and influential animation studios in the world, inspiring filmmakers and audiences alike over the last 30 years with beloved stories and breathtaking visuals. Under the brilliance of visionary animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and producer Toshio Suzuki, the studio’s films have won countless international awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature for Spirited Away, as well as four additional Academy Award® nominations for Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There.
Director and studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki was separately given an Honorary Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards in 2014, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will pay tribute to his artwork with a special exhibit when the Museum opens in 2020.*
HBO Max is debuting in spring 2020, with over 10,000 hours of curated premium content anticipated at launch, HBO Max will offer powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together HBO, a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from Warner Media’s rich library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. Sign up for updates at HBOMax.com.
Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed catalogue of films include:
Castle in the Sky
The Cat Returns
From Up On Poppy Hill
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
The Secret World of Arrietty
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
Tales From Earthsea
When Marnie Was There
Whisper of the Heart
The Wind Rises (launching Fall 2020)
*The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a museum currently under construction by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, California. Set to open in early 2020, the Academy Museum will be the nation’s first large-scale museum entirely dedicated to the art, science, craft, business, and history of film. For more information visit The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures website.
Seies Manos premiered at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles on September 26th. The event was developed by VIZ Media and LatinX in Animation and moderated by Executive Producer, Rob Pereyda. In attendance were the cast members of the series including, Angélica Vale, Jonny Cruz & Vic Chao.
Among those that attended the premiere were the series’ Co-Executive Producer, Daniel Dominguez; Music Producer, Carl Thiel; CEO of Powerhouse Animation, Brad Graeber; Executive Producer at VIZ Media, Rob Pereyda and special surprise guest & film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez.
During its premiere, only the first two episodes were screened, however, that was enough for film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez to state the following to the series producers,
“So this now The Citizen Kane of Mexican anime, I love it, I think its incredible, I think what you guys did is so great and funny and diverse and its just packed with heart. That was the thing that I was- usually don’t get in Kung fu movies, but this had a lot of heart and it was just beautiful, so I guess my question to you guys is, how did this happen? [. . .]”
Brad Graeber – Executive Producer & CEO of Powerhouse Animation:
” That’s a great question! So Powerhouse as a studio, we love doing fight choreography, I’m a martial arts enthusiast and student and like, I’ve always wanted to do something legit kung fu [. . .] there was not anything specific but I was like, you know, when you think about the old kung fu TV shows with David Carradine in it, there was also a mass migration of Chinese immigrants in mexico too and so it really came from that. [. . .] ” Brad replied.
” [. . .] So I got on the phone with Álvaro [Rodríguez] and uh, I sounded like a crazy person, ‘so its the 70’s and its’s kung fu, but you know, there’s monsters…’ and then Álvaro goes, he goes ‘MEXICAN ANIME!‘ [. . .] “
Thus, Seis Manos was born!
Seis Manos or its literal English translation Six Hands, is set in Mexico in the 1970s, centering on three orphaned martial arts students Jesus, Isabella, and Silencio, who join forces with a DEA agent, Brister and a Mexican Federale, Garcia to battle for justice after their beloved mentor, Master Chiu is murdered in their tiny border town. The story captives the viewer with the number of intriguing twists and turns, such as zombies, monsters, mysterious characters, magic…and the Mexican cartel?
Seis Manos features a notable voice cast highlighted by Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) as Isabela, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as Brister, Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) as Jesus, Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) as Garcia, Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) as Chiu, and Danny Trejo (Machete) as El Balde. All eight episodes will have English and Spanish audio and multiple subtitled language options. Most of the Spanish track is dubbed over by the same English cast members.
Danny Trejo speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. | Photo by Gage Skidmore
“SEIS MANOS offers the very best in storytelling and action, with an incredible voice cast and a unique Latin American story line rarely seen in animation,” says Brad Woods, Chief Marketing Officer, VIZ Media. “We’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Powerhouse to share this incredible new series with fans.”
PROMARE marks the very first feature film from Studio TRIGGER, founded by former studio Gainax animator and director Hiroyuki Imaishi. Imaishi credits include the award-winning TV series GURREN LAGANN and critically acclaimed KILL la KILL.
GKIDS and Fathom Events bring PROMARE to U.S. theaters nationwide for special event screenings on September 17th and 19th, followed by a theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles on September 20, 2019. For more information and to purchase movie tickets, visit their PROMARE’s ticket website here.
GKIDS has announced the English voice cast for PROMARE. The film will feature the voices of Billy Kametz (NEON GENESIS Series), Johnny Yong Bosch (BLEACH, AKIRA, MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS), Crispin Freeman (MIRAI), and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld (POKEMON, YU-GI-OH!), among others.
English Voice Cast
Billy Kametz – Galo Thymos Johnny Yong Bosch – Lio Fotia Crispin Freeman – Kray Foresight Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld — Aina Ardebit Neil Kaplan — Vulcan Haestus Erica Lindbeck — Heris Ardebit Kari Wahlgren — Lucia Fex Steve Blum — Ignis Ex Mike Pollock — Deus Prometh John Bentley — Varys Truss Billy Bob Thompson — Remi Puguna Matt Mercer — Gueira Yuri Lowenthal –Meis Melissa Fahn — Biar Colossus
PROMARE Synopsis is as follows:
Thirty years has passed since the appearance of Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves “Mad Burnish” appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team “Burning Rescue,” and Lio Fotia, the leader of “Mad Burnish” begins. PROMARE uses a bold cel-shaded visual style to tell a blistering action-adventure story and is the spiritual successor to many of director Hiroyuki Imaishi’s former works.
On March 15, 2019, Sentai Filmworks hosted the Los Angeles red carpet premiere of the dark fantasy and adventure anime film MADE IN ABYSS: Journey’s Dawn at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE 14. Journey’s Dawn is the first film in the two-part MADE IN ABYSS compendium.
In attendance was the talented and famed anime director Masayuki Kojima, composer Kevin Penkin, music producer Hiromitsu Iijima and producer Shimpei Yamashita.
Made In Abyss television series took audiences by surprise and garnered ecstatic reviews with its disarming facade that shrouded a dark masterpiece and although the film is a compilation of the series’s episodes, however, it features brand new scenes by Kojima & Yamashita.
We spoke with Made In Abyss film director Masayuki Kojima & the film’s music composer, Kevin Penkin during the red carpet premiere:
The enigmatic Abyss is an unforgiving and deadly place. Despite the dangers, it still captures the imagination of explorers such as Riko who wishes to follow in her mother’s footsteps and trains hard to become a Cave Raider. One day, she receives news that her mother died in the Abyss, yet a mysterious note tells Riko that her mother may still be alive. Vowing to uncover the truth about her mother’s fate, Riko embarks on a journey with a humanoid robot boy name Reg. Together, they will discover if they have what it takes to survive where so many others have perished.
Photo gallery from Sentai Filmworks’ Los Angeles red carpet premiere of MADE IN ABYSS: Journey’s Dawn at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE 14
The Kitsune Network would like to thank the wonderful and talented people of Sentai Filmworks & Rogers & Cowan.
Gallery Nucleus held a special exhibition in honour of Mamoru Hosoda works, featuring artwork from his various filmed such as Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and more recently, Mirai.
Check out Hosoda’s inspiration for drawing here. Brought to you by GKIDS Films.